Whether sprinting around the bases, running up and down the court or sliding on the floor to save the ball before it touches, athletes from all sports experience a constant wear and tear on their joints from the continual impact their sport demands.
After a strenuous workout athletes often use the pool as a form of rehabilitation and also as a way to decrease muscle soreness.
Aquatic therapy encompasses exercises that allow those suffering from injuries to rehabilitate their bodies without bearing their full weight. Although exercising in a gym or rehab facility is helpful, exercising in water provides time for muscles and bones to heal without putting strain on other areas of the body.
Athletes at California Baptist University are not strangers to this form of physical therapy.
Elise Shelton, senior public relations major and guard for the women’s basketball team, said she rehabilitated her injured hip flexor in the pool once or twice a week for a month.
“(My injury) didn’t prevent me from walking, but after running for open gyms or that kind of activity, everything was really painful,” Shelton said. “They had me sit out of preseason in order to do rehab and get the inflammation down.”
Braedan Pilcher, sophomore aviation management major and midfielder for the men’s soccer team, is currently using the pool to help rehabilitate his back injury.
Pilcher was first introduced to aquatic therapy two years ago after surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus. He underwent therapy sessions for more than six months.
To rehabilitate his current back injury, Pilcher said he does freestyle swimming.
“I prefer working out in a gym, but right now my back won’t let me,” Pilcher said.
He said he still enjoys swimming because it can be a good alternative to working out at home.
“I hate working out at home because it is so tedious,” Pilcher said. “(Aquatic therapy) helps loosen me up and strengthens other muscles around my injury.”
Removing tediousness, aquatic therapy gets athletes back in the game.