Tuesday, January 1, 2002

Redefining Sportsmedicine

© 2002 by Dr. Tim Maggs

Sportsmedicine has grossly misled athletes today. Athletes are educated wrong and suffer because of this inadequate education. The only time a runner would ever consider seeing their sportsmed provider is when they’re injured. This would suggest there is absolutely nothing beneficial that can be done for a runner prior to an injury. Imagine if the auto, financial and dental industry functioned with those guidelines.

Secondly, there is no insurance coverage for un-injured runners. Insurance guidelines are designed for the masses, primarily those who don’t exercise, who are not conditioned and whose body’s break down from under-use and abuse. The conditions they suffer with, and the insurance coverage will provide for, are far different from those who use exercise as a big part of their life. They suffer with diabetes, heart disease, mental disorders and other degenerative illnesses. Overuse injuries, the need to get back quickly and structural problems are not descriptive terms when talking about the 7 out of 10 who don’t exercise. And, to date, I’ve not heard of any insurance rider that will specifically cover athletic injuries. It’s ludicrous that an athlete must attempt to fit their square injuries into the round hole of insurance guidelines. They must first wait until they’re injured, then begin with their primary who typically has no knowledge of typical sports injuries, who then refers the injured athlete to the next in line. As I will discuss in a bit, most athletic injuries are from overuse syndromes or structural imbalances and distortions. The “specialist” who usually gets the referral is looking to quickly, and cost effectively, help the athlete to eliminate the symptoms, but who is looking for the underlying cause?

Conditioning and Injury Prevention

This is the necessary path if good fortune in injury prevention is the goal. And, what athlete has any other goal than a long and healthy career? We must think differently, act differently and be different if we want results better than what the masses are getting. We must act today in doing the things that are now available to us in an effort to improve conditioning and prevent injuries. And, if you become injured, the first call should never be to your primary. They are just not prepared to deal with you or your maladies.

The Structural Management® Program

As years have gone by, I’ve recognized more and more how futile our present industry is for the appropriate care for athletes. The result is the development of several programs that will help athletes to have a more successful career, either preventing injuries or treating them effectively. The Structural Management® Program is made up of 3 programs; The Structural Fingerprint® Exam, The Maggs Muscle Management™ Program and The Advanced Conditioning™ Program.

The Structural Fingerprint® Exam is a structural exam that can be performed on every athlete with or without symptoms. Obviously, we encourage athletes to be examined before their season begins, as structural defects and imbalances can be detected anytime. It’s always easier to locate these defects when the athlete is not symptomatic, but it’s hard to change the thinking of athletes to do anything until they have symptoms. Once examined, we often find the athlete is suffering with many deferred maintenance conditions, and proper treatment and exercises is necessary to correct these conditions before they become a full blown injuries. This exam consists of physical tests as well as standing x-rays, looking for structural imbalances and wear and tear.

The Maggs Muscle Management™ Program is a program designed to keep the entire muscle system functioning at peak capacity. After my 8 year hiatus from running with over 70 calf pulls, my persistence helped me find people around the country who could help to keep muscles clean, improve circulation, increase warm-up, accelerate recovery from workouts and injuries and improve performance. During the development of this program, I missed 14 years of marathoning, but am pleased to say I’m back to 2 per year. This after not being able to run more than 3 miles without a calf pull for 8 years.

The final program, The Advanced Conditioning™ Program, is the treatment and rehabilitative program designed once imbalances are detected from The Structural Fingerprint® Exam. This program is a 6 month program, and is one that every athlete would benefit from. With the data collected on the exam, the goal is to objectively improve range of motion in all joints, improve flexibility of key muscle groups, improve alignment and other structural measurements, as well as help the athlete to move further and further away from the vulnerability line of injury. At the end of 6 months, re-x-rays should show improvement in balance and alignment of the structure. This program should be a once in a lifetime program, and once done, the athlete should be put on a maintenance program, with specific exercises and treatments to keep them well.


Until athletes begin caring for their structures and muscles on a pro-active and preventive basis, they will most likely end up as victims in this current health care system that really has no place for them. In an effort to avoid these frustrations and enjoy more time out on the road, the above recommendations should help you go a long way.

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