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New technique to prevent muscle injuries gets NFL’s attention

Jennifer Baldino Bonett
Baltimore Ravens
ChristianaCare physical therapists Brian Catania and Travis Ross trained the Baltimore Ravens on ways to prevent injuries in the trunk muscles.

A pair of ChristianaCare physical therapists developed a new approach to prevent muscle strains – one that’s caught the eye of some NFL teams.

Brian Catania and Travis Ross are behind this new approach to core muscles that the NFL's Los Angeles Rams and the Baltimore Ravens are buying into.

The screening tool - called the core sling screen - tests the strength of core muscles, then is used to create a specialized exercise program to strengthen those muscles.

Weakness in those muscles can lead to common athletic injuries including strains in the abdomen, groin, quadriceps, and lower back.

Ross says the treatment is to prevent back pain from fatty deposits that go into your core muscles causing the pain.

"We have a target approach that helps strengthen those muscles that actually get weaker and have fatty infiltration," said Ross. "Sometimes we can kind of get in there and wait those muscles up and prevent that chronic low back pain from becoming a cycle where they're returning and returning so we can address the low back pain and the weakness. We can sometimes reduce the chronicity of the condition."

Catania says they presented their findings to NFL trainers.  

"They were doing a whole series on the spine and felt like the core was an important component of that, so they asked if we would present it at their symposium in March of 2021," Catania said.

Catania says some former University of Delaware athletic training students he taught now working in the NFL helped make the connection with the league.

Trainers with the Los Angeles Rams and Baltimore Ravens met with Catania and Ross to learn how to use the treatment to prevent injuries to their players.

But the two note the screening and exercises can help anyone - not just athletes.



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