Improving Athletic Performance in Youth and Young Adult Adaptive Sports Athletes through Somatic Movement Re-Education and Therapy

Richard Mack,

Published on: 2022-10-11


Objective: Our objective was to employ somatic movement re-education therapy with athletes under the age of 27 diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy or other forms of trauma-related motor impairment to effectively increase balance, strength, mobility and improve overall athletic coordination.

Methods: Each subject was initially observed and video-recorded performing movement gestures in order to establish a baseline and subjectively determine restriction in range of motion (ROM) and mobility. With subjects supported either on a massage table, seated, or on the floor, movement patterns and boundaries (e.g. ROM, subjective comfort level, mobility) were further explored by manual evaluative procedures. Verbal feedback of the subjects’ sensory experience was invited throughout. Investigation was conducted of an array of characteristics of connective tissue including, but not limited to: weight, tonus, density, tension, among other variables. When restrictions to ROM and mobility were encountered, alternative avenues to limb mobilization were explored. Post-treatment video-recording provided visual feedback to subjects to assist them in integration and coordination of alternative movement patterns via sensory; visual; verbal; imagery pathways.

Results: Preliminary results indicated significantly greater, pain-free ROM; observable gait and posture changes; significantly greater reported limb and movement perception; significantly enhanced sports performance.

Conclusion: Feedback from touch, movement and sensation effectively offer alternatives to the treatment of motorically impaired athletes by providing enhanced awareness of their bodies. Somatic movement reeducation therapy can contribute a unique, harmless, and effective approach to enhanced sports performance in the special athlete.

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