Professional Sports

The Orlando Magic’s Athletic Trainer Keon Weise


Professional Sports

The Orlando Magic’s Athletic Trainer Keon Weise

Article reposted from Orlando Sentinel
Author: Michael Candelaria

Keon Weise has news for all you weekend warriors. In his fifth season as head athletic trainer for the Orlando Magic, on the staff since 2002, Weise is responsible for all aspects of the medical care of Magic players, including injury prevention and rehabilitation. When it comes to performance enhancement and training for professional athletes and the rest of us, he surprisingly says: There isn’t much difference.

“If you play for leisure or only on the weekend and you can make yourself more explosive or stronger, if you can make your reaction time quicker, I think it’s the same,” asserts Weise, who before joining the Magic attended graduate school at Temple University, where he received a master’s degree in sports medicine/athletic training. “We are just fortunate enough that we work with some amazing athletes who are at the elite level. They are able to excel at some of these areas better than a regular weekend warrior. But the concepts are the same. You’re trying to improve certain aspects of your makeup to be a better overall athlete.”

That fact, of course, could be encouraging for some people and a a bit of a downer for others. There are fewer excuses regarding fitness than perhaps thought.

The chief component (other than the sheer will to “just do it”) is knowledge, according to Weise. NBA players get hurt — you don’t have to tell Magic fans about that fact. So, injury is inevitable among weekend warriors and those who play games of 3-on-3 basketball on random mornings before work.

Know your strengths and weaknesses, literally.

“The key is to identify areas of limitations and things that make a person susceptible to injury,” he cites. “For a weekend warrior, if you play golf and you can rotate your trunk significantly in one direction but you’re limited in the opposite direction, you have to identify reasons why. Is it a joint issue? Is it a muscular issue? And then work to alleviate the imbalances.

Similarly, Weise offers, train the way you play. “If you are a rower, you have trained more of your anaerobic base [muscles] versus if you were a marathon runner, where you have to train to work more of your aerobic [respiratory] system,” he says.

The point is, understand what it takes to keep your body in good enough form to function in your particular activity.

Sound too simplistic? It isn’t.

Even Magic players start with the basics for each game. Weise and his staff walk them through everything from general stretching to specific exercise, all tailored to individual needs.

“Pregame, we do everything to get the guys prepped for the game. For the guys who have various ailments, we do different treatment and therapy with them. We take them through their corrective exercises, their warm up, which gets the body in its most efficient state to play during the game. We prepare them by doing some preventative taping and bracing, stretching and doing joint mobilizations, getting their body prepared in a way that affords them the greatest range of motion in particular joints,” explains Weise, who also has a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from the University of Maryland and is a certified member of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association.

During games, the athletic trainer’s priorities shift to watching the Magic move on the court. “I have to make sure they’re moving efficiently — guys who are dealing with a particular type of ailment or injury,” he notes. “I’m the first responder for when an injury occurs. So, if a guy gets hit or banged up during the game or someone sustains a quad contusion or an ankle sprain, I am the person who does the initial assessment and then makes the decision as to how we will treat the area.”

Similar scrutiny continues after the game, along with ensuring that recovery measures are taken, including stretching, massages and hydrotherapy, among others.

Clearly, the rest of us don’t have such luxury. Yet, we can at least learn what hurts, why it hurts and how to strengthen it. Weise has one more piece of advice: Do something, any something, even if it does hurt a little bit. Desk jockeys, this is especially for you.

“If you’re in the office, make a conscious effort to stand for 20 minutes every hour — move around, walk, stretch your legs,” he concludes. “Being upright and mobile, you’re getting some venous return by keeping your extremities moving and blood pumping back to your vitals. Just not being sedentary.”