As the Chicago Sky prepares for its upcoming season, team physician Dr. Benjamin Domb prepares to keep the players healthy and in the game. Dr. Domb practices sports medicine and is an orthopedic surgeon with the Chicago Center for Orthopedics at Weiss.
Recently, he stopped by the Sky’s practice space at the Sachs Recreation Center in Deerfield to tape some medical tips to help athletes of all skill keep in peak form. The videos will air at the Allstate Arena during the Chicago Sky’s home games. They also will be featured on the Sky website as well as at ChicagoOrtho.com.
“Athletes too often suffer muscle and tendon injuries, which can lead to surgery and time off the court,” Dr. Domb says in one of the videos. He goes on to explain how using a mix of two different exercise techniques—dynamic and static—can help improve balance and flexibility.
“Dynamic stretches mimic movements that you will use in the game, such as scissor kicks, high knees and butt kicks,” he says. “These stretches keep you in constant motion as you warm up, increasing your range of motion, as well as blood flow to the soft tissues.”
Static stretches, including toe touches, gradually lengthen the muscles when held for at least 30 seconds.
Dr. Domb also spoke about torn ligaments, specifically ACLs, especially common among female athletes, who suffer ACL tears six times more often than males. “Proper balance training can decrease these injuries. An exercise called plyometrics can improve agility, foot speed and dynamic performance,” Dr. Domb says in the video.
The quick, repeated movements involved in plyometrics toughen tissues and train nerve cells to generate the strongest muscle contractions in the shortest amount of time.
Keeping the shoulders in shape is also vital—especially for athletes whose sport involves throwing. “A torn labrum or dislocation [of the shoulder] can easily throw off your game. To prevent shoulder injuries and keep yourself on the court, it is especially important to strengthen the rotator cuff,” Dr. Domb says.
The rotator cuff is the group of muscles in each shoulder that helps keep the ball-and-socket joint intact. In the videos, Dr. Domb demonstrates various exercises targeting the area with the assistance of a basketball player.
“By mastering your strength and balance,” he says, “the game will be yours.”
Check back to watch the videos on the CCO website, or watch them on the big screen at a Sky game this summer.