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Sanford Skyforce Strategy Improves Health

By Kelli Grant
Published: January 21, 2010, 6:12 PM

For the past 15 years, Sanford Sports Medicine has taken care of the Skyforce basketball team. But this year, that care grew into something scientific. The athletes are learning more about their bodies, why food is fuel and how that information is useful off the court.

He's 5'10" but he's made his way on to the basketball court with his Skyforce Teammates.

"It's wonderful what he's bringing to our program. Hydration, everything from just monitoring our weight, our water level, everything is just great," Skyforce Forward Michael Joiner said.

He's not playing but Dr. Michael Bergeron, Director of the National Institute for Athletic Health and Performance at Sanford, is studying and assessing each player and their performance.

"These guys are trying to make it to the NBA so they're all good. They're all great athletes and it's often times just a couple of little things that can make the big difference," Bergeron said.

Bergeron and his team look at everything from what they drink, to when they drink and how much they drink. As for food...

"From what they eat before a game, before practice, after practice, before a game, during half time," Bergeron said.
Joiner's noticed a difference on the court. Players are staying hydrated and in return, have more energy.

"I just think it's important for any athlete because this is our job and we have to monitor and take care of our bodies if we want to have a very long career so it's very important," Joiner said.

Joiner wanted to trim down and since getting a customized hydration, nutrition and recovery plan, which included having his sweat rate analyzed, he's been able to do that.

"The players feel like they're being taken care of. They're getting opportunities that, quite frankly, a number of the NBA teams don't have. So they like the attention, they feel they're being cared for," Bergeron said.

So what if you're not a 6'7", 245 pound Skyforce player? Can this plan work for you?

"Any recreational athlete when they have an injury, or a performance barrier, really needs to look beyond just addressing one thing and that's often what they do," Bergeron said.

Bergeron says maybe it's not your shoes, but an endurance problem, which could very well be a hydration and nutrition problem.

You can get information on how to get an athletic assessment with the National Institute for Athletic Health & Performance at Sanford online.

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