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Conference Report: 2012 STMS-USTA Conference

Presented by Connor Sport Court

Atlanta, Georgia, December 14-16th, 2012


Submitted by Neeru Jayanthi, MD


This STMS North American Regional Conference was organized by Mark Kovacs, PhD, USPTA and Neeru Jayanthi, M.D., USPTA, and held at Life University outside of Atlanta Georgia in collaboration with the United States Tennis Association (USTA). The conference had a tennis-specific set up as well as innovative tennis medicine content with keynote presentations, break out sessions, and on-court sessions. Thanks to Connor Sport Court, there were 2 court surfaces that were laid down inside the Life University gymnasium for very real on court demonstrations. Some of the participants (and even speakers) found some time to even play out some points and warm up with the foam balls and rackets provided! This conference was also supported by Ortho Atlanta, a local orthopaedic group that serves as the official medical providers for the Atlanta ATP Championships as well as the Australian Open Wildcard tournament. The International Tennis Performance Association (ITPA), was another key contributor, and they also helped to arrange an on court stroke technique evaluation for coaches

in conjunction with Georgia Professional Tennis Association (GPTA), and STMS one day prior to the main STMS-USTA conference. Dr. Ben Kibler, Dr. Mark Kovacs, and myself provided an enthusiastic audience of many local tennis professionals, coaches, and some medical providers some specific modifications of

strokes for junior elite players as well as adult players.


The STMS-USTA conference was held at Life University in Marietta, Georgia and was attended by physical therapists, athletic trainers, physicians, chiropractors, tennis professionals, and fitness professionals throughout the country. Additionally, the USTA Pro Circuit Physical therapists and athletic trainers held

their annual meeting the day prior to the STMS-USTA conference. Dr. Kibler, founder and past president of STMS opened the main STMS-USTA conference with a keynote presentation on “What are those tennis players doing? An observational analysis of tennis motions.” He presented information on methods to evaluate professional tennis player strokes on the WTA and ATP and cited specific “nodes” where the player may be at risk for injury simply by observation.

On court sessions were done on the tennis court surfaces laid down by Conner Sport Court on topics such as returning an injured player to tennis, and physical training of the tennis player by Neeru Jayanthi, M.D. USPTA and Mark Kovacs, PhD, USPTA. Other small group break out sessions involved decisions about steroid injections in tennis players by Dr. Joe Wilkes, an experienced orthopaedic surgeon from Ortho Atlanta, and a kinetic chain evaluation of the tennis player by

Dr. Kibler.


At lunch time, Connor Sport Court discussed their safety goals with their new partnership with STMS, and announced their support of a collaborative research grant with STMS that will begin in 2013. We were lucky to have Dr. Brian Hainline give the keynote presentation “Positioning Youth Tennis for Success” which is the title of his new book, and encourage us to allow for early introduction, but late specialization for tennis. Dr. Hainline will be moving on from his position as Chief Medical Officer for the USTA to become the inaugural Chief Medical Officer of the NCAA. The afternoon sessions then included a very practical and informative on court session by Satoshi Ochi, head strength and conditioning from USTA. A research session gave us insight on some of the latest research from our tennis medicine specialists and clinical researchers in sports medicine. Dr. Kibler revealed that there can be acute glenohumeral internal rotation deficits from serving in tennis. Dr. Jayanthi informed the audience that injured tennis players have much more intense specialized training schedules, with also much more participation in only tennis versus uninjured tennis players and uninjured players from all other sports. Dr. Michael Griesser described how major league baseball pitchers from colder climates have better career longevity due to a relative rest

period during colder months. Finally, Dr. Stephan Esser gave information on training and tennis characteristics of adult recreational cohort and will be following them to determine relationship to future injury. The day concluded with some controversial topics of heat by Dr. Hainline suggesting minimal evidence for IV fluids and Dr. Walter Taylor who suggested following American Heart Association recommendations for no widespread EKG testing for cardiovascular screening for young tennis players. Finally, Dr. Marc Safran gave a very interesting perspective of how our current tournament structure may be appropriate for our

junior and elite players if the parents and players make good decisions about their health status and cumulative risks.


The final day opened with an excellent keynote presentation by past president,

Dr. Marc Safran on evolution of injuries and treatments in tennis players with today’s modern game. A high energy on-court presentation on the development of a young tennis player and 10 and under tennis, with progression to elite junior tennis player training was given by Oliver Stephens, PTR. This was followed by Mark Kovacs and his innovative on-court presentation on physical training and tennis specific movement patterns. Kathleen Stroia, PT, ATC from the WTA gave many of the medical participants a practical instructional session on taping the high level tennis player. Case presentations on the fatigued tennis player, evaluation of hip pain in tennis players, and the recognition and treatment of low back stress injuries in young tennis players helped expand some medical differentials. Page Love, R.D. closed the conference with a practical pre and most patch nutritional strategies talk to medical and tennis professionals in the audience. She emphasized the critical need for carbohydrates before and in post match routines which tend to fall short of recommendations. This conference introduced the STMS to many new members, and allowed for some old members and new members to discuss how to incorporate tennis medicine and injury prevention or performance measures in their respective area.

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