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LTA Sports Science & Medicine Conference

The LTA Sports Science department hosted the LTA Sports Science & Medicine Conference at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel in London (21st & 22nd June) during the weekend prior to The Wimbledon Championships 2008. Over 100 delegates comprised of practitioners, scientists and coaches were present for two days of outstanding presentations and discussion. The congress was officially opened by the LTA’s Head of Sports Science Dr Ann Quinn who welcomed speakers and delegates from the UK and around the globe.

The program commenced with two keynote presentations: the first, by Dr Donald Chu who gave a state of the art presentation on the ‘Development of Power in the Tennis Player’ based on his enormous experience in leading strength and power practices in the US and internationally. Dr Chu was followed by another keynote speaker from the US, Dr Mark Kovacs the Sports Science Manager at the USTA who presented his approach to developing ‘Latest Tennis Training Techniques’ based on his extensive background in Exercise Physiology and Strength & Conditioning.

The rest of the Saturday program covered a wide spectrum of topics including ‘The Role of Protein Supplementation in Elite Sport’ by the internationally renowned scientist Dr Kevin Tipton (University of Birmingham, UK); ‘Sports Technique, Internal Loading and Injuries’ by one of the UK’s leading young Sports Biomechanists Dr Mark King (Loughborough University, UK), the LTA’s very own psychologist Roberto Forzoni outlined his approach to ‘Maximising Performance through Psychology’ and Dr Karl Cooke, the LTA’s Pre & Post Performance Manager introduced the scientific background and practical application of ‘Physical Recovery Modalities to Enhance Performance’.

The delegates took the opportunity to visit the impressive facilities at the LTA National Tennis Centre in Roehampton, the home of British Tennis. Where the final keynote of the day was co-hosted by the LTA Performance Coaching conference bringing together the Sports Science & Medicine delegates with all of the best British tennis coaches. The keynote speaker was Dr Graeme Maw who has been a very successful Performance Director for British Triathlon and more recently the Welsh Rugby Union. Graeme gave an interactive presentation on integration of Sports Science and Coaching in elite sport. The delegates of both conferences then enjoyed the food, wine and entertainment of joint conference dinner in the relaxed setting of the National Tennis Centre.

The emphasis for the Sunday programme was on Sports Medicine and specifically aspects of the Spine in Sport, innovative treatments and contemporary approaches to athlete rehabilitation. The program commenced with Dr David Connell who presented on his MRI findings in the lumbar spine of asymptomatic junior tennis players based on a LTA funded project of players from National Tennis Centre. Continuing the spinal theme Prof. John Dowell outlined the ‘Surgical Options for the Treatment of Pars Defects’ and Dr Mark King have a biomechanical perspective to the internal loading of the spine.

The second keynote for the Sunday program saw Dr. Ulrike Muschaweck open the innovative treatments session with her exceptionally effective ‘Minimal Repair’ approach to the surgical repair of hernias in athletes. This was followed by Dr. Roger Wolman’s exploration of the role of drug therapy in the treatment of stress fractures. The innovation didn’t stop there, Dr. David Connell concluded the session with his discussion of the potential role of stem cells for the treatment of tendinopathies.

Dr. Ann Cools (University Hospital Ghent, Belgium) opened the afternoon session which focused on contemporary rehabilitation with her thorough review of the rehabilitation of the shoulder with internal impingement. Like Dr Cools, Dr. Nicola

Phillips (Cardiff University, UK) brought together the perfect mix of research findings and clinical practice in her look at the rehabilitation after ACL injury. Joanne Elphinston (UK) followed with an excellent look at the principles of spondylolisthesis rehabilitation specifically the analysis of trunk motion and role of the core stabilising muscles. The rehabilitation session was wrapped up with a presentation by the ATP Tour’s Director of Medical Services Todd Ellenbecker in which he examined the basis of rehabilitation following superior labral repair in the elite tennis player.

The conference program was brought to a close by the LTA’s Dr Paul Jackson (Head of Sports Medicine) and Dr Michael Turner who commented on the excellent quality of the presentations and the fantastic feedback from delegates.

Details of future LTA events will be available via the LTA website

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