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STMS & iTPA Medicine and Performance Conference: A Medical Perspective

Neeru Jayanthi, MD, USPTA, Co-Course Director, Vice-President, STMS


This 2014 collaborative Tennis Medicine and Performance conference was a unique opportunity for multiple disciplines interested in tennis to share their valuable information. We were able to also bring some of the region’s and nation’s top medical providers in tennis medicine to share their knowledge. Michael Yorio, MD and Mark Kovacs, PhD each presented some excellent epidemiologic data on the US Open Professional Tennis Players and junior tennis players, respectively. We should be reminded about the need to evaluate medical and musculoskeletal issues, as well as the reasons for medical consultation for adult and junior players. I had an opportunity to present my experience with on court stroke modifications in junior players to limit lumbar extension beyond 20 degrees in pars stress injuries, increase knee bend with upper extremity injuries, and reduce ulnar deviation on dominant and non-dominant ulnar wrist pain. Kathleen Stroia, PT, ATC, Vice President of Sports Medicine services for WTA, explained the successes of the upcoming 20 year review of the WTA age eligibility rule. We are proud to see that one of our professional tennis organizations is really the only professional sports organization to not only use evidence and expert opinion to develop age appropriate rules, but also to have long term assessment and follow up. This should be a model for other sports organizations and youth sports. This was followed by a panel discussion on developing a healthy young tennis athlete. It is clear from the panel’s experts which included USTA CMO, Alexis Colvin, M.D., Larry Lauer, PhD (Sports psychologist with USTA), Satoshi Ochi, CSCS (Strength and Conditioning at USTA National Training Center in Boca Raton, FL) that much work is needed at organizational and individual levels to promote a culture of a healthy environment for the young tennis player.


Medical breakout sessions included the evaluation of exertional leg pain by past president of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM), Dr. Bert Fields, which was a detailed approach beginning with an excellent evaluation of the foot and ankle biomechanics. I provided a session on evaluation of groin pain in athletes, which provided an opportunity for other prominent orthopaedic surgeons such as Dr. Colvin , Dr. George Branche and Dr. Richard Gayle, as well as other non operative and rehabilitation specialists to share their approaches. Medical case sessions were led by Dr. Michael Yorio on fatigue, Dr. Fields on cardiovascular issues, and Dr. George Branche on heat illness cases. John Downes, DC from Life University gave a unique approach to cervical spine evaluation, while Dr. Colvin provided excellent information on shoulder evaluations in the tennis player. We were fortunate to have the clouds open up for a wonderful tennis playing and drill event after the first day.


The second day included a panel of experts on managing the elite tennis player, featuring ATP professional Robby Ginepri. Periodization, monitoring volumes, and looking forward to the advances in new technology were the highlights of this session.


Kathleen Stroia, PT, ATC, and Erin Gambiatti, PT, ATC from the WTA did another practical hands on session on taping techniques of various conditions for the elite tennis player. The final medical session was a top level multi- disciplinary approach to tendinopathy in the tennis player. Melissa Baudo, DPT, and former WTA physical therapist discussed her rehabilitation techniques which included traditional functional eccentric strengthening as well as the use of Red Cord. Dr. Fields discussed the many potential uses and high success rates for NTG patches for chronic tendinopathy to the shoulder, elbow, Achilles tendon, and patellar tendons. Finally, Dr. Ken Mautner, non-operative sports medicine expert from well-known Emory University gave a fantastic overview on the roles of ultrasound guided interventions and applications for chronic tendinopathy which include PRP and even stem cell treatments.


Mark Kovacs and I couldn’t be happier with the enthusiasm for learning and knowledge of the many aspects of tennis and hope to continue to educate and share knowledge with so many of you. We look forward to future conferences. We thank all of our supporters who helped make this inaugural STMS-iTPA conference a great success which include Life University for generously hosting, Cosamin, Donnay, Dartfish, Red Cord, PTR, USPTA, and Loyola Tennis Medicine.

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