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The 25th Annual Society for Tennis Medicine & Science(STMS) World Congress in Review

Submitted by Aylin Seyalioglu PT, DPT, ATC, CSCS


The 25th annual Society for Tennis Medicine and Science (STMS) World Congress was held in Amelia Island, Florida on December 2-4th. Dr. Neeru Jayanthi, M.D., had the ability to bring together experts and tennis enthusiasts from many different types of professions including medical professionals, researchers, and coaches. Friday, December 2nd included 5 on-court sessions followed by a social round robin. The next 2 days consisted around 60 speakers with many different types of backgrounds and nationalities.


The on-court session and round robin had beautiful weather. Dr. Marc Kovacs PhD presented on the movement training on tennis players and described how tennis has changed from the ideology of using quick little steps between ground strokes to not having to take more than 3 steps for majority of lateral movements toward groundstrokes. Both USPTA and PTR had great representation during the on-court session to improve the way tennis is taught for all ages. USTA’s Fred Viancos presented on the latest way to teach efficient strokes especially for the serve. Oliver Stephen’s from PTR presented engaging activities for every age group to improve their skill on court but also make it fun. Stroke mechanics was presented by Dr. Jayanthi who focused on the ground strokes and Dr. Ben Kibler M.D. for the serve. Both presenters went into further detail on stroke mechanics throughout the conference. That evening’s activities were run by Oliver and Milane Stephens and supported by Southeast Orthopedics which were a round robin and incredibly energetic doubles games that required a ton of cardio.


The conference was set up with presidential key notes at the beginning of each day and at the first afternoon. Dr. Neeru’s energetic and amusing welcome set the conference to a great start. Dr. Kibler further explained on prevention and treatment for tennis players on volume and biomechanics regarding the serve. He also presented detailed explanation of the Observational Tennis Serve Analysis Tool which involves 9 important nodes to breakdown the tennis serve especially during the loading and early acceleration phase of the serve. Dr. Per Renstrom M.D. explained the 25 years of tendinopathy in tennis. He educated the audience that although tendons are strong, the failure of the cell matrix to adapt to developed load causes tendinopathy and is commonly seen in tennis players. He also explained the current management and treatment through the available research and that there is no quick fix for treating tendinopathy.


The afternoon presidential key notes included Dr. Brian Hainline M.D. presenting the need for change in mentality in young tennis players in regards to ranking to improve the longevity of youth players continue with tennis. Dr. Jayanthi presented on the ongoing questions of whether junior tennis player’s risk for injury is caused by volume or mechanics. Although the research currently shows that volume is the biggest indicator on risk for injury, biomechanics still has a component for injuries.


The final presidential key notes on the last day was presented by Dr. Marc Safran M.D. and Dr. Babette Pluim M.D. Dr. Safran presented on the available research in regards to hip injuries in tennis players but also emphasized the importance of further research is required to understand hip injuries in tennis. Dr. Pluim research showed regular participation in tennis can provides many health benefits including lowering resting heart rate, blood pressure and body fat and possibly live longer compared to other recreational sports including running.


After each presidential keynotes, the conference was split into three sections: medical sessions, sport science sessions and workshops. The amount of research and information to improve the way to treat and educate tennis players is endless at this conference. Whether you are a coach trying to reduce the risk of injury at the same time improve performance or a clinician finding out the amount of load that is created on the hip joint during an open stance forehand, you will not leave this conference without gaining knowledge to improve your profession.


Evaluation and treatment of healthy and injured tennis players were covered for almost every body part. Todd Ellenbecker, PT educated on the screening and evaluation of the shoulder through the High-Performance Profile and also provided fun but also challenging exercises to improve shoulder mobility and strength. Clay Sniteman and his coworkers from ATP provided beneficial techniques in evaluating and treating the spine. They also demonstrated taping techniques commonly used on the ATP for the foot and

ankle including the use of tensoplast tape for achilles tendonopathy and ankle posterior impingement. Belinda Smtih, PT discussed the ways the WTA treats tendinopathy during the never ending in season and stressed importance of loading the tendon through various exercises that can be performed on the road. The often discussed core was thoroughly covered by Carl Petersen BPE, BSc(PT). He emphasized the importance of the core has to act as a proximal stability in order to improve the distal mobility which is important for very type of athlete.


The day in the life of treating tennis players on the road was presented by multiple organization including Liz Chaffin, PT from USTA, Carole Doherty, PT for the WTA and Todd Ellenbecker from the ATP. Stuart Miller, PhD presented on the improvement on the educating players on the anti-doping rules through small wallet size cards and cell phone apps (Tennis Anti-Doping Programme)


Dr. Kibler and his assistant Natalie Myers, ATC provided an interval training program to safely return injured tennis players based on research on the amount of strokes hit during matches for both professional and junior players. The article is called “Volume-based Interval Training Program for Elite Tennis Players” and can be found in SportsHealth 2016 July edition.


Dr. Jayanthi and Marc Kovacs presented on the preliminary stages of their study on the Stroke Efficiency Rating (SER) on healthy and injured junior tennis players. This evidence based rating is based out of 102 points and breakdown each stroke into detailed sections including categories of risk injuries.


The 2016 STMS conference was a rousing success. While 2016 was a fantastic year for the tennis medicine community, we are looking forward to an even better year ahead!



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