It’s part gym, part rehab facility, and a total fitness training program. It’s St. Francis Acceleration, a service of St. Francis Rehab & Sports Medicine, and located at St. Francis Hospital.
St. Francis Acceleration was launched in June, 2001, to complement the outreach athletic training program and the services of sports medicine physicians, Drs. Tom DiStefano and Pat Harr. Not only did the program offer technology and protocols designed to increase an athlete’s speed, power, quickness, agility and conditioning level, but also offers a bridge program that follows traditional physical therapy.
“Our acceleration program has really put us on the cutting edge of rehab and sports medicine,” said Frank Grispino, Rehab & Sports Medicine Director. “It presents our local athletes with opportunities usually only available in much larger areas. What really pleases me is that our local ‘elite’ athletes and their coaches from high school through college have recognized this and have aggressively participated in the program from the start.”
Recently two former Bearcat football standouts, Myles Burnsides and Sean Paddock, decided to take on the Acceleration program to better prepare them for professional football tryouts.
Sean Paddock, outside linebacker for the NCAA Division Champion Bearcats, stated, “The benefits of the acceleration program are getting two speed days and a plyo day on top of my regular weight-lifting regimen.”
Patented and proprietary equipment allows trainers to take athletes safely past their limits in a controlled and safe environment. Key training equipment include: a super treadmill, plyo press, pro multi-hip, plyometric floor, and sport cord technology.
The program offers individualized training using science-based protocols that are typically comprised of 18 to 24 sessions spread over six to eight weeks.
“That amount of time is needed to ensure technique habits and neurological benefits are condition into the body’s reaction and response behaviors,” explained Erin York, athletic trainer.
Using the TEST-TEACH-TRAIN approach to an athlete’s development, athletes are tested in order to create a baseline that identifies areas where improvements can be made.
"We teach athletes the same techniques used by many of today’s top professional and Olympic athletes to improve sport- and position-specific skills,” said York. “Then we train each athlete in an environment structured to develop each person into the complete athlete.”
According to Myles Burnsides, former Bearcat defensive back, one advantage is its location. “This opportunity is right here in Maryville. I feel I’m getting faster and getting ready for trials.”
He also credits the athletic trainers with delivering results, “Erin (York) and Monty (Chitty) are great motivators.” Trainers undergo extensive levels of certification in areas such as biomechanics, exercise physiology, sports nutrition and exercise science, as well as practical certification on equipment, protocols and training.
You name the sport – basketball, football, running, volleyball, tennis, soccer, and golf – and Athletic Republic has designed a machine or apparatus to specifically improve the motions involved in that activity. Athletic Republic is the industry leader in performance sports training, with sport-specific programs appropriate for athletes of any age and provides the equipment and protocols for the St. Francis program.
The numbers speak for themselves with documented average performance improvements of: 0.2-0.4 seconds in 40 yards; 2" increase of vertical jump height; 5 mph in throwing velocity; cuts recovery time in half; and significant improvements in running efficiency.
“I would recommend this Acceleration program to any athlete,” Burnsides declared.
Classes can be arranged to meet the athlete’s schedule. However, the summer program, beginning in early June to train for the fall sports season, fills up fast. To register or for more information, contact the St. Francis Rehab & Sports Medicine at (660) 562-7908, and visit www.athleticrepublic.com.