Sports Medicine and Conditioning Doctor at Whistler Ski Club (again!)

Once again, I will be working with the Whistler Mountain Ski Club this 2014/15 season to assist with physical assessments, conditioning and dry-land programming, transitional support and other sports medicine related initiatives.  The first assessments have been completed and the athletes are ready to get to work on their fitness and their workouts.  I am excited to be involved with ski racing again, and I look forward to giving back to a sport that has given me so much.

Back in 2010/11 when I had similar role with the club, I had a vision for every athlete to get their own report card after each assessment period and at the end of the year.  I have not given up on continuing this effort, and although we might have some bumps in the road (I have already had some!), I think this effort is important to keep parents and athletes informed of athletic progress in all important areas.  This includes a multi-joint flexibility assessment, joint stability assessment, all types of fitness assessments, attendance, and hopefully next testing session we can include a 'lifestyle' assessment to include sport psych efforts, diet, sleep and other important off-snow habits. 

Of particular interest when performing the September assessments was that I had the chance to compare the FMS, or functional movement screen, developed by a physical therapist named gray cook, to my own functional movement assessment for the alpine skier.  What I found:

  • The FMS was great for picking up limited range of motion in ankle extension and shoulder flexion.  The former is very important for athletes that are doing squats and other lower body fitness exercises. 
  • The FMS only picked up gross limitations in hip mobility, and many athletes were able to work around their tight hips with more movement in the spine and knees.
  • The FMS was poor at detecting pretty much all weaknesses and instabilities of the hips, abdominal muscles and low back.  I had several athletes pass the FMS with flying colours, only to find they were weak in multiple muscles of the hip and abdominal muscles.

The last point above is a seriously limitation of this assessment in my opinion, and thus I would still recommend that all athletes that are serious about their physical development undergo a more in-depth physical assessment with a professional who has studied orthopedic assessment such as a sports medicine Doctor, Physical Therapist, Athletic Therapist, or in my case, a Naturopathic Doctor!

I am confident that with these efforts, we are bringing ski racing athletes closer to becoming champions, in sport and in life!

Dr. Ryan Oughtred