Strength and conditioning has always been part of our practice, but its role has increased over the years. Strength and conditioning, and rehabilitation can be viewed as extensions of each other. Low-level strength and conditioning can be considered rehabilitation. There is no clear-cut point where one ends and the other begins. We do know we are clearly in the realm of strength and conditioning and coaching when the athletes are at the highest level of sports performance.
We have advised elite and Olympic track and field athletes and volleyball players, professional hockey players, professional and NCAA football players, power lifters, Olympic weightlifters, and bodybuilders about training to overcome injuries, prevent injuries, and improve performance. This reputation led more athletes to seek treatment for their injuries and advice about their training and injuries. This also led to Dr. Horrigan being asked to write the IRONMAN Magazine Sports Medicine Column for twenty years. Dr. Horrigan was then able to share this information with weight training enthusiasts around North America.
The opportunity to become the Head Speed-Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Long Beach Ice Dogs IHL hockey team arose late in the 1995-1996 season. Dr. Horrigan was already writing the outline for the book, Strength, Conditioning and Injury Prevention for Hockey, (now out of print). The Ice Dogs failed to qualify for the playoffs in 1996. The next season (1996-1997), the Ice Dogs made it to the Turner Cup Finals, losing 2 games to 4 to the Detroit Vipers. The continued success of the Ice Dogs organization and support of Head Coach/General Manager, John Van Boxmeer, caught the attention of the Los Angeles Kings. The attention from the Kings was also spurred on by the resurgence of the career of Luc Robitaille from the time he started training on the strength and conditioning program designed by Dr. Horrigan. Kings’ General Manager, Dave Taylor, asked Dr. Horrigan to become the Head Speed-Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Los Angeles Kings in the summer of 1999. The Kings had 90 point in back-to-back seasons for the first time in Kings’ history, followed by third consecutive 90 point season. The physical play and strong third periods of the Kings against the Detroit Redwings and Colorado Avalanche in the 2000-2001 season rejuvenated the Kings’ fans.
The entire Kings’ program entailed strength, speed development, conditioning, nutrition, hydration management. Dr. Horrigan asked Dave Good, CSCS, SSC to become the Assistant Speed-Strength and Conditioning Coach with the Kings as they had worked together for one and one-half years with the Ice Dogs and Good had worked with the renowned strength coach, Doc Kreis, at the University of Colorado. Dr. Doug Andersen was asked to provide nutritional and hydration consultation to the Kings. Dr. Andersen had also worked with the Ice Dogs and has written a nutrition column for over 20 years. Dave Good later went on to be Head Speed-Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Nashville Predators and is still there today.
E. J. “Doc” Kreis, DA joined the Soft Tissue Center several years ago. Doc Kreis is a Strength and Conditioning Hall of Fame inductee with an extensive history as Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at UCLA, Universtiy of Colorado, Middle Tennessee State University, and Vanderbilt University.
Dr. Horrigan became a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist in the early 1990’s. Drs. Tunnell and Velasquez have done the same. The Chair of Sports Medicine for USA Weightlifting, Dr. Michael Reed, asked Dr. Horrigan became a member of the Sports Medicine Committee in 1998 and served as the Chief Medical Officer for Team USA at the 1999 Junior World Weightlifting Championships. In 2003, Dr. Horrigan served as Chief Medical Officer for Team USA at the Weightlifting World Championships. Dr. Horrigan was also certified as a Level One Weightlifting Coach (Club Coach). Dr. Horrigan has been a member of the National Strength and Conditioning Association, USA Weightlifting, and the International Sports Sciences Association. Drs. Tunnell and Velasquez are also members of the NSCA and Dr. Velasquez is also a member of USA Weightlifting. Dr. Grasmeyer was an NCAA Division III All-American discus thrower and also worked as a throws coach for Whittier College. This also requires a strong base in strength and conditioning.
The design of strength and conditioning programs and instruction in lifting and speed development programs has become a significant component of our practice. Our enormous experience in track and field has not simply made our group familiar with common injuries to this sport, we have also had much interaction with the best sprint coaches in the western world regarding the development of speed and explosiveness. We have helped athletes reach their goals and dreams by providing the tools necessary to reduce the risk of injuries, avoid injuries and improving performance. The clinical knowledge and experience is a perfect fit with strength and conditioning. The goals and dreams of these athletes have been the Olympics, NFL Combine, NHL draft, and various championships in an equal variety of sports. Our experience and background assists athletes achieve these goals.
The entire staff participated in the sports performance evaluation for the Los Angeles Kings and Long Beach Ice Dogs. Dr. Horrigan also participated in the midseason sports performance testing with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Another important area in strength and conditioning is youth development. We have worked with hockey, tennis, track and field, volleyball and football youth athletes. Our first concern is for the athlete to learn proper lifting technique. Additional resistance will not be added until satisfactory technique is learned.
One area of specialty for our staff is the strength and conditioning of an injured athlete. Some NCAA and professional athletes have long-term injuries but are still able to compete. These athletes must also continue to train for several reasons. It is difficult for the athlete to maximize performance from training if he/she doesn’t know how to work around the injury. Also, training will allow the athlete to reduce the risk of other injuries.
Lastly, there is another specialty and that is preparing actors and actresses for physically demanding roles and also physical preparation of actor and actresses who have injuries. The demands of action if films today in far more physical and risky than ever before. The same science that is used in preparing athletes for physical performance is used in preparing actors and actresses for demanding roles, or if weight gain or weight loss or a change in body composition is needed. Dr. Horrigan has consulted on a number of films.