Sports Medicine Center Patient Story: Jon Bracket

Jon BrackettPerformance Enhancement Program Helps Jon Brackett Get Back in Shape

When an athletic man is sidelined, his body changes. That was the case for Jon Brackett, 36, of Milwaukee. In December 2005, Jon suffered a mild fracture in his lower back following a car crash. An active person, Jon was unable to participate in the sports he loved for several weeks.

A sports enthusiast, Jon enjoys playing golf, touch football and basketball. In 2000, he also joined the Milwaukee Men’s Senior Baseball League (age 28+) as a shortstop. In college, Jon played Division I baseball at the University of Oklahoma and Colorado State.

Even his work involved sports. For a few years, Jon worked in the front office of professional baseball teams in sales and video work, including videotaping the performance of Milwaukee Brewers pitchers and hitters. For two years, he coached a team at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. Today, Jon works in real estate for a major developer.

Jon knew that his lack of activity was affecting his life. “After the crash, I couldn’t do any sports activities for three months. I put on weight and was out of shape,” he said.

Fully healed, in February 2006 Jon attended the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Golf Show, where he visited the booth of the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Sports Medicine Center.

“I learned about the Performance Enhancement Program,” he said. “It’s just what I was looking for.”

The Performance Enhancement Program (PEP) helps athletes of all levels (age 10 and up) to improve their athletic skills, learn techniques for preventing injury and, ultimately, reach their optimal athletic performance.

Jon began his six-week performance enhancement program in March, just in time to prepare for the upcoming baseball season. “We customized a program for Jon’s baseball skills,” said Michael Ribar, ATC, PES, Coordinator of the Performance Enhancement Program and Head Athletic Trainer. “This involved a combination of our Perfect Game and Quickness and Agility programs.”

The Perfect Game is designed to improve mechanics, velocity and accuracy of the throwing athlete, while Quickness and Agility training is designed to enhance an athlete’s ability to reach and change direction quickly.

Six weeks later, Jon saw a significant difference. “I was faster, more explosive and back in shape,” he said. The true test came in late April when his baseball league resumed play. “I made plays I wouldn’t have made the year before. And I was moving faster; when stealing second base, I was beating the throws. Before, my footwork wasn’t right. Now, my feet were in the right place.”

Jon’s peers have also noticed the change. “One said, ‘That’s the best throw I’ve ever seen you make,’” Jon beamed. “The program got me back to the level I always wanted to play at. The best part is, I haven’t gotten hurt. The program prevents injuries.”

In particular, Jon remarked that 2006 was the first time he could play the full baseball season without his right shoulder hurting. He had injured his right shoulder in college, requiring surgery. During his PEP sessions, Jon had worked on strengthening his shoulder/rotator cuff.

Jon was so happy with the Performance Enhancement Program that he continues training in the program twice a week, with Michael Ribar as his personal trainer.

Every six weeks, testing is done to measure the level of Jon’s performance. “Since I joined the program, my vertical leap has improved 4-5 inches, my speed and quickness have improved 25 percent, and my strength has improved 30 percent to 40 percent,” he said.

“This is the first time since my college days that I’ve done something at this level,” Jon said. “These are the same drills that professional athletes do. I’m in better shape and more durable because of this, and that’s what I was looking for. PEP turned the clock back on my ability. It’s the best program I’ve ever done.”

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