FALL RIVER, MA – While the University of Florida Gators and the University of Oklahoma Sooners were duking it out in Miami for the national championship in January, some locals were watching one player very closely. In a game that defied expectations, SwimEx, a local aquatic therapy pool manufacturer, may have had a hand in the outcome of the game.
Percy Harvin, Gators’ star receiver, had suffered a high ankle sprain and associated hairline fracture in a November game against Florida State. He missed his final game of the regular season and coaches were unsure he’d play in the championships. The team’s Athletic Trainers immediately started working on a robust rehab program which included SwimEx aquatic therapy. They worked through the Christmas break to get him back in playing form for the big game to be played in Dolphin Stadium.
“We used the SwimEx to help him regain his range of motion and strength. It took the load off the joint as we progressed him into jogging/running, and we used it to maintain his cardiovascular fitness and introduce him to explosive movements through agility exercises with the aid of the water’s buoyancy,” said Gators’ Assistant Athletic Trainer Kyle Johnston, MS, ATC, LAT.
With a unique paddlewheel technology, SwimEx’s laminar flow delivers the strongest, deepest, widest current in the industry, enabling a better workout, according to Suzanne Marchetti, SwimEx spokesperson.
“We think the SwimEx aided his rehabilitation, progressing at the speed and pace that we hoped it would. It was a valuable tool with his daily rehabilitation especially in transitioning him into activity on the football field. His teammates said there is no question that his presence and performance in the game definitely affected the game's outcome,” says Johnston.
Fans will remember that the Gators took home the title with a score of 24-14 and sportswriters said “Percy Harvin ran wild.” Johnston confirms Harvin ran nine rushes for 125 yards and five catches for 49 yards and one touchdown with his longest run being 52 yards.
“I think the success he had in the game was a true testament to his determination, commitment, ability to play through pain, and the advantage of having a hydrotherapy system like the SwimEx to help aid his recovery. The athlete deserves all the credit in the world because HE is the one who truly made both us as a staff and the SwimEx look good,” Johnston says.
Active University sports program relies on SwimEx
Purchased in 2003, the University Athletic Association felt that SwimEx gave them the most bang for the buck over other therapy pools. They chose the 700T model with its built-in deep water running well for complete non-weight bearing applications. Today, 17 sports at the school rely on the SwimEx.
The football Athletic Trainers say they use the SwimEx primarily for rehab, helping maintain and improve cardiovascular fitness in the rehabilitation process of lower extremity injuries. They also use it for range of motion and strengthening exercises with upper and lower extremity exercises.
“We like the ability it gives us in giving the athlete a good cardiovascular workout while not putting stress on the injured joint or extremity that we are rehabbing,” Johnston says.