10 Principles of Conditioning Part 2

By Grace Halder, Injury Prevention & Care Student Staff Member and UNL Athletic Training Major

Starting a training program can be a challenge, and sticking to it can be just as difficult. There are 10 basic principles to any training and conditioning program that are important to implement in every step of your exercising. Breaking your old ways and starting new habits is a huge part of the conditioning process. Some other important principles for training programs are safety, warming up and cooling down, staying motivated, being consistent and minimizing stress. Conditioning properly helps to prevent injury and provides the best workout possible for your body so you can achieve all your fitness goals.


You should pick training activities that are similar to your sport. Exercises that mirror what you are ultimately training for will strengthen the muscles used during activity in the way they will be used. This way you get the best work out possible and a functional strengthening workout for your muscles.

S.A.I.D. Principle

You also must keep in mind how your muscles respond to the work you do. Muscles have the ability to adapt to the stresses put on them over time, called the Specific Adaptation for Imposed Demands (SAID) Principle. As your muscles adapt overtime, they stop getting stronger once they can handle the stresses. You must overload your muscles in order to create new stresses and continue to increase strength and growth.


  You can’t take one huge leap from where you started to where you want to be, you have to take small steps to reach your final goal. When training for a marathon you don’t start with 26.2 miles your first day of training. You start with what you can, then progress a couple miles per day or week. Eventually you will reach your maximum mileage and will have gotten there safely.

As you progress through your workout, it is important to know how to increase your intensity safely. Rather than doing the same exercises for more time each day, you should increase the intensity of your exercises to create new stresses. Add more weight or resistance, add some incline to your running, or add another set at a heavier weight rather than adding more repetitions at the same weight. This will push your body more than repeating the workout you did yesterday again.


Finally, it is important to make your training work for you. If you don’t like the exercises you are doing you won’t be as motivated to work out and reach your goals. Find activities that you like and enjoy doing and try to incorporate those into your training. The more you enjoy your workout, the more likely you are to stick with it, and the better your results will be in the end.

Getting Started

As you can see, there are many aspects you must take into account when planning a training program for whatever your goal may be. However it may be easier than you think. If you need help, the UNL Campus Rec Center has many resources to help you with every aspect of your training. From personal trainers, to strength and conditioning coaches, dieticians, injury prevention and care staff and a variety of group fitness classes, there are resources available to help you succeed right here on campus.


Labrum Tear of the Shoulder

By Jordan Jensen, UNL Athletic Training Student

Labral tears are quite common in throwing athletes or weightlifters as a result of repetitive shoulder motion. However, the tear can also be caused by falling.

What is it?:Shoulder_model2

The labrum is a soft ring of tissue that surrounds the head of the shoulder joint and keeps the head of the humerus secured tightly into the shoulder joint. Without the labrum, the shoulder would fall out of place whenever it is moved.

FOOSH ski shoulder

Falling on an Outstretched Shoulder (FOOSH)

Mechanism of Injury:

Labral tears are often caused by a direct force to the shoulder, such as falling on an outstretched hand. The labrum can also be torn from chronic overuse. When the labrum gets overused the shoulder gets hyper mobile(excessive motion), which can cause the shoulder to be dislocated and tear the labrum even more. Some mechanisms for shoulder dislocation are tackling in football or throwing an object with excessive force.

Signs and symptoms:

The main symptom of a labrum tear is a sharp click or catch sensation within the shoulder. It is then followed by a dull achy pain that can linger, however, at other times the pain may be completely gone. Another sign of a labral tear is if the shoulder feels loose, subluxes, or dislocates in certain movements.


  1. Non Surgical: Initially the physician will try and reduce the swelling and inflammation by prescribing rest and anti-inflammatory medications. If Ibuprofen and Tylenol are not working to control the pain, the physician may suggest a cortisone shot, which is a stronger pain reliever but is only temporary.

After the pain and inflammation is under control, the doctor will most likely suggest physical therapy. First the therapy will help with range of motion and ease pain. After that, the therapy will be focused more on strengthening surrounding muscles and tightening the shoulder joint. The therapy will last for four to six weeks.

  1. Labral Debridement: If the pain is excessive and therapy doesn’t help, the physician will usually suggest surgery. The labral debridement is used to remove the frayed edges of the labrum that are getting caught when moving the shoulder. The procedure is usually done with an arthroscopy, which is a repair using a tiny camera and microscope.

After the labral debridement surgery, physical therapy usually proceeds shortly after. Physical therapy usually starts off with range of motion exercises and gradually moves into active stretching and strengthening. Overhead activities can gradually start being introduced within four to six weeks and full recovery takes about three months.

  1. Arthroscopic Repair: If the tear is larger and the labrum cannot stabilize the shoulder, surgeons will repair the labrum. To repair the labrum, surgeons place anchors into the bone around the shoulder joint and reattach the labrum with stitches using the arthroscope.
  1. Open Procedure: In rare cases the labrum maybe severely damaged so the surgeon won’t be able to use the arthroscope and will perform an open procedure where the patient is open superficially. This usually results in a larger scare than the arthroscopic procedure. There are several techniques that can be used to repair the labrum or replace it. Due to constantly improving technology, open procedures are becoming a rare procedure.

After either the labral repair or an open procedure, physical therapy starts with assistive exercises, where the therapist moves the shoulder through motion while the muscle is relaxed. After about six weeks active range of motion exercises will be used to help regain shoulder movements. At about ten weeks active strength training will be introduced to improve strength and tighten the shoulder joint. It takes about four to six months to be able to return to full activity.

If you think that you may have sustained an injury to your shoulder while participating in an activity with Campus Recreation, please stop by the Injury Prevention and Care Center for an evaluation from one of our Certified Athletic Trainers or 20 First Responder Student Staff. They will also be able to provide you with a referral to the appropriate medical provider if further care is needed.

10 Steps to Proper Conditioning: Part 1

By Grace Halder, IPC Student Staff Member and UNL Athletic Training Major

Starting a new workout routine can be a learning process. Not only do you have to break your old habits, but you also have to learn new exercises and get in a new routine. After starting new routines, some important concepts of conditioning may be forgotten or overlooked. If you don’t properly apply the 10 principles of conditioning to your workout, you may not get all the benefits from it or you could risk injury.


IMG_9608Using proper technique and knowing your limits is key to proper exercise. Not only does it keep you from getting hurt, it also gives you the best workout possible, and the best results. Many people don’t always know the proper form for lifting or how long they should be running on a treadmill. However, lifting with bad form does not work the muscles properly and can lead to muscle strains. There is also max to how much you can condition your cardiovascular system. Running on a treadmill for 3 hours may help you train for a marathon. However, you can also become very dehydrated. Unless you are training for a marathon, there is no reason to run that extreme amount since your cardiovascular system adapts fairly quickly and you aren’t increasing your workout anymore. Wearing the proper shoes and equipment is also necessary for activities. For example, you should wear a helmet when biking to ensure that your brain and skull are protected in case of a fall or accident.

Warm up and Cool Down

pregnancy-warmupPlanning 10 or 15 minutes to get your muscles warm and stretched can increase blood flow. This gives you a better workout and more flexible muscles, which are less likely to tear or pull. Take 5 to 10 minutes to jog or jump rope and get your blood moving, then another 5 to 10 minutes of stretching to stretch all your muscles before you work out. Then take another 5 to 10 minutes after to cool down, and stretch again. Not only will you feel better after your workout, you will be less sore the next day and your muscles will recover faster.


If you want your workouts to be worth something, you have to make a routine that you can stick with. Find time every day to exercise and make it a habit. This will help your muscles continue to grow and develop and your cardiovascular system to maintain and increase its functioning.

Minimizing Stress

However, don’t be afraid to take a day off. While exercising can help to decrease stress, if you stress about your workouts, it is time to back off. Too much training can be hard on the body. You can cause injuries to your muscles and joints if you are overworking your body every day. Take a day off to relax and let your body recover. In the end, your body will thank you for it.


set and reach goal conceptIf you have something to work toward, you will find it easier to get up and go do it. Whether you’re training for a half marathon or just trying to get in better shape, push yourself to reach your goals and continue to set higher goals each time you achieve one. Set long and short term goals for yourself that are realistic and time sensitive. Having a date to work toward a goal will help you stick to your routine even when you have little drive some days.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of the 10 Principles of Conditioning!

IMG_5157If you have any questions about how to get started with training, planning your workout or how to lift properly, visit the Strength Training and Conditioning Staff. They are here to assist you and are happy to give you quick guidance or a spot. If you’re serious about changing up your routine consider hiring a Personal Trainer. If you find yourself injured while working out or are looking for ways to prevent injuries, stop by the Injury Prevention and Care Center located within the Campus Rec Center. Our Certified Athletic Trainers and First Responder staff are here to answer your injury-specific questions and do minor stretching and taping free of charge.

Happy exercising!

Ouch My Knee Hurts Part 2: When Your Shocks Fail

By Jen Krueger, Athletic Trainer Certified & Injury Prevention and Care Coordinator

Have you ever driven an older car when things are starting to wear out? You are coasting along a highway or a city street when you see a sign that warns of a dip in the road or a bump ahead.  You begin to brace yourself because you know your car just can’t absorb the force that it used too. When that happens, it can have a jarring effect and can sometimes even hurt. Just as shocks on a car can age and lose a high level of performance, the meniscus in your knee can also. Your meniscus is meant to absorb the forces placed upon your knee but loses its shock absorbancy when injured.

What is the Meniscus?

The meniscus is the thick cartilage that lays between your femur (thigh bone) and your tibia (leg bone) to keep them from rubbing against each other.  They also act as a cushion between the bones so people can be active (running, jumping, etc.). Each knee has a lateral and a medial meniscus.

What is the “Mechanism of Injury” for a Meniscal Tear (or how does it occur)?meniscus

Just about anything can cause a meniscal tear. Usually some sort of bending and twisting motion is to blame. Meniscal tears are quite common in athletes that bend and twist frequently, like basketball players. While you can solely tear a portion of your meniscus, it is  common to also sustain a ligamentous injury (ACL, MCL or LCL) at the same time. It is most common to tear your MCL with your medial meniscus because they are so closely attached. The Unhappy Triad is quite a severe injury in which you tear the ACL, MCL and the meniscus at the same time.  For simplicity’s sake, we will stick with just a standard meniscal tear.

Meniscal tears are quite common in athletes that bend and twist frequently, like basketball players.

What are the Signs and Symptoms?

Depending knee-painon where your tear is located, you might have pain along the medial or lateral side of the knee. You may also have pain anterior (front) or posterior (back) on the particular side of the tear in the joint space of the knee. Swelling is usually minimal because the meniscus does not have a great blood supply (if significant swelling is present this could be a different injury that needs further evaluation).

Depending on the severity of the injury you could have pain with knee flexion (bending) or knee extension (straightening). If a piece of the meniscus has broken free it can cause your knee to lock into a particular position making it difficult to get unlocked. Squatting, standing up from a sitting position or going up stairs can be painful as well. Stiffness is also reported after sitting for long periods of time and some patrons report having to try straightening and bending their knees to loosen them up.

What are the treatment options of a Meniscal Tear?

There are three main treatment options for meniscal tears:

1. Conservative treatment is rest and easing back into activity. Some people have minor tears that will bother them every once in awhile but if they rest, the injury settles down until the next time several months or years down the road.

2. meniscus-repair-im2Meniscectomy is a surgical procedure usually done through an arthroscope to cut out a small tear. Depending on your level of activity you are usually back to full activity in 4-6 weeks post surgery. While physical therapy may be prescribed, usually you will be given exercises to complete at home.

3. Surgical Repair is a surgical procedure for severe meniscal tears (ex: Bucket Handle Tear) where a large chunk of the meniscus has pulled from the bone. The surgeon will go in and anchor the meniscus back down to the bone so that the femur and tibia are not rubbing on each other to prevent arthritis. This is a big procedure that requires a significant amount of healing and rehabilitation. For these injuries plan on anywhere from 6 months to one year for rehabilitation to be complete. Physical therapy is often needed to regain full range of motion and strength before returning to activity.


If you think that you might have injured your knee while participating in an activity please stop by the Injury Prevention and Care Center here at the Rec Center to have one of our IPC Staff evaluate your injury.  IPC is staffed with 2 Certified Athletic Trainers that can perform orthopedic special tests to help clinically diagnosis or rule out a variety of injuries and most services are completely free to students and members. IPC also has student staff that act as first responders to emergency situations. If the IPC staff think that you could use additional care, they will refer you on to the appropriate medical professionals (general practitioners, orthopedic physicians, etc.).

12 Things to Boost Your Fitness

It’s the middle of January – how’s your New Year resolution holding up? Don’t fret if you’ve faltered a bit. Current wisdom says that it takes 28 days to fully adopt a new habit or to shed an old one.

No worries, we are also here to help you out! Our team has compiled 12 outstanding product recommendations for increasing physical activity, elevating enjoyment, and tracking your fitness success. Whether a workout junkie or an enthusiastic newbie, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading to learn about some cool products and post your own favorites in the comment section below. Happy New Year!


MyFitnessPal Nutrition & Exercise Tracker  |  by MyFitnessPal, LLC

Recommended by Frances Hayes, Marketing & Promotions Coordinator, weightlifting warrior woman, and half-marathoner

frances 2What she says about it: “Free app helps track your wellness goals. Log what you eat by searching the 3 million+ user-generated database of nearly every item you can buy at the supermarket or simply scan the barcode on a packaged item. When you cook at home, save your recipes so you know exactly which nutrients you’re consuming. MyFitnessPal also allows workout tracking with more than 350 exercises and the ability to sync with several cardio machines for more exact results (including many in the Campus Rec Center). Sync with FitBit or other step-tracking devices to modify your calorie goals based on your day’s activity level. Connect with friends (via Facebook) for more accountability and motivation A great supplement to personal training to pair proper nutrition with the right workouts, or just simply as a reminder to eat well.”

FREE Download to your mobile phone or tablet:




Romaleo II Weightlifting Shoe  |  by Nike

Recommended by Katie Wilder, Strength & Conditioning Coordinator, past Humboldt State basketballer, and squat extraordinaire

katieWhat she says about it: “The Nike Romaleos are training shoes designed specifically for Olympic weightlifting. They have a very stiff, elevated heel to transfer force more efficiently and to distribute your body weight evenly throughout the shoe. The biggest difference you may notice is an increase in your overall stability while lifting. If you’re ready to start seriously Olympic lifting, these shoes are an investment that will support your hobby for years to come.”

MSRP  $199.oo

Find it in Lincoln:

  • Katie recommends buying online: http://www.roguefitness.com/
  • Unknown if it’s currently in stock in Lincoln, but try Foot Locker @ Gateway Mall, 6100 O St.; 402-466-7725.



Q-Core Sleeping Pad  |  by Big Agnes

Recommended by Jordan Messerer, Assistant Director for Outdoor Adventures, backcountry comfort specialist, and campsite coffee master

jordanWhat he says about it: “A good night sleep is directly related to my enjoyment of any trip. A super comfy sleeping pad is essential. This pad is 3.5 inches thick to ensure that my hips and bum do not touch the ground and the quilted pattern assures that my body is equally supported. Unlike most air mattress, this one is insulated to keep you warm when the ground is cold. The best part of the deal: this mattress rolls up to the size of a one-quart bottle and weighs 30 ounces.”

MSRP  $120.00 to $200.00 depending on size

Find it in Lincoln:

  • Moose’s Tooth, 27th & Vine; 402-475-4453




Urban 350 Commuter Combo  |  by Light and Motion

Recommended by Kyle Hansen, Outdoor Adventures Coordinator, cycling enthusiast, and League of American Bicycling cycling instructor

kyleWhat he says about it: “To ride safely and confidently, you need to see road hazards at night on the street and trails. his light will not only allow you to see road and trail hazards but helps assure that cars can see you. Choose between three light modes (350, 150, 75 Lumens) to balance light output with longer battery life depending on your riding situation. It’s water resistant and USB rechargeable. If you are looking to ride single track, this combo will get you started, however you will probably want to find add brighter light (600+ lumens) or add a light to your helmet.”  

MSRP  $105.00 combo ($70.00 front only / $45.00 rear only)

Find it in Lincoln: 

  • UNL Outdoor Adventures Center, 14th & W St.; 402-472-4777
  • Cycle Works, 27th & Vine, 402-475-2453



MTX BeamRack (E-Type) w/ MTX Trunk Bag EX   |  by Topeak

Recommended by Sherri Tompkins Byrne, East Campus Recreation Coordinator and year-round bike commuter

Sherri 2sherri 1What she says about it: “Many great features. The bag attaches easily to the rack and is removable for transport – quicker than panniers and other types of bike bags. Has a nice top and side handle for easy carrying. Lots of zipper pockets too. Plenty of carrying capacity for spare tubes, pump, extra water, lunch and anything else you carry. Rack connects with a quick-release clamp (no tools required) and can support 20lbs. Functions like a rear fender to keep mud off your back.”

MSRP  $59.95 rack  / $69.95 bag

Find it in Lincoln:

  • Joyride Cycles, 5633 S 16th St.; 402-261-8854
  • Bike Pedalers, 1631 Pine Lake Road; 402-261-3003




Heater Hog 1/2 Zip Top  |  by Brooks Running Co.

Recommended by Christopher Dulak, Senior Assistant Director for Marketing & Communications, avid marathoner, and food grower

christopherWhat he says about it: “Amazing lightweight miracle fabric draws moisture away from your body while simultaneously heating you…yes, it generates heat! Dries quickly when you’re finished (After a 6 mile run, it’s dry in less than 10 minutes while I’m still wearing it). Designed for outside wear in 40°F and below. Built-in thumbholes for extra warmth. Excellent by itself or as a base layer on extremely cold days – you don’t need to bulk up b/c it’s so efficient. If your not running, it’s a great item for layering. The semi-fit design runs a little big and long; it’s recommended to size down for a better fit.”

NOTE: Sources say Brooks is not making this item next year, so you should get it this season.

MSRP  $75.00 half-zip long sleeve  /  $65.00 crew-neck long sleeve (various colors avaiable in women & men sizes)

Find it in Lincoln:

  • The Lincoln Running Company, 1213 Q St.; 402-474-4557




4-piece set of Portion Servers w/ Dressing Lid  |  by Healthy Steps

Recommended by Amanda Robine, Wellness Graduate Assistant, registered dietitian and half-gallon-a-day water drinker

amandaWhat she says about it: “These serving utensils make portion control very simple. The Starch Server, Vegetable Server and Serving Ladle dish up a perfect portion size without having to use a measuring cup. The Protein Server provides a guide on the size of meat that I should put on my plate, all I have to do is match the spatula up to the meat I am cooking. The dressing lid is an added bonus that allows me to put just the right amount of dressing on my salads. The really great thing about these serving utensils is they take the guess work out of portion control. I know when I use these utensils I am getting an appropriate serving every time.”

MSRP  $29.95

Find it in Lincoln:

  • Amanda previously found this set at Hy-Vee, 50th & O St.; 402-483-7707  (current availability not known)




RED CROSS® Brand FIRST AID TO GO!® Kit  |  by Johnson & Johnson

Recommended by Jen Krueger, ATC, Injury Prevention & Care Coordinator and mother of an actively adventurous 3-year-old.

jenWhat she says about it: “Everyone has been in the situation where they need minor first aid supplies. A long boarder wipes out on the crack in the sidewalk, shoes rubbing the back of your heels, missing your footing during plyometric jumps on a box, etc. The possibilities are endless. This first aid kit can be thrown into a backpack, purse, or car to be at the ready in an emergency. Personally, I have a first aid kit in my car, my husband’s car and our child’s diaper bag for surprise bumps and bruises. This one is in a small and water proof case that is good if you have to walk across campus in a downpour, the supplies won’t get soaked in the rain. If you are going on a longer trip or need something with more supplies Johnson and Johnson also has larger first aid kits to suit your first aid needs.”

Local Retail Price  $1.69

Find it in Lincoln:

  • Target, 48th & R St.; 402-464-8292
  • Other big box stores & pharmacies




AquaZinger  |  by Zing Anything

Recommended by Sonia Neale, Nutrition Education Coordinator and registered dietitian

sonia 3What she says about it: “ Fresh fruit + water = an on-the-go hydration explosion. Mix & match the flavors you enjoy. The bottom grinder retains the fruit pulp so only the juice goes into your water. The recyclable BPA/EA free plastic are easy to clean and the double-walled stainless steel casing insulates both hot and cold liquids. My water intake is definitely boosted on the days that I use the AquaZinger.”sonia 2

MSRP  $25.99 (available in four colors + two caps)

Find it in Lincoln:

  • Scheels @ Southpointe Pavilions, 27th & Pine Lake Road; 402-420-9000




The Mat  |  by Lululemon Athletica

Recommended by Kelsey Whittaker, Fitness Coordinator, self-proclaimed dog whisperer, yoga pants connoisseur, and inversion junkie

kelseyWhat she says about it: “There’s nothing quite as frustrating as finally nailing the yoga pose you’ve been working on for months and falling out of it due to a slippery yoga mat. The Mat by Lululemon is easily the best yoga mat that I have ever owned. It’s padded enough to cushion your hands and feet but not so padded that you fall out of your balancing asanas. The thin top layer creates a non-slip grip, allowing you to stick poses in a way where your focus can shift from body positioning to internal transformation. Whether you’re a sweat monster in hot yoga or a yin practitioner, this mat is perfect for you.”

MSRP  $68.00 (various colors available)

Find it in Omaha:

  • Lululemon Athletica @ Village Pointe, 17250 Davenport St.; 402-289-0370




Contoured Swim Paddles & Pull Bouy  |  by Speedo

Recommended by Mandi Mollring, Aquatics & Youth Activities Coordinator, ARC water safety instructor, and ARC lifeguard instructor

mandi 2mandi 1What she says about it: “I love these swim paddles and pull buoy to take my swim to the next level. When used in combination, your arms become isolated and you get a killer workout. Even if you’re not much of a water person, a quick 20-minute session with these babies and you’ve completed a great cross-training option for weight training. Note: There are many different brands for these products, so here is why I prefer Speedo: the swim paddles are contoured, which make the fit more comfortable in your hand and are available in multiple sizes. The pull buoy has uneven buoyancy ends, so no matter your size, your legs stay floating at the top of the water for optimal body position.”

MSRP  $14.99 pull bouy  /  $16.99 paddles (three hand sizes available)




Fitbit® Flex™  |  by Fitbit Inc.

Recommended by Derek Niewohner, Graduate Assistant for Marketing & Promotions, treadmill junkie, 5k/10k/half-marathoner, lunchtime baller

derek 2What he says about it:A low profile pedometer-style wristband is perfect for the avid (and not so avid) exerciser in all of us. As a pedometer, it easily tracks your daily steps, miles, and spent calories. As an exercise tracker, it logs the miles you run/walk/jog plus your average pace, current pace, and a GPS-mapping feature showing you where you traveled. It provides a one-stop-shop to log your water & calorie intake, track your weight, and start a food plan. If that wasn’t enough, this handy gadget tracks your sleep and able to view a visual representation of your night’s rest, including minutes you were awake, restless, and sound asleep. When it’s time to get up in the morning, the Flex™ provides a silent alarm and shakes at a time you have previously set.”

MSRP $99.95 (available in many fashionable colors)

Find it in Lincoln:

  • UNL Computer & Phone Shop @ Nebraska Union lower level; 402-472-5151
  • Also sold at Target, Best Buy, Scheels, and other retailers

The Other Side of Injury Prevention and Care

By Annie Molek, UNL Athletic Training Student

ice bagMost think of our Injury Prevention and Care (IPC) services as a place to visit after getting injured. However, many people don’t realize IPC is also a clinical site for the academic athletic training degree program. Students take academic courses and complete hands-on clinical competencies in addition to their time in the classroom.  It is similar to what nurses, physician assistants and physicians do, although athletic training students at UNL perform their clinical rotations at the undergraduate level. Below, Annie Molek shares her experience in the UNL Athletic Training Program and her clinical rotation in the IPC setting.

“It is no doubt that the Athletic Training Program here at UNL is a competitive major and becoming more and more popular with each incoming freshman class. Last fall, 126 students and I declared athletic training as our major. As the year went on, the class size dwindled (due to grades, rigorous coursework,or disinterest in the field), leaving 46 of us still left at the start of the spring semester. By the time it came to apply and interview for the program, 32 of us remained. Of those 32 applicants, there were 19 of us accepted into the program.

Athletic training majors are required to take academic course work that is heavy in the science background, as well as athletic training courses. We also have clinical rotation experiences. For the most part, upperclassmen athletic training students are paired up with a certified athletic trainer and assigned to a Varsity Husker sports team. We are required to be at practice with the team or in one of our Athletic Medicine facilities at the Bob Devaney Center, North Stadium or a satellite facility (Pinnacle Bank Arena, Haymarket Park, etc). In these facilities, we are to observe and aid in the rehabilitation processes for injured athletes. We help facilitate their healing and learn in the process.

AT Students Blog Post 1

Sophomore Athletic Training Students, Annie Molek, Caitlin Nelson, and Erin Lynch during their 8-week clinical rotation. Caitlin and Erin also work in IPC when not completing clinical hours.

However, there is also a clinical rotation site that takes place in the Injury Prevention and Care Center at the Campus Rec Center on city campus. Fulfilling this clinical requirement is a bit different than being assigned with an athletic team.

1. Type of people treated. At IPC, we are treating injuries for the general university population rather than Husker athletes. This means that we see students, faculty, staff and sometimes youth patrons. In IPC, we see a variety of athletic ability–from patrons who have competed in athletic competitions and marathons to people who are just starting their journey with exercise and athletic endeavors. Due to the amount of people who use the Campus Rec Center and the varying abilities, this increases risk of injuries compared to varsity athletic teams with elite, trained athletes.

2. Presence of therapeutic modalities. Since UNL Athletic Medicine has a full-time physician overseeing the athletic training facilities, the certified athletic trainers are fortunate enough to provide almost any therapeutic modality that is needed to rehabilitate an athlete’s injury and reduce the risk of injuring it further. IPC relies heavily on the two most basic therapeutic modalities: heat and ice. We use these in the forms of ice bags, ice massage, and moist hot packs (which are available to anyone with an NCard for free). IPC is student fee funded (UPFF) so services can not be duplicated in two different entities on campus. If a student is in need of therapeutic modalities such as ultrasound, electric stimulation or rehabilitation for their injuries, they are referred to the University Health Center to utilize the physical therapy services. IPC tends to be more of an acute care facility.

Although we do not follow a specific Husker sport, we have the opportunity to learn skills listed in our required checkoffs, and even skills that aren’t listed. The certified athletic trainers on staff, Robin Bowman and Jen Krueger, make sure that we have more than enough time to not only learn these certain skill sets, but to practice and demonstrate them as well. Since we are treating students, we get a lot of hands-on experience in IPC when evaluating and treating an injury. For example, when using special tests to evaluate and help determine a specific injured area, Robin or Jen will explain what they are doing and why they are performing this specific test. More often than not, the student patron will even allow us to test the body part ourselves, so we are able to not only see but feel the differences.

I am currently in my seventh week in my IPC rotation and have learned substantially more than when observing four different sports last year. However, I was a freshmen last year, so everything was still shiny and new. In IPC, the opportunities we get to tape, perform first aid, stretch and evaluate injuries are seemingly endless. Not only do we get enough time to practice in these areas, we are also able to learn and try new techniques to find what we are most comfortable with. The variety of injuries that we are able to observe within a week is much more than what I was expecting when I first started my rotation. The variability of injuries we get in IPC is something other athletic training students may not have the opportunity to observe. The mixture of upper and lower body injuries helps prepare me not only for future rotations, but also something I will be able to reference in the future of my career.

IPC may not have varsity sports-related injuries and care, but helping the general population has a lot of perks. IPC is also a great learning environment with an incredibly positive atmosphere that makes each day enjoyable to report to for our observation hours.”

AT Student blog post 3

Sophomore Athletic Training Student, Annie Molek, practices her ankle taping skills.

UNL Campus Recreation’s Injury Prevention and Care Center is staffed with two certified athletic trainers, 23 student staff trained as first responders and athletic training observational students. IPC is open all hours of the Campus Recreation Center during the school year with the exception of some holiday and summer adjusted hours. IPC is FREE to all students, campus recreation members and patrons who have paid for a guest entry pass.

Services include:

  • injury evaluation and professional referral
  • heat and ice modalities
  • stretching
  • taping*
  • education services

If you have a question about an injury, please stop by and ask one of our staff members.

*We will tape one ankle for free.  After that, we ask that you provide your own tape that can be purchased at the Member Services Desk. We do not provide tape to cover piercings for participation in activities or for shin guards.

If you are interested in working in IPC, we offer an Athletic Training Basics class this January taught by one of our certified athletic trainers.


This ten-week course covers information needed to work in IPC, including first aid, measuring blood pressure, taping and wrapping, stretching, basic injury evaluation and much more. The course is $30 for UNL students and CREC members. After the completing the requirements involved with the class, you are eligible to sit for an interview for a position for the upcoming year. Find more information on sign up for the class here and search for athletic training.

Ouch! My Knee Hurts…Part 1.

PFPS-200x300A lot of people visit Injury Prevention and Care [IPC] with knee pain.  There are lots of types of injuries that can cause knee pain, but we often see one in particular: Patellar Femoral Pain Syndrome. Whether from excessive walking, running or cycling or weak muscles, several people just this past week have visited IPC with Patella Femoral Pain Syndrome. Patella Femoral Pain Syndrome is a catch-all term for Patella Misalignment, Anterior Knee Pain and Chrondromalacia Patella.

What is Patella Femoral Pain Syndrome [PFPS]?

Patella Femoral Pain Syndrome is an achy or sore pain in the knee that is often felt behind the knee cap or on the inferior part of the femur where the patella articulates or glides across while flexing (bending) your knee.

What causes PFPS?

  • Muscle imbalances and inflexibility
  • Misalignment of the Patella
  • Previous injury to the Patella
  • Improper seat height while cycling
  • Overuse injuries (aka Runner’s Knee)
  • Acute Trauma to the knee

What are the symptoms of PFPS?

Dull and achy pain is often felt at the front or medial part of the knee.  Pain is usually aggravated by walking up or down stairs as well as any bending, sitting or squatting motions for long periods of time.

How is PFPS Diagnosed?

Any time you have knee pain that has lingered for more than a week or two it is helpful to have it evaluated by a healthcare professional. Stop by IPC and have one of our Certified Athletic Trainers evaluate your knee or call your general practice or orthopedic physician to schedule an appointment. A healthcare professional should evaluate all aspects of your knee to make sure you are on the right path for healing.

Sometimes a physician will recommend x-rays, MRI or CT Scan imaging to be able to get a better picture of your knee and what could be causing the pain.

Prevention of PFPS

It is always better to take measures to prevent an injury from happening so here are a few tips.

  • Maintaining a healthy weight prevents added stress being put on the hips, knees and ankles.
  • Stretching before and after exercising to help keep muscles pliable and loose.
  • Wearing proper workout attire and replacing worn out equipment like worn out shoes.
  • Gradually increasing your exercise.  If your long term goal is to run a marathon start off with 1 mile, 5K, 10K, etc. and build your training so that your body can adapt to the demands being pressed upon it.  The same can be said for cycling. If you want to go on a long bike ride but have not ridden a bike in 15+ years, build up your mileage and make sure your bike is properly fitted for you.

Treatment of PFPS

SLRAs with any acute injury you always want to stop activity that is painful and treat using the RICE principle (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation). Often, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) like ibuprofen, aspirin or naproxen can help reduce pain and swelling to aid in healing as well.

After the acute phase or 2-3 days post-injury, there is a non-surgical conservative treatment and a surgical option. I always recommend the non-surgical option first, as it entails stretching and strengthening exercises that most people should be able to do with minimal or no pain. It is non-evasive and usually benefits not only the knee but other joints and muscles in the body.

mcconnel-tapingWhile in the process of strengthening your knee sometimes taping or bracing your knee can provide support so that you can continue working out or participating in activities that you enjoy.  Taping and bracing only are helping with the symptoms, so you definitely want to treat the underlying issue in the long run.

knee braceIf after attempting the non-surgical therapy for 4 weeks there is no improvement, I suggest following up with your physician to discuss other options available. A few surgical options include Arthroscopy to debride or shave off damaged cartilage from the back of the knee cap, Lateral Release to loosen the tight IT Band that is pulling the knee cap laterally out of alignment or Patella Re-alignment surgery. As with any surgery, there is some risk involved so discussing all the options with your physician is crucial.

If you would like more information about Patella Femoral Pain Syndrome or exercises to strengthen your muscles that support your knee joint please stop into IPC (its free!) to speak with one of our Certified Athletic Trainers or 23 student staff.

Better Health Through Massage

By Amber Fader, Licensed Massage Therapist at UNL Campus Recreation

face_massageMassage therapy enhances a person’s overall health and well-being. It gives our minds a chance to relax and our bodies a time to recover from the stress of exercise and daily wear. While a great choice for pampering, the benefits from Massage Therapy extend beyond a fun day at the spa. More than 50% of those who get massages each year, do so to alleviate soreness, stiffness or spasms, to relieve or manage stress, for prevention or to improve quality of life, injury recovery or rehabilitation, to keep fit or healthy/maintain wellness, or to control headaches or migraines. Massage Therapy at UNL Campus Rec can recommend the best type of massage for your needs, including Swedish, Deep Tissue, Neuromuscular Therapy, Reflexology, Pre-Natal and Cupping.

We’re celebrating Massage Therapy Awareness Week! (and that means free chair massages and discounted services!)

  •    Monday, October 20th  |  All Day  |  20% discount on any massage service received this day. Book your appointment online.
  •    Tuesday, October 21  |  11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.  |  Free Chair Massages at Fleming Fields Annex Building (FFAB) on East Campus
  •    Wednesday, October 22  |  6 p.m.–8 p.m.  |  Free Chair Massages at the Outdoor Adventure Center (OAC)
  •    Thursday, October 23  |  11 a.m.–1 p.m.  |  Cupping Massage Demonstration at the City Campus Recreation Center (CREC) Atrium.
  •    Thursday, October 23  |  7 p.m.–8 p.m.  |  Free Chair Massages at the City Campus Recreation Center (CREC) Atrium.
  •    Friday, October 24  |  11:45 a.m.–1:15 p.m.  |  Yoga on the Green and Chair Massages on the green space North of the Nebraska Union (in the event of inclement weather the event will be cancelled)

The UNL Massage Therapy Department has 5 Licensed Massage Therapists and is open Monday through Friday from 9am-8pm in the 230 Suite of the City Campus Recreation Center. For information about the different types of massage services offered please visit our website and stay tuned for future blogs. Appointments can be booked at the Member Services desk, by phone (402)-472-3467 or online.  UNL Massage Therapy is also available to teach Learn to Massage Sessions, as well as Chair Massage Events. Please call (402)-472-0738 to speak to a massage therapist.

If you’ve ever had a massage before, you know the benefits of fitting a little time to relax and soothe your aching muscles. However, here are some helpful tips if you have yet to enjoy one:

  1. Be as receptive and open to the massage process as possible.
  2. Don’t eat just before a massage session. Let your body digest your meal first.
  3. Be on time. If you arrive in a frenzied, rushed state, it may take longer to relax.
  4. Take off only as much clothing as you are comfortable removing. If you don’t want to remove your clothing, wear clothing that will be comfortable during the massage and will allow the massage therapist to touch and move the areas of your body you expect will need to be massaged.Privacy – The therapist will leave the room while you undress. A sheet or towel is provided for draping during the massage and the therapist will uncover only the part of your body being massaged, ensuring that modesty is respected at all times. After the massage is finished, you will be provided with privacy while dressing.
  5. Communicate with yourmassage therapist
    • Before the session, give accurate health information and let the massage therapist know your expectations and reasons for the massage.
    • Allergies to Oils, Lotions, Powders – The therapist may use oil, lotion or powders to reduce friction on your skin.  If you are allergic to any oils, lotions or powders, tell your massage therapist, who can choose a substitute.
    • Some people like to talk during a massage, while others remain silent. Tell your massage therapist what you prefer.
    • During the massage session, report any discomfort, whether it’s from the massage or due to any problems or distractions related to the environment, e.g., room temperature, music volume, lighting, etc.
    • Give feedback to the massage therapist during the massage on the amount of pressure, speed of hand movement, etc.  If anything happens that you dislike or seems improper, you have the right to ask the massage therapist to stop.  If necessary, you also have the right to end the session.
    • Don’t be afraid to discuss any apprehensions or concerns. It’s important that you be as comfortable as possible during your massage. Your massage therapist is a professional dedicated to do his or her best to help you feel at ease.
  6. Remember to breathe normally. Breathing helps facilitate relaxation. People often stop or limit their breathing when they feel anxious or a sensitive area is massaged.
  7. Relax your muscles and your mind. Tightening up by contracting or hardening your muscles during the massage is counterproductive. Let your massage therapist know this is happening. They may need to adjust the massage technique they use and may also be able to help you relax the affected area. If you find your thoughts are racing during the massage, one way to be more body-centered and to quiet your mind is to follow the hands of the massage therapist and focus on how the touch feels.
  8. Drink extra water after your massage.
  9. Don’t get up too quickly and do allow for some open, quiet time after your massage session. If you’re dizzy or light headed after the massage, do not get off the table too fast. It also may take a little time to integrate or absorb the results of the massage session.
  10. Be prepared to schedule several massage sessions. Massage has its greatest benefits over time. The therapeutic effects of massage are cumulative, so the more often you get a massage, the better you will feel and the more quickly your body will respond. From one session to the next, relaxation deepens as the chronic patterns of stress in the body are affected and released. If you’re getting massage to address chronic muscular tension or recovery from a soft tissue injury, more than one session is usually needed.

Runner Safety at Night: A Re-cap

By Christopher Dulak, Senior Assistant Director for Marketing & Communications & Frances Hayes, Marketing & Promotions Coordinat
Tips when Running at Night
  • Tell someone where you are running. Or leave a note with directions/drawing of your route.
  • Run smart. Never assume that drivers, cyclists, or other runners will see you.
  • Be alert. Recognize landmarks and be aware of your surroundings.
  • Carry ID or contact info.

In dark or dim light…

  • Wear bright fluorescent or reflective clothing and don’t forget your blinking lights.  Do all that you can to be seen by others.
  • Keep your head up and heighten your sense of sight. Even in the dark, train your eyes to scan far ahead and take in your environment.
  • Keep your ears alert. Forgo headphones or use only one earplug and keep the volume low. With the dark diminishing your sight, your ears are your best alert system.
  • Run along streets or public areas with overhead lights. Avoid dark areas of which you are not familiar.
  • Run against the flow of auto traffic. You are able to see the cars coming & react defensively, rather than them sneaking up behind you.
  • Be heard. Speak to others on the trail or street, so they really know you are there…remember that they may not see you.
  • Run with other people or your dog.  Four or more eyes/ears/arms/legs are always better than two.

If you are attacked or feel threatened…

  • Be confident. Run like you own the road and you are not allowing any obstacle to interrupt your run.
  • Be loud. Scream-to-wake-the-neighborhood loud. This will throw your attacker off while alerting others to come help.
  • Go for the groin. A swift kick or punch to your attacker’s groin/genitals will temporarily incapacitate him or her.
  • Call 911.


  • If you have a medical condition, carry your medication or medical id tag.
  • Consider a Road I.D band or similar for personal identification. Road I.D. also has an app for your phone that can show others your location on a run and alert them if you have not moved for more than 5 minutes.

Event Re-Cap

IMG_2914The Lincoln Running Company and UNL Campus Rec hosted a free “Safety for Runners Night” last night for more than 70 attendees, partly in response to some recent attacks on running trails in Lincoln. The event also coincided with the Lincoln Running Company’s Beginner’s Luck class, a beginner’s running class that meets for 12 weeks. Nathan Sports, and Spine and Sport Chiropractic sponsored the event. The event focused on runner safety at night, in regards to both moving vehicles and potential attacks.

IMG_2912Ann Ringlein with the Lincoln Running Company explained that a vehicle has to get within 15 feet of a runner wearing white clothing before they see them and can react. Ann is such an advocate of wearing lights while running that she gave each attendee of the class a free strobe light to use on his or her run.

IMG_2918Stacey Lewton, a Conservation Officer for Nebraska Game and Parks, works with Longoria’s Black Belt Academy in training fellow game wardens survival techniques. He said the same can apply to runners on the trails at night. The training mostly comes down to not ignoring your sixth sense and being conscious of your surroundings. He said we often have intuitions, like when someone approaches us square-on with their chin down and fists clenched. It’s best to act on these intuitions and choose a different route. Early on in their training, Stacey has his officers repeat details of their location and surroundings to get in the habit of being aware, especially in case they would need to relay the information to another officer (or in a runner’s case, 911 dispatch) later. Stacey also said there are two places you can always overpower someone, no matter how big they are or many weights they lift–the eyes and the groin. If you are attacked, he recommends going for those places.

IMG_2926Wendi Ground, a Lincoln Police Officer, spoke on techniques to reduce your risk when running at night, not just by attackers, but also by motorists. Blinking lights (and lots of them) allow motorists to see that you are a moving object, not just something they can drive around. Running with others or a dog will reduce the crime of opportunity–rarely are people attacked in groups. Wendi suggested bringing mace when running at night, but learn how to use it before heading out for your run.

Following the event, Ann gave away loads of runner safety items, including safety vests, pepper spray, numerous lights and other neat gear. She said she plans to host another similar event soon.

If you’re looking for more tips, check out this article on How to Avoid Getting Hit by a Car from Runner’s World.

Ice versus Heat for Injury Recovery

By Marisa Ruwe, IPC Student Worker

When an injury like a pulled muscle or sprained ligament occurs, it is common to be confused on how to use ice and heat to properly treat it. At Injury Prevention & Care at UNL Campus Recreation, we often get questions regarding when and how long to use each of these forms of treatment. Understanding how to use both ice and heat can incredibly helpful in speeding up your recovery.

When should I use ice and when should I use heat?

It ice bagis best to use ice immediately after the injury occurs. Ice will cause the blood vessels around the injury to constrict, or become smaller in diameter. This constriction slows bleeding in the area and helps to decrease swelling. Ice is also useful in pain management, as it numbs the area.

Typically, the initial inflammation and swelling will subside after two to three days. After this occurs, you can begin to apply heat, which will cause an increase in blood flow to the area. This increase in nutrient- and oxygen-rich blood aids in the healing process.

Heat can also be beneficial to those dealing with chronic pain, which is persistent and long-lasting. It is common to heat these types of injuries before exercise to stimulate blood flow in the area and to apply ice after the activity is complete to reduce inflammation.

Different methods of ice and heat?

An effective way to apply ice to an injury is using a plastic bag filled with ice chips. This method is safe to apply directly to the skin, as the ice will melt before causing any damage. Another option is using a chemical cold pack, such as a gel pack or an instant cold pack. Chemical cold packs reach a lower temperature than ice. This means that a barrier, such as a towel, should be placed in between the pack and the skin to prevent any burns or frost bite from occurring. Ice packs should be used for no longer than twenty minutes at a time, with at least forty minutes in between each use.

Another option is ice massage. This method involves rubbing ice over the injured area until it becomes numb. ice massageThis can be done by freezing water in a paper, Styrofoam, or specially made plastic cup. Ice massage should be applied for no longer than five to ten minutes at a time.

There are also several options for applying heat to an injury. Types of heat application are chemical heat packs, electric heating pads, and moist heat packs. Heat should be applied for fifteen minutes at a time. To prevent burns, it is important that the source of heat does not come into direct contact with the skin. Additionally, you should not lie on top of a heat pack, as this increases your risk of being burned. As a precaution, ice and heat should not be used by those with poor circulation or on areas of decreased sensation.

moist heat packWhat about Icy Hot or Biofreeze?

While Icy Hot may provide pain relief, it should be used for minor aches and pains rather than for acute injuries. Rather than treating the injury, Icy Hot works by distracting you from the pain by producing hot and cold sensations on your skin. Ice and heat packs are much more effective in injury recovery, as they actually affect blood flow to the area. (FYI: For your safety never apply Icy Hot or any other topical analgesic lotion before using any sort of heat modality as it can be very dangerous!)

Although everyone hopes never to get injured, it is important to know what to do in the event that it occurs. If used properly, ice and heat can be very helpful in returning to your normal level of activity.

Injury Prevention & Care offers both ice and heat services at no cost to Campus Recreation members.