We did a Q&A with the director of sports medicine for WTAMU.
West Texas A&M recently built a new state-of-the-art aquatic therapy room as part of their new athletic training center. The new facility includes a new SwimEx 600 T rehab pool and a large cold plunge pool.
We had the opportunity to speak with Luke Kasper, director of sports medicine for West Texas A&M about their new aquatic therapy room and how they are using their SwimEx pools for rehab success.
Q: Why did you choose the SwimEx pools?
A: I got my master’s degree in health promotion with a concentration in athletic training from the University of Alabama, and I had the chance to use their SwimEx 600 T. I saw great results from the 600 T at Alabama, so I recommended it for the new hydrotherapy room here at West Texas A&M.
Q: What specifically do you like about the SwimEx 600 T?
A: First of all, with the paddlewheel technology, the water flow across the whole pool is just better. I know there is always a nice, even pull. I don’t have to worry about finding the pockets of pressure created by jets or deal with the jets breaking.
Some of the other features, like the different colored zones, the angled running pad, and the different depths allow athletes to do step-ups and so many other exercises. Our student-athletes hold onto the bars or hook their feet on them for specific exercises. The pool is also great for lateral and plyometric movement.
I really like the observation windows. I can see what’s going on without having to get into the pool.
The different water depths also help since we are working with different student-athletes. We might be working with a female athlete who is 4′11″ or a male athlete who is 6′6″. I’ve seen other pools where you can only change the water level, but we don’t need to worry about that with the 600 T.
Q: How have you been using the pools for rehab success?
A: Right now, I have three football players coming off ACL surgery. One of our athletes is already looking great running on the treadmill – we eliminated his hitch within the first land treadmill run, thanks to the work he did in the pool. The doctors are impressed with his progress and range of motion.
We’re also working with an athlete who has a Jones fracture in his foot. And with football, AC and SC sprains are common and we can improve the ROM in the pool. We have a track runner with a navicular fracture and running on the angled running pad has worked really well.
We are working with a female athlete who likely has bilateral compartment syndrome and is awaiting further treatment. When she started in the pool she could only run for 3-4 minutes before pain set in. After 4 weeks getting in the pool twice a week she is running 10 -15 minutes before any symptoms appear.
Q: How often are your student-athletes using the pools?
A: The large cold plunge pool gets used every day, multiple times a day. With the IntelliChem system, it’s great not to have to worry about the chemicals. And it is great to not have to constantly change the pool water. We enforce a strict rule that all student-athletes have to shower before getting into the pools.
With the 600 T, I make sure that the football guys are using it a few times a week for conditioning. We have other student-athletes using the pool as well.
Q: How was the installation process?
A: Overall, the process was smooth and easy. I was surprised by the size of the pit – I didn’t expect it to be that big. Once everything was ready to go, the installer showed us everything, answered all of our questions, and walked us through how to use the touch screen.
Shortly after it was installed, the SwimEx team came out and offered some additional training so we could get more familiar with all of the pool’s features and capabilities. It was great to learn some new protocols. Some of the lower body exercises come naturally, but the training really helped us see how we could use the pool for upper body exercises as well.
Q: Did you suggest the great lighting in the aquatic therapy room?
A: I wish I could take credit for the cool lights. The team did a great job with those. These facilities are so important during the recruiting process. Now when recruits come in and see our state-of-the-art facility, they’re taking pictures of the aquatic therapy room. We’ve had our best recruiting year yet.
~ Authored by Kristine Chochrek
Hydrotherapy Room Design