Creighton University: The Value of Aquatic Therapy
Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska is attended by about 9,000 students and known for its stellar alumni network, a 16-year streak as US News and World Report’s “Number 1 Midwestern University” ranking, and Doug McDermott (pro basketball player and NCAA leading scorer in 2014-15). It has a long-standing tradition of excellence and distinction, both academically and athletically.
Standing at the helm of Creighton’s athletic training efforts is 20-year veteran athletic trainer Ben McNair, ATC and Director of Athletic Medicine. McNair selected HydroWorx to be part of Creighton’s athletic training “toolkit” roughly five years ago, coinciding with the construction of The Championship Center in 2014.
“They came to us back then,” stated McNair, “and asked us what we wanted our new training room to look like. I’d been taking students occasionally off-site to receive aquatic therapy and I knew we needed water onsite in our new facility. We did our research and asked for the HydroWorx 2000 Series pool, Polar Plunge and Thermal Plunge as part of the new project. We’re now into our 5th year with the pools and it’s been great.”
Creighton University touts one of the nation’s 200 or so accredited physical therapy (PT) schools, a benefit to the athletes and trainers at Creighton. Innovative faculty of the physical therapy program collaborate with Creighton’s ATC staff to ensure top outcomes for the student-athletes
“We’re very fortunate to have a PT school on campus and it’s a great resource for us,” said McNair. “Particularly with longer-term and more complicated cases, we work with the PT staff to develop treatment plans. This benefits the student-athletes tremendously.”
Curtis Self, ATC and Bluejays’ Associate Athletic Trainer says the two HydroWorx “dip” pools and the 2000 Series pool make the aquatic room the most heavily trafficked area of the training room, being used heavily before, during and after practices. Athletes from all of Creighton’s 14 Division 1 Big East Conference sports use the pools. The athletes’ use of the pool is twofold: both as they rehab injuries and also as they condition, regularly utilizing the benefits of hydrostatic pressure, buoyancy, viscosity, and un-weighting in warm water.
“We use the pool a ton for recovery, preventative measures, and, of course, post-op,” stated Self. “Using the pool with its underwater treadmill and warm water reduces the wear and tear on athletes’ joints and helps them stay healthy longer. The underwater treadmill promotes normal gait patterns and the cameras capture and show in real-time any deficiencies we may need to address.”
Some athletes benefitting from the pool have a more non-descript injury, like joint swelling, with no related incident or trauma.
“We get these kids in the pool and they just walk. The hydrostatic pressure along with the resulting muscle activation help to get some of that swelling down. Clicking disappears. And sometimes all it takes is a 10-15 minute walk,” concluded Self.
However the three HydroWorx pools are used at Creighton—whether its rehab or recovery—we’re proud to be part of their robust effort to bring healing and longevity to their student-athletes.