Personalized blood flow restriction training: A new method to rehabilitate injured athletes

Posted on March 6, 2015. Filed under: Blood Flow Restriction | Tags: , , |

Personalized Blood flow restriction (BFR) training is being evaluated by the Houston Texans NFL football team to rehabilitate their injured athletes, including their 2014 top draft pick Jadeveon Clowney and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick1. Personalized BFR training involves exercising while restricting arterial inflow into the muscle at an individual level, and while occluding venous return from the muscle using a pneumatic tourniquet cuff2. Studies have shown that such BFR therapy results in beneficial effects on skeletal and muscle form, and function3,4. Furthermore, studies have also shown that BFR training at low resistance can increase both muscle mass and strength, while reducing the risk of injury associated with the traditional muscle gain method of heavy resistance training3,4.

Personalized BFR training was first researched at the Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) to help wounded warriors recover from their injuries. The researchers at the BAMC have been using tourniquet systems from Delfi Medical Innovations to apply the personalized BFR training for each individual. They have observed an average increase of 50%-80% strength gains in as little as a few weeks5.

Since November 2014 when the BAMC researchers shared how their use of personalized BFR training helped wounded warriors return to health, personalized BFR training has garnered the attention of the professional sports realm1. The ability to minimize early muscular strength deficits while protecting healing tissues is of key interest to professional sport teams for rehabilitating their injured athletes1. After collaborating with the BAMC researchers, the Houston Texans’ head team physician began evaluating personalized BFR training on some of the team’s players using a tourniquet system from Delfi Medical Innovations. Several Houston Texans’ players currently undergoing personalized BFR training as part of their rehabilitation are saying they feel better and their legs are getting stronger1. The Texans’ medical staff observed that players undergoing personalized BFR training exhibit better muscle control and progress faster than they normally see1. As reported, other NFL teams are considering investigating personalized BFR training1.

[1] Bell, Stephania. “Houston Texans using BFR training.” ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures, 20 Feb 20 2015. Web. 20 Feb 2015. <http://m.espn.go.com/nfl/story?storyId=12352707&src=desktop&wjb&gt;

[2] Loenneke JP, Thiebaud RS, Abe T, Remben MG. “Blood flow restriction pressure recommendations: the hormesis hypothesis.” Med Hypothesis. 2014 May; 82(5): 623-6.

[3] Loenneke JP, Abe T, Wilson JM, Thiebaud RS, Fahs CA, Rossow LM, Bemben MG. “Blood flow restriction: an evidence based progressive model (Review).” Acta Physiologica Hungarica. 2012 Sep; 99(3): 235-250.

[4] Hylden C, Burns T, Stinner D, Owens J. “Blood flow restriction rehabilitation for extremity weakness: a case series.” JSOM. JSOM Online, 15 Jul 2014. Web. 20 Feb 2015. <https://www.jsomonline.org/Newsletter/140715.html#2&gt&gt;

[5] Bell, Stephania. “New method may benefit athletes.” ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures, 11 Nov 2014. Web. 20 Feb 2015. <http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/11858977/tourniquet-training-change-way-athletes-recover-injuries&gt;&gt;

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