Episode 1 | Welcome To The ACL Athlete Podcast with Ravi Patel

Show Notes:

In this Welcome Episode, I discuss:⁣

  • Why did I choose “The ACL Athlete Podcast”⁣
  • Why did I start this podcast⁣
  • Who’s this podcast for⁣
  • My goals for this podcast⁣
  • My background⁣

What’s up everyone, and thank you so much for tuning into the very first episode of the ACL Athlete Podcast. I’m excited to get this project off the ground. It has been an idea for quite some time now. And at the end of 2020, I figured why not? And let’s make the dive. Here I am learning podcasting, trying to figure out what to do with this mic and this screen, trying not to breathe heavy, which is a hard problem I have. 

Anyways, we’re gonna give this a shot. So this is the welcome episode for this podcast. And so my goal with this episode is to keep it short. I just wanted to outline the purpose of this podcast, who it’s for, the goals that I have for this podcast, just being able to provide value through this as a resource.

And so why did I choose the ACL Athlete Podcast? When I sat down to think about this, there were a few things that came to mind. In school, we are always taught never to describe someone by their injury, for example, the knee patient, the rotator cuff patient, or the spinal cord patient. We were never supposed to use the injury to describe the person.

I feel like ACL injuries are just very unique. And this is coming from someone who has injured his ACL twice. It’s not that the injury itself describes you as the person, but it does become a part of your identity. And I resonate with that. Anyone who is an athlete listening, or if you’re a PT or someone who’s worked with someone who’s injured, their ACL, you realize that it takes more than just a few weeks away from your life. It could potentially take away a career. For me, I thought that this was very important to recognize with this population. Then, why did I pick the athlete? And a big focus on that is I believe everyone is an athlete. 

 I recently read the book “Shoe Dog” at the beginning of the year. And it was incredible. Bill Bowerman, from the university of Oregon a co-founder of Nike is one of the most notable track coaches in the world. He believes that if you have a body you’re an athlete. And this is something that I really resonate with. And with all the patients that I work with and clients, I believe that they’re all athletes. This can go from the professional athlete who is trying to play in the NFL or NBA. This could be for the grandmother who is trying to compete in her triathlon. This can be the 12 year old who is trying to learn how to dance. Athlete is a very relative term. And it isn’t just this pocket of 1% of people. It’s actually everyone. And it’s relative to what you are trying to create as goals and what you want to do as a person.

And that is how the ACL Athlete came about. 

So why did I want to start this podcast? And it all starts with my own ACL injuries. I’ve had two myself that I’ll talk about in another episode, but this is where the passion had sparked. And when I was going through that process, I didn’t really know a lot. My parents who are immigrants did not know a lot. So we just blindly followed the process.

What I would like for more people to have, is a resource and education behind the decisions they have to make. As a physical therapist, this is something I see all the time. People end up getting pushed into a surgery, playing in a sports game or just not making the best decisions and not being equipped with the education that they need to make them. 

And we’re not getting better at ACL injuries. The statistic of 100,000 to 200,000 surgeries for ACL per year, is not even worldwide, so we know that there is way more than that in terms of ACL injuries, themselves.

And the rates continue to climb. We’re not getting better at this. The re-injury rates are significant as well. When you can say 20 to 30% of anyone who has injured, their ACL will go on to have another injury, that’s basically one in four people. That is something that I believe needs to change. The statistics are not in our favor and I hope that this can be something that brings more awareness to that, to things that we can do better and to things that we are currently doing well. 

I believe that our healthcare system in the US is not really set up to serve ACL athletes unless you are someone who has a special opportunity like professional or college athletes where the focus is on you to get better. If you are someone who is in your thirties or forties and just wants to go and play pick up soccer again or if you are a youth athlete who has torn your ACL, our system is not set up because of insurance.

And I truly believe that not every therapist is equipped to be able to handle this injury. It’s very unique. It’s not this cookie cutter approach. And every person is so different, which is why this injury itself is so complex. 

So these are the big components as to why I wanted to start this podcast as with many other reasons. But those are the biggest drivers for me. I hope that you, the listener are able to get a lot from this. My goal is to be able to keep this in bite size, short pieces whether that’s me talking, or guests and experts that are patients I’ve worked with or people who have gone through this process. I want to talk to parents who have dealt with their son or daughter dealing with this and see that from the outside of what their perspective is of watching their child go through this injury and recovery and trying to get back to sports. I want to bring on clinicians, whether that is a PT or an athletic trainer or surgeon, to be able to deep dive into a lot of these topics of what we can do better.

And maybe some of these experts will be able to provide advice of, a quad tendon is better than a hamstring tendon or, their position on why you should not do a certain exercise. These are all things that I want to be able to dive in. And finally, I’d like to bring on coaches as well. If you’re a sport athlete, making sure that the coach is involved in the process, we need to look at this whole spectrum of who we start with all the way to the end.

 Looking at this from the team approach, including all these people on this podcast, we’ll talk about anything and everything related to the subject of ACL: sports, being an athlete, the mindset, sports medicine, graph types, best ways for training the quadriceps. We’ll dive into all of this, but ultimately I want you as the listener to be able to know and have the education to be able to make a very well informed decision. I want you to leave feeling empowered and being able to know that there is something that you can do and that you don’t have to blindly walk like I did through my ACL process. I want this podcast to shed some light on some of the hard topics in this industry and in this area.

I want to be vulnerable. I want this to be very raw and very relatable for you as the listener. We’re gonna open up some hard conversations and topics. I hope to gain a lot from this as well as I hope you do too. So before we sign off, I wanted to tell you a little bit about me and my background.

I was born in Southeast Georgia and grew up in a small town called Folkston Georgia. For those of you that don’t know, it’s the Okefenokee swamp. And I grew up in a hotel, or excuse me, a motel all of my life with my brother and my parents. And it was the best childhood and upbringing that I could have ever asked for.

And I feel like that taught me a lot. I was a three sport athlete all through high school. I will talk more about my fat kid to becoming an athlete story more in the next episode, but that is where I grew up. That was my home base. The sports were my life. And then I went to the University of Georgia and did my undergraduate in Exercise Sport Science.

That was such a great school. I’m a huge UGA fan. Love the games, love the sports. After my four years there, I decided to do an internship with their strength conditioning program and so I worked with all their athletic sports. And that was a monumental experience for me. In the midst of that, I actually did tear my ACL, which played into why I took the internship, but it was a huge experience for me. It’s the reason that I am the coach that I am today and still have so much more to learn, but I owe it a lot to my mentors there who taught me so much. After that year of doing that internship, I did my Doctorate of Physical Therapy at Georgia State University, where I ended up doing ACL research. It was such a cool experience to be able to actually put data towards testing different athletes and patients whether they were immediately, post-op all the way to being anywhere from two to five years out. And I can’t wait to do an episode on that because it will be mind blowing to see the differences between the time that people are out, the care that they got the data that we collected on these different athletes, whether it was strength, biomechanics force, place, force, plate, data. All that stuff was really interesting to me so that continued to pique my interest in ACL. 

And then I decided to take a job here in Atlanta, where I worked with an awesome company and gained a lot of experience there, working with a variety of clients. I also got to work with a soccer club here in Atlanta that gave me this really cool experience of emergency medicine, as well as being able to work with athletes. The club started at four years old, all the way up to kids who were 18, 19 going on to play college ball. So that was a really fun experience– being able to implement sports medicine, injury prevention, type warmups, and also being able to work with the coaches to see what we could do together to be able to help their athletes at their best.

And now I have my own practice based here in Atlanta, impact health and performance. And the goal of impact is to work with athletes after ACL injuries. And we do that in a variety of ways, whether that’s in person training or remotely with athletes. The goal is to reach as many people as possible.

 Depending on where an athlete is, they may not have the in person resources to get good quality care. That’s where these remote options are so valuable. And I would argue almost as good as in person care. Let’s see what else. I am recently married to my lovely wife, Abigail, if you’re listening, I love you.

And I have an older brother and an incredible support system behind me that has allowed me to make this jump into working with athletes who are dealing with this injury. I cannot do this without them. They’re a big part of my life. 

Okay, so that’s it for now. I’m so excited to have you on this journey with me. If you want to keep up with the content, I will be putting out. Please feel free to hit that subscribe button. That’s it for now. Thanks for listening everyone.

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