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Keeping Athletes in the Game

When an injury puts you on the sideline, the best way to get back in the game is to seek the help of a professional physical therapist who specializes in sports medicine.

For 24 years, John Tomberlin, PT, has been in the forefront of the latest trends and techniques in physical therapy, specializing in sports medicine. Tomberlin is the director of Clinical Therapies at Mercy Health Plaza , 5264 Council St. N.E.

Tomberlin, who has provided physical therapy to professional golfers on the PGA Tour and is a consultant for the Milwaukee Brewers, puts his wealth of expertise to work for Cedar Rapids area athletes. Most recently, he was instrumental in helping Mercy obtain the athletic training contract for the Cedar Rapids Metro high schools. In addition, Mercy's head trainer, Bill Grudzinski, ATC, provides athletic training services to the Mount Mercy College athletics program.

Tomberlin was hired in September 2006 to develop the Sports Medicine Services program for Mercy Medical Center.   "We are building a menu of programs to offer area athletes," he continues. "We will continue to evolve that menu by adding custom choices for parents and athletes.

"Our Sports Medicine Services program has a three-pronged approach. We offer athletic training at area high schools and colleges; we offer performance enhancement/injury prevention through our Acceleration program; and, we offer rehabilitation services for athletes who are injured or have undergone surgery," says Tomberlin.

Acceleration is a unique and innovative performance enhancement program designed to optimize an athlete's speed, agility and functional strength. A unique feature to Acceleration is Dartfish, a video software technology allowing athletes to see their sport specific performance improvement on video. Athletes and trainers are allowed a visual comparison of pre-training to post-training results.

Mercy Sports Medicine Services also is a sports education resource. For example, a presentation was given this spring for people who coach or train athletes with diabetes. Grudzinski coordinated the program, which was given by expert Carla Schulz, M.D. Similarly, Grudzinski is assisting Dr. Gordon Bastian in coordinating another spring seminar held at Mercy Medical Center,  this time for family practice medical residents, on the proper handling and treatment of football injuries. 

Tomberlin has lectured at sports medicine conferences throughout the country and Canada and has some big-name athletes on his resume, but he remains dedicated to serving the needs of athletes in our community.

"We believe Mercy can become an area leader in sports medicine," says Tomberlin. 

John obtained his physical therapy degree in 1983 from Mayo Clinic (USA). He completed his Masters of Manipulative Physiotherapy at the University of Queensland (Brisbane , Australia) in 1998. John has been a strength and conditioning specialist for athletes since 1986.