SportsLab NYC: Professional Athletes Put Their Injuries in the Capable Hands of Dr. Keith Pyne


Diving into the training of elite athletes raises a slew of questions. How do they do it? Where does that intense motivation come from? What can I do to get on that level? The list goes on and on. But the arguably most important and maybe overlooked aspect of elite athletic training and maintenance stems from the physical obstacles athletes face – the injuries. How do elite athletes cope, rehab, and recover from the potentially career-altering injuries they risk facing every day? Cue: SportsLab-NYC.

Based in Manhattan, SportsLab-NYC treats injured and rehabbing professional athletes. Working with three to four patients per day, the world-renowned staff at SportsLab-NYC treats a broad range of injuries and has developed progressively specialized methods to rehab and treat them effectively. SportsLab-NYC employs physicians, therapists, and performance specialists at the premier-level of their respective fields, all of whom focus on speeding recovery, advancing strength, fine-tuning structure, and driving an edge in athletic performance. Because SportsLab-NYC is consistently developing new scientifically based treatment methods, their athletes often see unprecedented results. At the helm of the SportsLab-NYC staff is Dr. Keith Pyne.

Dr. Keith Pyne, managing partner of SportsLab-NYC, specializes in treating specific sports injuries within the world of professional sports. Dr. Pyne has treated over 1,100 professional athletes in his 22-year career, which began in both football and track & field at The University of Texas. From there, he moved on to working with the Jamaican, Canadian and U.S. professional track athletes and NHL players, continuing on later to work with the NFL. Over the past seven years, Dr. Pyne has expanded heavily into Major League Baseball, working out of SportsLab-NYC’s facilities in Manhattan. Dr. Pyne is often consulted as a second opinion for players at the elite level across the spectrum of major professional sports. Dr. Pyne serves on the Medical Advisory Board for Biosara Medical Products, focusing on the development of new wound care management.  He is also developing a new neurological model involving the individual perception of one’s own body structure and strength for performance and rehabilitation purposes.

Photo Credit: SportsLab-NYCDr. Pyne’s unique treatment methods concentrate on neuromuscular structural integration, or more simply, the interaction between the central nervous system and the muscles of the body. Using this highly focused technique, Dr. Pyne is able to resolve injuries and biomechanical discrepancies by addressing the problem in the body’s kinetic chain – the collection of systems that work together to create and facilitate human movement: the nervous system, the muscular system, and the skeletal system. With these focal points as a foundation, Dr. Pyne has created a unique neurological and biomechanical assessment process to restore function within the body of the elite athlete.

Dr. Pyne has created specific applications that result in accelerated recovery and permanent elimination of the underlying problems linked to athlete injuries. Unlike traditional methodologies and symptom-focused approaches that may provide only temporary relief, Dr. Pyne’s methods correct the actual pain source that often goes unrecognized and unaddressed. His treatment protocols have repeatedly accelerated his clients’ return to action.

Dr. Pyne’s initial work began in track & field at both the collegiate and Olympic level. This allowed him to examine elite athletes at high speeds, calling specific attention to numerous injury patterns based on an athlete’s ability to accept ground force and break inertia. Dr. Pyne observed that when these athletes were placed under high mechanical stress, the more structurally balanced subjects incurred fewer injuries. For example, if a 100-meter sprinter’s ground-contact point was incorrect or flawed, Dr. Pyne concluded that the possibility of spraining or straining the short head of the biceps femoris, a muscle in the back of the thigh, was inevitable. This is because the change in ground force dynamics causes the athlete to compromise both the reflexive component of the foot and the hip flexor complex, resulting in huge compensatory patterns elsewhere in the body and negatively affecting both performance and potential. As a result of this observation, Dr. Pyne helped develop a predictability model of injuries based solely on the mechanics and the stress applied during ground contact.

Beyond the track, Dr. Pyne moved into contact sports, such as football and hockey at both the collegiate and professional levels. Because of the high risk and frequency of head trauma in these contact sports, he began to see repetitive biomechanical patterns form. Looking heavily into a brain-based model, Dr. Pyne considered how cortical output resulting from head trauma could affect the sympathetic system within the spinal cord, thus altering the biomechanics of one side versus the other. These human body functions are based on the information sent down into the brainstem by the left and ride sides of the brain. This excitatory information is inhibited or filtered by the brainstem and sent to the sympathetic system. In essence, the brainstem is the filter for all of the brain’s authoritative orders and information. When the system goes haywire, the excitory information from a traumatic brain injury affects the way that the brainstem filters the information before it reaches the sympathetic system.  This causes a change in sympathetic markers, such as blood pressure, from one side to the other. For example, if an athlete has been concussed on the left side, this would cause elevated sympathetic changes, resulting in mechanical malfunctions such as anterior translation of the scapula and external rotation of the hip on the left side.

Such biomechanical changes caused by head trauma can result in a variety of potential injuries. With an injury like an anterior translated shoulder, the tendon-to-muscle ratio is altered, increasing the possibility of a supra-spinatus tear in the shoulder. Or in the pelvis, if the posterior muscles on the affected side are hypertonic below T6, the athlete may see potential injuries like an increase in herniated discs on that side, hamstring pulls, sports hernias, anterior labrum tears, posterior horn of the medial meniscus, shin splints, plantar fasciitis, etc. Dr. Pyne’s brain research helped explain how an athlete can develop symptoms on one leg but not the other. He has used this research to help rehabilitate his professional clients.

The most common injuries that Dr. Pyne sees among elite athletes are sport specific. With hockey players, for example, Dr. Pyne treats a lot of pelvic injuries – sports hernias, hip labrums and tight pelvic girdle. Across the board in football and because of the ground force, he treats a lot of knee and ankle injuries, as well as head trauma. For baseball players, the common injuries are based on position – shoulder and elbows are the main concerns for pitchers, whereas pelvic rotational issues arise in hitters.

Dr. Pyne has found that when the brain, the biomechanics, and the muscular system are in greater balance, the training output is much higher, thus maximizing the athlete’s performance. When comparing his work with elite athletes to the needs of everyday athletes, Dr. Pyne’s treats his patients the same. The key difference is that professional athletes are more likely to perform a specific movement repetitively and typically uni-directionally. For instance, in baseball, a right-handed hitter and a right-handed pitcher will likely experience the same repetitive neurological and biomechanical problems. An everyday athlete is less likely to rely so intently on one specific range of motion throughout their athletic endeavors, so the issues are more inconsistent.

Treating injured elite athletes is a field in which SportsLab-NYC excels. For these athletes, their physical ability is their livelihood. Understanding that, Dr. Pyne and the staff at SportsLab-NYC work to help these athletes achieve speedy recovery and reach peak physical potential by emphasizing the importance of always addressing issues at their source. The revolutionary methods of SportsLab-NYC are paving the way for the training and maintenance of elite athletes.


ATLX Expert: Dr. Keith Pyne
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