While many of us consider Minnesota Vikings Quarterback Brett Favre to be one of the greatest in history, 2011 has been a disappointment for many reasons. Favre should have never come back for his 21st NFL season.
Favre, regarded as the “Ironman of NFL quarterbacks” is capable of living up to the tough guy mantra, “no pain, no gain.” However, his tough guy act has now caught up to him. Due to previous injuries to his left ankle, Favre required surgery again in the off-season. Yet the problem wasn’t the surgery, but the rehab. Years of listening to his medical advisors and failing to adequately prepare his body physically in the off-season to meet the demands of the regular season may have contributed to this horrible season.
Let’s look at Favre from a biomechanics’ perspective. For starters, Favre’s left ankle acts as the first major joint in stabilizing his body for each and every pass attempt. Tough guys find ways to work around the pain and Favre has been doing just that. The human body is great at compensating around its own deficiencies but that stress still has to go somewhere. Suffering from an immobile ankle all season, it was only natural that Favre would struggle with accuracy and even begin to over use an already weak shoulder.
Historically, Favre has never been known for great throwing mechanics. (Tom Brady has the best mechanics of any NFL Quarterback— we’ll tell that story another day). Unfortunately, for Farve, those mechanics have gotten even worse this season. Why? You can’t build a $20 million dollar mansion on a $20 foundation.
With a shaky left ankle, a good athlete’s body finds a way to compensate for the injury and perform the necessary task. In Favre’s case, the task is: throw the ball. However, what then happens to the stress that should be in his ankle? The stress shifts to his throwing shoulder, causing an aging shoulder to absorb more than its appropriate share of the workload. If Favre’s body were healthy, that workload would be spread over his entire body.
Favre could probably play another 3-5 years because of his mental toughness. However, in order to do that he would have to take care of this body from head to toe. So, the next question is how should he do that? Here is my prescription:
MY PRESCRIPTION TO FIX BRETT FAVRE:
1) Fix the left ankle by increasing the mobility in each joint in his left foot. Increase the mobility of his left foot’s plantar fascia with golf ball rolls and massage therapy. Careful consideration should also be placed on joint mobility in the left ankle. This is best done by a manual therapy expert who digs in to break up all of the accumulated scar tissue from Farve’s previous surgeries.
2) Address the mobility issues that have developed over the past three seasons in Favre’s throwing shoulder. This means more manual therapy on the biceps and the front of his shoulder and chest muscles. Simultaneous to the mobility activity on the throwing arm, a qualified expert in performing exercises correctly needs to work with Favre to perform exercises for strengthening the posterior (back) side of his throwing arm and shoulder (triceps, posterior deltoid, and latissimus dorsi muscles on the right side.)
3) Finally, it would not hurt for Favre to build-up stronger muscles on his right leg from foot to hip.
These are just a few recommendations for the future NFL Hall of Fame quarterback. If Favre’s body felt better (a lot less aches and pains), we could be in for a wonderful summer season of our favorite NFL soap opera “Will he or won’t he.” Stay tuned.
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With over 18 years of experience in health, fitness, and sports performance improvement, Mr. Ziegler has helped some of the world’s best athletes find their groove in baseball, Olympic softball, basketball, football and many other sports. Learn more in About Zig Ziegler, Sports Kinesiologist.