Well, we’ve finally done it! In the last weekend of April, we launched our IMPACKD program for young athletes, introducing our 52-week injury prevention and family planning guide during the 125th Penn Relays in Philadelphia.
IMPACKD is a unique online program for families of student athletes interested in continuing to play their sport in college. The program has been a brainchild of mine for a long time. It took many years and a sudden realization before I walked down the path of creating and offering a full-fledged program for college-bound student athletes.
It started when I was talking with a parent who asked me what my passion in life was. Did I like to golf; did I like to fish; did I like running the marathon? What got me excited to get up in the morning? I remember telling him, “I don’t have any such passions in my life. If I have a passion, it’s my kids and their youth sports. As much time as I spend traveling around to practices and games, I, at least, should enjoy it.”
Not long afterward I stumbled upon my passion: my immersion in youth athletics coupled with the overwhelming number of traumatic and severe injuries our office was seeing in young people made me think about how I could help youth athletes maximize their opportunities to play their sport in college.
I quickly realized that the first thing we needed to do was make certain that athletes weren’t getting hurt. So I designed a functional evaluation that could be performed by parents or coaches to identify biomechanical weaknesses that lead to injury. Through the wonders of modern technology, we were able not only to identify weaknesses in individual athletes, but also we could provide online home exercises to correct these imbalances.
But we soon realized this wasn’t enough! What serious athletes needed was a week-to-week plan that would guide the athlete, the parent, and the coach through an entire 52-week cycle with specific focuses throughout the year. We broke it down so that athletes could divide their year among four phases:
- THE REST PHASE with an emphasis on recovery.
- THE REJUVENATION PHASE, focusing on skills work and strength training.
- THE TRAINING PHASE with an emphasis on excelling their performance and managing their time, and
- THE COMPETITIVE PHASE with an emphasis on the psychological and emotional parts of the sport.
After that, we realized we still hadn’t gone far enough. So we developed a parents guide to the recruiting process. Now, my work over the past 20 years with talented soccer, track, and basketball athletes, among others, is organized and presented as a unique prescription for athletes’ families to successfully navigate a very tenuous and daunting process. This process is hard enough for families without an athlete committed to sports, but is exceedingly complicated when compounded with the college athletic recruiting process. We make it easier to be strong, be seen, and be deliberate about the pursuit of a sports-driven college opportunity.
If you were wondering, IMPACKD stands for I’M a PARENT, ATHLETE, COACH, KID and DOCTOR. The roles represent all of the HATS a family must wear when managing a youth athlete’s lifestyle. This is the first guide of its kind to lay out a systematic approach to guide families through this exciting and rewarding journey.