Running for Life: Keeping Injured Runners In The Game

By Dawn Baker - bio | email
SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - All of us probably know of an athlete who has gotten hurt before. That injury can completely take them out of the game. Sometimes they are out of commission for weeks or even months, but there's something new that could be changing all of that. I'm talking about the Alter G, an anti- gravity treadmill developed by NASA. It is helping many injured athletes run right through their injuries.

Mertha Maddox has a torn hamstring. Even a year ago a hamstring tear would have sidelined her, but no more. Thanks to the Alter G, she's training as if she never suffered an injury. On that space age treadmill, she is able to run

a mile in just over 9 minutes- on track to run more than 6 miles per hour. Without this amazing invention, she says she would be grounded. "If I was constantly on the ground 3 or 4 days a week, the injury would not have time to rest and I would not be able to still run," explained Mertha Maddox.

This treadmill is one way athletes, like Mertha, are staying on track even when an injury should have sidelined them.

"We have had the capacity to help elite athletes who have been suffering from some kind of orthopedic problem or an overuse injury and get them to a point where they can train through an injury not over stress the tissue and never lose their cardiovascular fitness," explained the owner of Ledesma Sports Medicine, Ernest Ledesma.

"It was nice to be able to come somewhere and be able to run still and get the same amount of exercise I was doing before and not have that much pressure," added Mertha Maddox. That is crucial for this runner as she trains for her first full marathon. She is a serious competitor now, but she just started her journey 4 years ago when her friend, Asjudee Wynn, was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Devastated by the news, Mertha made a commitment to take better care of herself. While Asjudee went through chemo and radiation, Mertha was running to improve her own health.

"At the end when she got finished, we would do a run together. Unfortunately she did not survive and I did my run in memory of her," said Mertha Maddox. Mertha has been running ever since. With several races under her belt, she knows what a blessing this treadmill is to her training program. Without it, she would be falling behind schedule. No chance of that happening now. "I enjoy coming here 3 days a week getting my run in and being able to feel as if I am still accomplishing something."

Something big as she keeps her promise to her friend to live a healthier life. Mertha has big plans this year to take part in two triathlons and a full marathon. With the Alter G part of her training arsenal, there is no reason she shouldn't be able to reach her goals.

Tomorrow on The News at 6, a story you will have to see to believe. I will introduce a man who was not able to get out of a chair on his own or walk without someone helping him. In a few shorts months on the Alter G, he and so many others are walking again. It is really a miracle.

You can learn more about Ledesma Sports Medicine and the Alter G by checking out the Ledesma Sports Medicine Facebook page or call them 912.401.0443.

Ledesma Sports Medicine
340 Eisenhower Dr.
Bldg. 1400 Suite A
Savannah, GA 31406

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