Interview with Mike Reinolds

To start our series of interviews with professionals from the international Physiotherapy and Physical Therapy community we contacted Mike Reinolds, Head Athletic Trainer to the Boston Red Sox baseball team, to ask him a few questions……

As a clinician, educator, and researcher, Mike is considered a leader in orthopedic and sports rehabilitation, with specific emphasis on the shoulder and the treatment of overhead athletes.  Mike is currently the Head Athletic Trainer of the Boston Red Sox and Coordinator of Rehabilitation Research & Education for the Sports Medicine Division of Massachusetts General Hospital.  Mike has lectured extensively throughout the nation and has published over 50 scientific journal articles and book chapters and is the author of the textbook, The Athlete’s Shoulder, 2nd Edition.  Mike’s contributions to sports medicine have earned recognition by groups such as the APTA, ESPN, Sports Illustrated, The Sporting News, Men’s Health, The Boston Globe, and the Boston Herald.

Tell me a little bit about the work that you are involved in at the moment?
It is currently my offseason from baseball.  The season is very consuming, so during the winter months I try to focus on some research and educational projects that tend to become less of a priority during the season.  I just finished my first online continuing education program, which spanned the last 2 months, and was pleased with the result.  And of course, I am spending as much time with my family as possible!

How did you get to the work position that you are in today?
Prior to working for the Red Sox, I worked at the American Sports Medicine Institute in Birmingham, Alabama.  They specialize in the care of baseball players and have noted orthopedist Dr. James Andrews.  It was an amazing experience and I was mentored by some of the best in our field which was great preparation for my current position.  I guess I was in the right place at the right time, as I am originally from Boston and was very interested in working with the Sox, luckily for me the feeling was mutual!

What are the most common injuries that you see?
By far shoulder and elbow injuries, with internal impingement, SLAP lesions, partial thickness cuff tears, and UCL injuries leading the way.  Of course, I work with the healthy and injured players and I actually see more issues with dealing with the day-to-day fatigue that occurs with such a gruelling schedule.  We have games 6-7 days a week for almost 8 months. (Ed – that’s a lot of games!!)

How intense is the rehabilitation programme that you subject your players to?
I guess it depends on what you consider intense.  Our programs are detailed and comprehensive.  If the player is injured and not playing, we do everything we can to get them back on the field ASAP.  Any time off the field is a loss of sometimes millions of dollars.  I am lucky that I get to rehab my players for several hours everyday, it is amazing how much more feedback you get from your patients and the results of your treatments,

Who else is in the Red Sox medical team and how does your role fit with them?
I am currently the Head Athletic Trainer and leader of my medical team, we have 3 other athletic trainers, another physical therapist, and strength and conditioning specialist, two massage therapists, and chiropractor, and several physicians.  That is just for our Major League team.  We also have several minor league teams that I oversee as well.  We have a very comprehensive medical team. (Ed – How we all wish we had a comprehensive medical team like yours working along side us too!)

What advice would you give to PT’s and Physio’s who are trying to get to the equivalent of your position within a sport?
The obvious are critical – work hard, set goals, and dream big are crucial.  But, I believe you need to put yourself in a position to succeed.  Seek out mentors, put in the extra effort, and work harder than everyone else.  If you do these things you will eventually progress.

You are obviously very engaged with the web world, how do you use it to support your practice?
I started my website, MikeReinold.com, as an outlet to educate.  When I started working with the Sox, my ability to travel and speak at conferences and seminars diminished, the website allows me to continue to contribute to my field and share my experiences.  It is fun to interact and to learn from my readers.  I am very humbled at the response and it continue to grow more than I imagined. (Ed – Mike’s website is a fantastic resource, you should all go and check it out.)

You obviously read and write a lot of research, what evidence that has been published in the last year has influenced your practice?
Too hard to define, I read several journals every month and keep tabs on what implications each article has on my practice, I try to write these implications on my website, so everything I post is basically a summary of what I am currently reading and how I am applying the information.

You have done a great job of delivering online continuing education, can you reflect on your experiences of delivering the webinars and online courses?
Both the live webinars and the multiple week continuing education programs have been great.  I feel that many people don’t have the resources – time, money, etc – to commit to typical CEU seminars and welcome the ability to learn at their own pace from home.  I know I learn well in this format and thought it would be great to try.  My first online continuing education program lasted 7 weeks and included presentations on the web, journal articles to read, videos to watch, and a discussion board with participants.  Each weeek we discussed a different topic.  It was a lot of fun to put together and to interact with the group.  We just finished and the response was great, I look forward to doing this again early next year.

Why are they called the Red Sox and do you have to wear red socks?
Ha, great question. My team is one of the first baseball teams and well over 100 years old, I bet they wore red socks back then and we still do!  I actually don’t, you cant see them under my slacks anyway!

What is your favourite flavour of ice cream?
I’ve always been a chocolate kind of guy, but I am never one to refuse ice cream based on the flavor. (Ed – hear hear!)

Thanks to Mike for such great responses to our questions.  He works in a very interesting and pressured area of our profession and is certainly are one to inspire any young PT’s and Physio’s aiming to work in the competitive world of sports medicine and rehabilitation.  To find out more about Mike, visit his educational website at www.MikeReinold.com

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