Myles Wesley is a year younger than the kids he competes against as a member of Collierville High School’s football team. He’s shorter, too. And he’s battled injuries since he started playing the sport as a kid.
But giving up isn’t in Myles’ DNA.
Instead, he is pushing himself to get bigger, stronger, faster and more skilled, and he’s doing it with the help of Regional One Health’s innovative Post-Rehab Wellness Program at the East Campus Center for Rehabilitative Medicine.
“I’ve always been behind in football became of my age and height, and I’ve been hit by a lot of injuries,” said Myles, who just started his sophomore year at CHS at age 14, having skipped a grade previously. “I needed a way to get ahead of the pack.”
Enter Certified Personal Trainer Kenneth Robinson, whose Post-Rehab Wellness Program helps patients recover from and avoid injury by building strength and agility in a healthy, medically-sound environment. For Myles, “It’s been night and day. Before, I wasn’t getting playing time because other kids were better and I kept getting hurt. But now, I’m in a really good position.”
This season, he’ll play cornerback and slot receiver for the Dragons. “I’m looking to start, to play, to win…to be the best as an individual and as a team,” he said.
If that meant getting up early to work out during summer vacation, Myles isn’t complaining.
His sessions with Robinson started with a conversation: Where is he struggling? Where is he excelling? What feedback is he getting from coaches during practice? “If I feel my feet are moving too slow, we work on footwork. If I don’t feel strong enough, we lift weights. We work on the things I need to improve,” Myles said.
For Robinson, listening to clients helps him develop individualized workouts. “My goal isn’t to reinvent the wheel,” he explained. “We stay in line with what he’s already learning from his coaches. I try to enhance that rather than confuse it.”
Indeed, that’s where Robinson provides added value for student athletes. As a former college football player, competitive softball player and multi-sport coach, he can teach the technique, posture, balance, etc. specific to each sport and position.
With Myles, for example, he addresses quick reflexes and explosive speed by teaching proper running form and practicing sprint drills. Robinson helped Myles lower his 40-yard dash, a key barometer for football players, from 5.4 to 4.9 seconds.
The drills also helped achieve the other major goal of the Post-Rehab Wellness Program – injury recovery and prevention.
Myles has dealt with a broken wrist, a torn MCL, an ankle sprain and more. Robinson helped him not only with rehab, but “pre-hab,” through exercises like walking on the balls of his feet to strengthen the ligaments, tendons and muscles in his feet, ankles and calves.
“You can accomplish a lot in terms of injury prevention by teaching the right technique and building strength,” Robinson explained. “Bad technique can contribute to injury, and when your muscles aren’t strong enough, it doesn’t take as much for something to pop out of place.”
Myles has been injury-free since starting Post-Rehab Wellness, and that’s helping him keep his eye on the prize. His goal is to excel on the field and in the classroom at CHS so he can position himself to play football at a college of his choice and make a living in the game he loves.
“I love the competition, the grit and grind, the adrenaline, and that everyone out there has a story,” Myles said. “Football called my name, and even after all the injuries, I can’t give it up.”
With Robinson’s help, he hopes he never has to. “He’s a great coach. He’s very knowledgeable and motivating,” Myles said. “And he’s a good guy. He’s almost like a father figure to me.”