Brother and sister Tyhem and Sariah Conley share a passion for sports and the desire to be the best – but as they looked to make their mark at the next level, they faced different challenges.
Tyhem, who goes by Ty, had torn his ACL in a football game. As he prepared to play college ball, he needed to overcome pain and a tendency to overcompensate for the injury.
Sariah, heading into her freshman season on her high school basketball team, was having recurring ankle problems and tendonitis. The nagging pain undermined her motivation and focus.
Both found the help they needed in Regional One Health’s innovative Post-Rehab Wellness Program at the East Campus Center for Rehabilitative Medicine. Certified Personal Trainer Kenneth Robinson, program manager, created workouts that focus on Ty’s and Sariah’s individual goals.
“Physical training isn’t only about the training. It’s counseling, mentorship and coaching all in one,” Robinson said. “It’s easy for young athletes to get overwhelmed. My role is to work with them so they are physically and mentally prepared for training and for competition.”
The Post-Rehab Wellness Program does that by mixing physical therapy and personal training. Physical therapists help patients rehab from acute and chronic injuries and illnesses, then transfer them to Robinson so he can improve their strength and agility in a healthy, safe manner.
Ty entered the program to rehab from his ACL tear. “I worked with him to get his speed and agility and athletic ability back up to where it had been,” Robinson said. “Now, the pain he had in his knee is all but gone, and his confidence is back up.”
Robinson used strength, conditioning, speed, agility and skills drills with Ty. “He’s fast, but nobody had ever taught him the right way to run; he’s quick, but no one had worked with him on proper technique for a corner back,” he explained.
With Sariah, he focused on stamina and endurance. It helped her not only physically – the pain she had been experiencing is gone – but mentally, as her outlook and focus improved.
When Sariah started practice at school, Robinson adjusted her workouts accordingly: “I don’t want her to over-train, because that can result in injury,” he explained. “When athletes train nonstop all year long, they become prone to injury because they never give their body any rest.”
That is a cornerstone of what the Post-Rehab Wellness Program offers young athletes. Robinson, a former competitive athlete, understands how to teach skills and build ability in a way that is sustainable and healthy for bodies that are still growing.
For Ty and Sariah, it has worked wonders.
“Getting ready to go to college, I wanted to get bigger and stronger,” Ty said. “I had a lot of pain coming in, but working with Ken has strengthened my knee a lot. I knew I was going to come back bigger and better and stronger than ever, and he’s helped me get there.”
Sariah agreed. “I was having problems with my knees and ankles, and he helped me a lot with that,” she said. “My endurance got better. My attitude also got a lot better – he motivates me.”
They enjoy the drills he comes up with, even the ones that leave them on the floor trying to catch their breath.
Ty’s favorite is when Robinson sets up red, yellow and blue rings and calls out colors for Ty to hop to on one leg, enhancing his explosiveness.
Sariah’s favorite has her tied to a bungee cord to create resistance as she runs to pick up cones.
There are also sprint drills, bench presses, sit-ups, even the dreaded Burpees – but Ty and Sariah smile through it all. It’s an attitude that comes from within…and from their trainer.
“He’s a role model in terms of work ethic, so you know you have to come in with the attitude that you’re going to work hard,” Ty said. “Every time he works with us he pushes us to get better – no matter what, we know he’s on our side and he wants us to succeed.”