Sports Science and Medicine Converge

Dr. Paul Saenz shares how the San Antonio Spurs have used Sports Science to help their Sports Medicine.

Complete the course work to earn Category A CEUs sponsored by Methodist Healthcare Sports Medicine of San Antonio –

Sports Science, Sports Medicine, dr. Paul Saenz

The Spurs have always been on a leading edge of performance have looked at best practices around the globe.

The sports medicine team consists of at least 10 positions with multiples at several of these positions.

ATs serve as the backbone and primary interface between the players and the medical team.

WHY monitor?

  • Direct Feedback
  • Injury prevention
  • Performance enhancements
  • Rehabilitation baselines

Key facets of Athletic Performance


Aerobic Capacity


Recovery – has replaced the word “rest” – its intentional

Psychological Wellness – they fill out these surveys onn a daily basis

What to Monitor with Sports Science

Games and Training – volumes and intensity

Player Strength and conditioning

Fatigue / Recovery

Player Availability ( injury incidence and prevalence)

Types of Loads

External – the physical load they have endured

  • Road cyclist – mean power output for given duration – 400 watts for 30 minutes

Internal – how have they responded physiologically

  • HR, RPE, Blood lactate, cortisol, testosterone, inflammatory biomarkers

External Load Monitoring

Time Motion analysis – GPS and digital video movement analysis

Accelerometer Data – 

  • Catapult system – GPS wearable system that monitors elapsed exercise time.

Neuromuscular function

The huge collection of data requires the skill to extrapolate and draw conclusions.

Internal Load Monitoring

RPE – Relative Perceived Exertion

Heart Rate Response



Adductor Squeeze

Dorsi-flexion lunge

Isometric lunge

RPE Scale

Self-determined assessment of exercise intensity

Correlates well with heart rate

Blood draws can be done during this time.

Cardio Recovery

Heart Rate Recovery – how quickly your heart rate returns to normal

Markers of fatigue vs fitness

Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test

Salivary Biomarkers

testosterone /Cortisol markers of stress and recovery

Anabolic vs Catabolic state

Adductor Squeeze

Done with a blood pressure cuff

Very well documented with European teams

Recovery Methods

Light cardio


Cryotherapy –  whole body cryotherapy

– reduces edema and positive effects on the autonomic system

Pulsed compression –  NormaTec type

  • Convenient for air travel or post-game

Aquatic Therapy – 



Measures ongoing hamstring health over the course of the season

Which Sports Science Tests to Choose?

Most relevant to your use

Practical implementation

Most reliable

Produce actionable intel

Key points to make it effective

Make sure your athletes understand

Make sure your coaches understand

Be consistent in implementation

Consider the data but make clinical decisions

What about electronic recovery units like Compex, MarcPro or Firefly

These are great options

Do not forget cold tubs or 


Stationary bikes

Group session in a pool

How do we apply the Sports Science data in our high schools?

Focus more on periodization of training.

COVID19 emphasizes the need for that.

The Yo-Yo test is simple and easily performed

Talking to your athletes individually

Contact Us:

Jeremy Jackson

Dr. Paul Saenzget a hold of Shawn Ready

Shawn Ready – @ShawnReady_ATC

Financial supporters that make the podcast possible.

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Donate and get some swag (like Patreon but for the school)

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MedBridge Education – Use “TheSMB” to save some, be entered in a drawing for a second year free, and support the podcast.

Marc Pro – Use “THESMB” to recover better.

Sports Science

Complete the course work to earn Category A CEUs sponsored by Methodist Healthcare Sports Medicine of San Antonio –

Ivan Pierra Best AT in LA Galaxy – 541

What Keeps Ivan Pierra going?

Get to know PSATS member Ivan Pierra

  • First AT with the LA Galaxy
  • 10+ years with LA
  • Director of Sports Science
  • Participated in 4 world cup games as an AT

So what keeps Ivan Pierra coming to work?

One of most ATs favorite parts is the relationships. Ivan is no different

Locker room talk and ribbing is part of the job. If I trip in front of everyone i expect the kids to tease me about it for the next few days.

If you do something really awesome they should know and give you a hard time about it…if that is the way you go about business.

His number one negative…

Time away from FAMILY

Sometimes he can bring family on the trips but as an AT for pro-soccer you do not have any real free time except bedtime.

So during those times where you are able to escape or steal away even a few hours to invest in your family do it.

How has PSATS grown?

PSATS was not even around when he started. he has seen it grow from ATs who would see each other only at games to a small group gathering to the huge growing success it is today

How can you contact Ivan?

Email Ivan

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