What is Long Run VB?

Volleyball for the long run -- a lifetime of fitness and enjoyment

Long Run VB is a journal of my efforts to help my children – and as many others who are interested – minimize their risk of suffering a life-altering injury playing a great sport.

Risk is inherent in any activity, and aches and pains are a reality of hard work and repetitive training. But considering the relative risk of injury that young female athletes face versus their male counterparts, it’s useful to ask some basic questions about how to protect ankles, knees, backs, and shoulders for the long run.

The cost of an ACL repair estimated at $17k-$25k – but that financial cost pales in comparison to the physical and mental costs that follow. Despite best efforts, many athletes never return to prior levels of performance following a torn ACL, and over the long term, athletes with an ACL injury are up to 10 times more likely to develop early-onset degenerative knee osteoarthritis associated with further pain and disability.

Clearly, prevention is the best strategy.

Is it possible to learn how to move more safely as a volleyball athlete? Good news – yes, it is. A recent meta-analysis reviewed five studies that demonstrated significant reductions in ACL injuries as a result of neuromuscular training programs emphasizing balance, flexibility, and core strength. This review estimated that training 89 athletes would prevent one ACL injury over the course of a competitive season.

Long Run VB is a compilation of thoughts, strategies, and specific exercise recommendations that we’ve been practicing at our house for the past two years. So far, so good.

While the original goal was learning how to move safely to minimize the risk of catastrophic injury, along the way I discovered a uniquely comprehensive and valuable guide to injury prevention and recovery in Kelly Starrett’s site MobilityWOD and book Becoming a Supple Leopard. As our experience with these techniques grew, they became a useful resource for our daughters and their teammates in managing the normal ailments that characterize an intense club volleyball season.

The goal of LRVB is to share these experiences with others in hopes that a great athletic experience becomes a foundation for a lifetime of health and activity.