In the wake of the Zika virus pandemic, many NFL players have turned to a new kind of treatment: respiratory therapists.
As a group, NFL players are required to undergo three weeks of intensive training to become certified respiratory therapists, or SPOTs.
The goal is to help players cope with their own breathing issues and help them to improve their overall health.
The NFL is partnering with the NFL Players Association, which is overseeing the SPOT program, to help with the certification process.
In this interview, SPOT trainer Michael Smith speaks with SI about his training and his expectations for players in SPOT.SPOT Training Programs, which began in 2013, have been used by players on the Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers, Baltimore Ravens, and Indianapolis Colts.SPOTT is designed to help athletes to cope with stress, improve their physical, mental, and emotional health, and improve their ability to function in the NFL.
“It’s a lot of fun.
You go out and do the work, you train for a month and then you come back,” said Smith.
“It’s really about the recovery process.
You come back, you try again, and that’s the way you go about your recovery.
It’s not a long process.
It gets done.
It doesn’t take too long.”
Smith is a certified respiratory therapist who has worked with the Indianapolis Colts, New York Giants, and Chicago Bears.
“I think it’s really helped me with my recovery and how to be more effective as a player,” said the 6-foot-3, 250-pound Smith.
“The way I’ve been doing it, it’s been like this.
I’m just getting more and more confident.
I can run better.
I have better balance and everything else.
I feel like I’m a lot more in control of my health.
I just feel like my body is better now.”SPOTs are offered through the NFLPA, and players are given their training sessions via Skype.
The trainers are given the option of using either video or live-caller calls to provide feedback on their physical and mental recovery.
The SPOT Program is being funded by the NFL, the NFL’s Players Association and NFL.com.
Players are also able to opt out of the program if they don’t feel they’re getting enough training, but that can happen depending on the player’s health status.
The NFLPA will provide financial assistance for any players who choose not to enroll in SPOTS, but the league has not yet provided details on how much the program will cost.
The number of SPOT players has increased by 20 percent in the past year, and Smith said that as many as 20 percent of players could enroll in the program.
The trainers who are part of SPOTS are trained in a number of different sports, including football, hockey, baseball, ice hockey, basketball, soccer, and basketball.SPOTS are also designed to be an effective tool for athletes who are dealing with other respiratory health issues, such as asthma, COPD, allergies, and other respiratory problems.
“We have trained with a number [of players] who are struggling with those respiratory issues and some who are managing those issues,” said SPOT Trainer Michael Smith.”[We are] really helping players with some of the issues that are going on with their health.
Some of the things that we’re doing is to keep them calm, to keep their airways open, to give them a little bit of breathing room.”
Smith said that during SPOT training, players are encouraged to do some stretching and light weight-bearing exercises.
They also are encouraged in some cases to go for a walk on the treadmill.
“A lot of the trainers are doing a lot,” Smith said.
“They’re going into the locker room, they’re just walking around and they’re working out the mechanics of the spiking exercises.
It really helps players with their overall respiratory health.”
Smith, who has been training SPOT clients for nearly two years, said that the SPOTS program has helped him tremendously during his time in the league.
“When you’ve been through a crisis, you don’t want to be on your back,” Smith explained.
“You want to do everything you can to help.
It makes you really, really focused.
I’ve definitely seen a difference.”