Working in Professional Sports (with Brian Glotzbach)

Summary: Brian Glotzbach has been working with high-performance athletes and professional teams for three decades. Whitney talks with Brian about the unique facets of working as a massage therapist in this environment.

 

Whitney Lowe:

Welcome to The Thinking Practitioner. And welcome to The Thinking Practitioner, where the podcast is supported by ABMP, the Associated Body Work and Massage Professionals. ABMP membership gives professional practitioners like you a package, including individual liability insurance, free continuing education, and quick reference apps, online scheduling and payments with PocketSuite, and much more. ABMP’s CE Courses, Podcast and Massage and Bodywork Magazine always feature expert voices and new perspectives in the profession, including from Til and myself, Whitney. Thinking practitioner listeners can save on joining ABMP at abmp.com/thinking. Til is off this week, but I’m joined by my good friend and colleague, Brian Glotzbach from Atlanta. And Brian, welcome to The Thinking Practitioner podcast.

Brian Glotzbach:

Thanks. I’m glad to be here.

Whitney Lowe:

Right. Brian and I have known each other for going on probably three decades now or something like that. So we’re going to be diving into the world of massage and professional sports today where Brian’s been living for the last three decades or so. So Brian, tell us a little bit about your background and how you came to work in some of these environments.

Brian Glotzbach:

My undergraduate degree is in engineering, and I just started burning out, just wanted to change everything. And so I decided that regardless of which way I wanted to go, I needed a way to supplement my income. And I talked to a couple of people and they said, “Hey, why don’t you just go the massage route because you can set your own schedule, you work for yourself.” And when I was thinking about going back to school, that made sense to me, except I’d never had a massage. The only thing I knew about massage was when my wife would get out of hand, I’d give her some money and say, “Please, will you just go get a massage?”

Whitney Lowe:

If I remember correctly from your story, you told me too that, and tell me if this is right, like, you just sort of called up the massage school on a Friday and talked to somebody and then started school the next week or something, didn’t you? I mean, it was a really short turnaround, wasn’t it?

Brian Glotzbach:

That’s kind of been my story period. Yeah, I called the massage school on like a Wednesday and a class was starting the next Wednesday, a night program so that I didn’t have to quit my engineering job, and I just started going to school at night. And the night program was about a year long. So I went at night for about five months, maybe about three months, and I had just come back from a job in Washington DC and the guy that owned the company was nosing around in my office and saw my massage folder in one of my… He was looking for the information on the meetings I’d been to, and I came back the next Monday and he said, “Look, I was nosing around in your office and I saw your massage school stuff, so maybe this is just a good time for us to cut strings.”

So he fired me and because he was afraid that if I started this next job, I was the only one of the engineers that could have done the job. So it was the perfect time to cut strings. So I raced over to the massage school and ran into one of the administrators, and they put me in the day program. So I finished up, I had to go day and night.

Whitney Lowe:

I remember when you were doing that. Yeah. Yeah. That was pretty-

Brian Glotzbach:

Oh, yeah, that was crazy. I was going from 10 o’clock in the morning until 10:30 at night. But it all worked out because what happened there was I got out at the end of the day program, which was a shorter program. I think it was about six months or so, and you guys had the clinical program with you and Benny starting up that fall. And so the way I remember it, I know you’ll deny this, but the way I remember it is you guys already had all your crew for the teaching, and every time I ran into you, I’d go, “Hey, Whitney, hey, you need me in your program, going to be the perfect guy.”

And then it got to the point where you’d see me at the end of the hall and turn around and walk the other way going, “Here’s this crazy guy again. He’s not going to leave me alone.”

Whitney Lowe:

Right. Yeah, I do remember that. Yeah.

Brian Glotzbach:

That was a really, really cool piece in my evolution was being with you and Benny at the beginning of that program because it was kind of a landmark program. I really, really think that that clinical sports program that you guys set up in the early ’90s was amazing.

Whitney Lowe:

Yeah. It was certainly an interesting time of an incredible group of talented people coming together, including yourself, who did end up being on the teaching team doing this. It was certainly very powerful for all of us. Well, tell me again, I want our listeners to hear a little bit more about what you’ve been doing with your practice in the intervening couple of decades, because you’ve done some absolutely phenomenal things with this professional sports world in particular. So tell us a bit-

Brian Glotzbach:

Well, let me throw in one more little piece, and that is the fact that after I got out of massage school at pretty much your recommendation, you kind of pushed me a little bit, but I got in the athletic training graduate school program at Georgia State, which that was another big boost for me was to get a master’s in athletic training. And it just opened all the doors. I had an engineering understanding of structure, which I see in every single person I work with. And then I had this knowledge base of information about what actually happened in the training rooms in college and professional sports and about all the evaluation and rehabilitation of sports injury. And I kind of coupled that all together. But when I was in grad school, I saw all these holes in mainstream rehab model, and that revolved around a lack of attention to soft tissue, soft tissue work, soft tissue manipulation with massage type modality.

And it was at that point that everything just started coalescing in my head. I was gone. I was just completely absorbed in that world. And that led me to really wanting to work with pro athletes. And the thing about pro sports, college or pro sports is you really have to understand the hierarchy. You have to understand that in pro sports, and most colleges, the athletic trainers and occasionally PTs, they run the show. And so you have to play as a team player with them. I know I’ve talked to people that just walk in and they think that their massage, their ability, their massage expertise is all that they need, but what they need to do is they really need to let these people know that they’re not going to overstep their bounds, whatever that is. It could be just not talking to the athletes about the injuries that you see, the shortcomings that you see, but discuss it with the trainers before you actually discuss it with the athlete themselves, that when you’re working for a sports team, that’s the way you have to play it.

And the other thing I would say about sports is it’s very, very hard to get in from the outside. You got to come in from the inside. Somebody’s got to bring you in and introduce you to the coaches and tell the coaches they want you on staff. That’s how it’s most effective in getting in. So I remember when I got out of school, I sent resumes to all the Atlanta teams and it got me nowhere. And come to find out once I had been involved that most of the training rooms, when they get a letter with a resume in it, they throw it right in the garbage.

Whitney Lowe:

Yeah, I would imagine they get inundated with people wanting to be part of the organization. That’s probably why.

Brian Glotzbach:

The trainers say they get hundreds of them. So actually, my first connection to pro sports was in 1994, and I had tried all that stuff with resumes and all that. The experience that I had in ’96 with the Olympics helped. We were actually the first supervisors of actually on staff, on the medical staff for an Olympic Games in ’96 in Atlanta. Massage had never been an active part. It had always been done kind of outside the boundaries. And that was a very, very interesting time. I’d never do it again. The clinic was open for 18 hours and either Don or myself had to be in the clinic. One of us had to be there. So it was either a nine-hour shift or once a week we did 18-hour shifts. But it was a great experience and it was a lot of fun.

So in ’94, I got a call from one of the Atlanta Falcons players and he had gotten my name from a guy in Buffalo who I went to massage school with. And he’d been working with some of the Buffalo Bills. And this Falcons player, was talking to one of the Buffalo Bills players saying, “Man, I’m hurt and I can’t find anything in Atlanta.” And the Bills player said, “I got a great guy up here.” “Oh, wait a minute, he went to school in Atlanta. Let me see if he knows anybody.” So that was my first connection. I helped this guy and then he started introducing me to more of the Falcons players. And then when Dan Reeves came to Atlanta, he-

Whitney Lowe:

And Dan Reeves was the coach of the Falcons for people who didn’t know.

Brian Glotzbach:

Yeah, came to Atlanta to be the head coach of the Falcons. And that’s the one thing he changed was he added a massage piece to the sports medicine staff. And so these players took me down, introduced me to the coaches, and told the coaches they wanted me on staff. I’d just gotten out of grad school. So I really knew this was 1997. So I knew how to talk the talk and let them know that what we would do and how we would be team players and how we would seamlessly intermingle with their team of trainers and strength coaches. And that’s what they wanted to hear. And so that happened in ’97, and we were on staff with the Falcons for 19 years. We had that contract. Anytime there’s a coaching change or there’s a sports medicine staff change, your job is in peril.

But we made it through quite a few coaching changes. And then in the next year, in 1998, the assistant trainer for the Chicago Bulls through their six championships, Wally Blase, he came to Atlanta as the Atlanta Hawks new head trainer, and he called the Falcons and said, “Who do you guys use?” And they said, “Well, we got some people we’re really happy with, and you can use them if as long as you don’t step on our toes.” So the next thing we knew is in ’98, we were on staff with not just the Falcons, but with the Hawks. And we had that contract for 19 years also.

Whitney Lowe:

Yeah. Now, haven’t you been working with the Braves at this time as well?

Brian Glotzbach:

That was the next year. So in ’98 I worked with the Braves chaplain’s son and helped him. And so he introduced me to one of their three Hall of Fame pitchers. And that guy introduced me to one of the other ones. And those three guys went to the GM and said, “We want Brian on staff.” So in ’99. I was on staff with the Braves, and in ’99 we had the Falcons, the Hawks, and the Braves, which is just amazing.

Whitney Lowe:

So for those people who may not be familiar, so this is the Falcons professional football team, the Hawks basketball team in the Atlanta Braves professional baseball team. So you obviously had your hands very full with all seasons.

Brian Glotzbach:

I did, but boy, I was living my dream.

Whitney Lowe:

So how do you know, a lot of people want to get into this piece, and it certainly looks glamorous from the outside. And one of the things that you’ve mentioned, and another several other people that I’ve talked to that have worked in professional athletics have said this very same thing about it, it’s really important about the relationships that you have with these people. So are there any ways that you can develop those kinds of relationships or how do you meet the people who are going to be the movers and shakers that might be able to let you get in there? Any clues or suggestions about that for people?

Brian Glotzbach:

What I would say, probably one of the most important things that you can do is you have to be able to speak their language. Which means you have to understand injuries at a pretty high level. And one suggestion I would have there is I call it a five-year project. Take one condition a month and just do an internet search on that one condition and read every article you can get your hands on. Do as much research on that one condition as you can. And then at the end of a month, make a presentation to your spouse, a friend, just somebody else. Because I really believe if you can teach it to somebody, just 15 minutes, if you can teach it, you really do understand it. But if you took one condition a month by the end of one year you will be expert in 12 conditions.

And if you continued that on for five years, you’ll be an expert in 60 conditions. And if you are an expert in 60 conditions, you know as much as any orthopedist, you could sit down with any orthopedist in the world and probably have an intelligent conversation with them about all the main injuries you’re going to see in sports medicine. And five years may seem like a long time, but it goes by really quickly. And if you can sit down, and I did this, especially with the Hawks trainers, every time I would leave, I would stick my head in their office and they’d tell me to come on in, let’s sit down, and we’d talk philosophy, and we talked about various injuries that they were seeing, and they’d want my take on it. That’s how you establish it, but you’ve got to be able to speak their language. So I think the number one most important thing is start with taking your orthopedic assessment stuff.

I mean, that was the foundational classes for me. And when I got to grad school, here I am, I’m in the class with a couple of MDs, a bunch of PTs and a bunch of athletic trainers, and then here’s me engineering massage therapist. I mean, I was the bottom man on the totem pole, but they couldn’t get me out of there. I was a vacuum. So that’s the place I would start is I would start with your orthopedic assessment stuff and create a foundation and then break down each one of those conditions and just start with the ones in your book and just break those conditions down and until you feel like you’re an expert in it.

Whitney Lowe:

Yeah. Tell me a little bit about in terms of applications of the things that you do in treatment, how does your work, or does your work differ? For example, when you’re treating a very high performance level athlete versus somebody else who may have had a similar injury condition, whatever that is, ankle sprain or muscle strain or in the hamstrings or whatever, how does your treatment differ in working with a high level performance athlete?

Brian Glotzbach:

Well, I would say that it wouldn’t be a lot different than somebody else that came into my office that was hurt. I treat everybody the same way. That I’d be a more performance related with an athlete. But I think you need with the athletes to explain yourself in a really, really concise manner. I mean, it got to a point where athletes would tell, when they would refer somebody to me, they would tell the person that they referred, “Don’t tell him what’s wrong with you.

Go in there and ask him what’s wrong with you.” And it got to be a game with some of these guys because I would evaluate them and I’d say, “Okay, you’ve got some problems with your left knee. You’re slow turning to your right. You have problems pushing off your left big toe and…” I’m making this stuff up. But I would go through a litany of things that I saw that could be improved from a performance standpoint and then talk to, “Oh, and you’re having some tightness in your left hamstring,” without touching them. Just from an evaluation standpoint, I could see these things and that was a lot of fun for me.

But it was also a little creepy when it first got going because if I didn’t guess it right, I didn’t know whether these guys were coming back. But it comes down to just letting them know what you believe you can do to improve either their discomfort, but especially their performance and being able to tell them, “Oh, you’re a little slow moving this way or that way.” Or an offensive lineman, “You’re unbelievably strong, but you get bull rushed to death, don’t you?”

“How’d you know?” There’s just certain tells that over the years I have been able to let these people know that… And it’s just working with a lot of people. I’ve worked with, I could probably fill my office with four by six pictures of athletes and fill every square inch. I don’t believe in that though. I learned that from Benny, I think. And he would say, “Never ask for autographs. Never ask for tickets, and don’t ask for jerseys.” And I’ve pretty much lived by that. I have some jerseys, but they’re jerseys that guys have given me without me asking for anything. Never asked for tickets. Never asked-

Whitney Lowe:

I would imagine that’s one of the reasons why you’ve kept on for so long is because people have recognized that you’re not chasing the stardom with what so many other people are doing there, but you’re really genuinely concerned and caring about what they’re doing with their performance levels.

Brian Glotzbach:

I’m going to be 70 this year, believe it or not, and I still love my job. I get up every day and I love going to work, and I love the challenge, not just with the pro guys. In the clinic, I’m helping people. Most of the people that come to see me, they just jump on the table. They’ll come in if they’ve got a suit on, they take their belt off, empty their pockets and take their suit coat off, and they jump on the table. So I don’t use draping because they never take enough clothes off to ever get draped. The athletes will usually come in gym shorts and they don’t even take their shirts off. So I buy about a gallon of massage cream and it lasts me about, I don’t know, 5, 6, 7 years.

Whitney Lowe:

So you have obviously have a different way of working. You’re doing different types of work through clothing. Tell me a little bit about what that’s like and how that’s different for you.

Brian Glotzbach:

I think it’s a lot more comfortable for people. A woman that’s a little bit heavier than she wants to be is a little embarrassed sometimes to even come in gym shorts. And they’re very comfortable just jumping on the table. You can do almost the same stuff. You can’t do gliding stripping strokes unless you pull up their pants up to their knee and you want to work on one of their lower legs. But you can do just as effective hamstring and quad and hip work as you can do without actually touching the skin.

And obviously, I’ve been doing it like that since probably ’94. I finally decided this is what I want to do. I want to do specific injury work. I don’t want to do full body relaxing massage. I don’t want to do full body massage at all. There’s 2000 massage therapists in Atlanta probably, and they all, but a few of us do very specific work like that, specific injury work. So if you move towards that kind of work, you’re going to create separation between yourself and other therapists. And by creating separation, you create a new genre for what you’re doing in a roundabout way. You’re not creating a new genre, but you’re becoming an expert in whatever little piece of whatever you’re doing. And people are looking for that.

Whitney Lowe:

Yeah, right. Tell me a little bit, I think you told me when we were having a conversation recently, you said, I think cumulatively you’ve had something like 47 professional sports seasons or something like that, working with a wide variety of teams, which includes-

Brian Glotzbach:

Yeah, like 48. Yeah. We had-

Whitney Lowe:

Super Bowls and World Series and things like that.

Brian Glotzbach:

That’s-

Whitney Lowe:

Tell me, are there any kind of standout situations or things with particular client athletes that really were great learning experiences out of all those kinds of things for you?

Brian Glotzbach:

Oh, I think one of the premier ones was one of the ones that we had talked a number of weeks ago about microcurrent and the woman that kind of pioneered the whole technology. And a lot of the software, Carolyn McMakin in 1995, it was ’94 or ’95, I can’t remember, but one of the athletes that I’d been working with for years broke his fibula and had a high ankle sprain. And that was so bad that they had to surgically repair it. They put a plate and screws in and in his ankle. And when you have a high ankle sprain, you can tear the anterior tib fib ligament and even the posterior to some degree. And every time you push off, you dorsiflex the foot, which causes that ligament to retear. That’s why high ankle sprains are such a bad injury. You’d almost be better off breaking your leg than-

Whitney Lowe:

Just briefly, let me interrupt for a second. For people who may not be familiar, what Brian’s referring to, the high ankle sprain is a sprain of the distal tibial fibular ligaments and the syndesmosis at the distal end of that connection down there. So it’s not their usual leg ligaments in the ankle they get injured there, but those ones at the distal end of the tibia and fibula, so go ahead.

Brian Glotzbach:

But every time that dorsiflex the foot, when you push off in the gate, you retear it to some degree, and that’s why they have to put you in a boot and they totally immobilize you. And this guy, that’s why they had to put the plate and screws in, completely immobilize his leg. But we use microcurrent to heal the fibular fracture and then also to heal some of the tissues. And the learning experience was Carolyn was sitting right next to me and she’s running the microcurrent, and I had my hands on this guy’s ankle, and all of a sudden the tissue would just melt and I would say, “Oh, stop there, stop there.” And then I’d work for a while and then nothing would change. So I’d say, “Okay, you can play around.” So she’d fool around with frequencies again, and all of a sudden the quality of the tissue would change again, and I would tell her to stop.

And so we played this game and it was really fun for both of us. Well, this athlete, he hurt himself two weeks before the end of the season, and the team ended up being the NFC champions, so they were going to the Super Bowl. And so the Super Bowl was six weeks away from that point where he had hurt himself. And I just lived at his house for about four days a week, pretty much for those six weeks, and he ended up playing in the Superb Bowl, and he would’ve been the MVP if they had won. So that was an amazing… That kind of put me maybe a little bit on the map because I had athletes coming out of the woodworks from everywhere wanting to know who did that. And it was a lot of fun. It really opened my eyes to microcurrent. It opened my eyes to the possibilities that are available out there with all kinds of additional technologies that I don’t even know anything about right now.

Whitney Lowe:

Yeah. How would you say that a lot of times there’s the really a tremendous amount of pressure that many of these athletes and other professionals are under in these kind of work environments. So do you see yourself as part of what you’re doing, just also managing some challenging psychological situations with them when they get injured? Because for example, somebody gets injured and that could be the end of their career. It could be a absolutely devastating event for them where they’re going to get replaced on the team or something like that. So obviously there’s a lot of pressures for these individuals with managing those injuries other than just like, “Hey, I just messed up my ankle. I got to stay off of it for a while.”

Brian Glotzbach:

I would say, unless you’re a superstar, it’s next man up.

Whitney Lowe:

Yeah.

Brian Glotzbach:

And all the coaches, they all tell this story called the Wally Pipp story. Wally Pip got hit in the head, missed a game. Lou Gehrig took over and set the Iron Man in baseball, and Wally Pipp never got his job back. So coaches will tell that story to motivate players and players have to play through injuries, especially in football. You have to play hurt, and unless you’re an incredible athlete, the best of the best, those guys take time off because they don’t want any bad tape out there on themselves. You’d be surprised. Yeah, no, it’s a different world. You have to work with… You know what it’s like. You’re kind of a counselor because you got them for an hour or two hours. The guy that I’ve been traveling with for years now, I go in on Monday and on Friday, and I work on him for four hours on Monday and four hours on Friday for the entire course of the season, and it’s not just me.

He flies a chiropractor in Monday and Friday. He has a performance guy that does pool work, workouts, and stretches him. Recovery wise, just from the practice sessions, he gets IV cocktails on Monday and Friday, and he flies in various other people. He spends hundreds of thousands of dollars every year taking care of himself. But at the end of the season, almost the end of every season in those 12 years, he says, “I feel better now than I did going into the season because he’s getting all this work.” But I work on him for eight hours a week in two separate sessions.

Whitney Lowe:

Would you say, if you could encapsulate it down to maybe just a few things, what are the most impactful or significant things that come from the soft tissue manipulation work that you do from for them as, is it mostly pain management? Is it tissue elasticity enhancement? What do you think are the biggest, most significant things that you’re doing with soft tissue work?

Brian Glotzbach:

I would say structural alignment. I see the structure. That’s my engineering background. I mean, when a building settles in one corner, all the loads shift and certain portions of the building in certain columns and beams get overloaded. Same thing happens in the body. If there’s rotations in the hips, there’s rotation in the knees. Your ankles are, for lack of a better term, I just call them kind of unstable from where… They’re just kind of unstable. So what I do is I try to balance everything so that when I’m done with them, their body is balanced. I don’t see any I imbalances.

They may have a little bit of tightness here, a little bit of tightness there. When somebody strains a hamstring, the last thing I’m concerned with is the hamstring. It’s all about taking the stress off of the hamstring by realigning the hips and the knees and getting everything else in as perfect a shape as I can, so I can take the slack off of that hamstring. Then I’ll go deal with the hamstring. And I think that that’s a problem in sports medicine is that everybody wants to race to the problem. Oh, my low back hurts. The last thing I’m concerned with is your low back. I’m going to take all the stressors off of the low back. And then when I’m done with that and I feel satisfied that they are addressed, then what I’ll do is I’ll go back and work on the low back instead of, oh, your low back hurts. Okay, lay face down. Let’s work on your low back, or your hamstring hurts, so let me get in here. Oh, my Achilles is too tight. Okay, lay face down, let’s get after that calf.

Whitney Lowe:

Yeah.

Brian Glotzbach:

There’s a reason why that Achilles is too tight or that low back is too tight, or why you have a herniated disc. There’s some adverse compression on that disc. And so what I want to do is I want to relieve that if at all possible, in some cases it can’t be done, but to the best of my ability, I try to take those stressors away before I even think about getting to the symptom.

Whitney Lowe:

As an individual who’s always fascinated and obsessed with how we can improve education, the things that you’re talking about here seem so pertinent and relevant in a lot of different situations. But I recognize because you and I have talked about this numerous times over the years, that it’s really difficult to get that kind of vision you have, for example, a great opportunity in the background that you had of having an engineering background to be able to understand a lot of those kinds of forces and compression and tension and patterns and those kinds of the more structural issues that you mentioned. We don’t really have many training tracks in the sort of soft tissue manual therapy world to delve into that kind of stuff in grow greater detail. So just wondering, do you have any ideas how people go about learning more of that kind of stuff? Where can they get a better understanding of some of those kinds of concepts?

Brian Glotzbach:

I’d go back. I would still, I’d go back to that little five-year plan I had. You won’t just learn the injuries, but you’re going to learn, if you do it correctly, you’re going to learn how the orthopedist is going to treat it. You’re going to learn how, if you read these research papers about, say, a non-contact ACL sprain, then you’ll learn how they’re going to treat it in rehab. They’re going to walk you through everything that a physical therapist or an athletic trainer would look at in rehab and knowing that then you can walk your way through how you know they would treat it. Now, what are they missing? And it may sound complicated to go about it that way, and that opens the door for another issue that really bothers me with our profession. And I have addressed, at least in the Atlanta area, I’ve addressed it and we’ve talked about it too.

I’m always looking for cont ed that pushes me intellectually. And we don’t get credit for anything that any of the physical therapy, athletic training, medical continuing education things credits. And I really wish that if it’s good enough for a physical therapist and they let us into their program, it should be good enough for a massage therapist. And I know that they’re thinking, “Well, we don’t want you adjusting people.” No, absolutely not. You got to stay within the scope of our practice, but to push people to a different level, and I don’t know what the answer is there, but I really wish that they would open the door to some of those cont ed. I would be in cont ed all the time taking different pieces. But I have a hard time getting pushed with the information that our profession actually allows us to take and gives us credit for it. So what I have to do is I have to just go take it and not get credit for it.

Whitney Lowe:

Yeah. Well, you are one of a great model for people of the power of that inspirational motivation for learning. And again, we’ve talked about this numerous times of how impactful and important it is to be able to be motivated to find your best and your own learning experiences wherever they may come up, regardless of whether or not you may or may not get credit for doing some of these kinds of things, but that’s what really pushes you to the other end of the envelope. I mean, when you and I were hanging out together back in the early ’90s, this was in the pre-internet days, I was going over and hanging out at the Emory University Medical Library just to read stuff because that’s where it was. And-

Brian Glotzbach:

That’s the only place you could find it.

Whitney Lowe:

That’s the only place. Right. And those experiences were so valuable in constructing a perspective of the sky’s the limit of what you can really learn if you just want to open yourself to go into learning those kinds of things.

Brian Glotzbach:

You couldn’t have said that any better. And I think that’s where we get lost. I talked to a massage therapist not too long ago. One of the athletes sent me somebody and paid for her actually to come and see me, and she was on staff with a pro team, but she was intimidated by the athletic trainers, because she didn’t know anything about sports injury. And that’s kind of sad. I think that we don’t have the ability to, and first thing I suggested is go take Whitney’s class, learn orthopedic assessment because if you can do that, you’re at least going to have a foundation. And then do what I suggested, really dig into to injury conditions. To go back to that, just one quick little minute is you’re going to be tempted, if you do it, you’re going to be tempted to jump off before a month because you’re going to get bored. Don’t do it.

Whitney Lowe:

Yeah.

Brian Glotzbach:

Be an expert.

Whitney Lowe:

Yeah. Well, one of the quick thing I wanted to ask, because this is a question that comes up a lot, and especially in some of the more standardized kinds of sports massage training programs that we see around. I’m just curious to hear your take on it. What are the big differences or are there significant differences in terms of the way you would encourage people to work in a sort of pre-event, getting ready to help somebody right before an activity versus later on post event and the sort of recovery from activity levels?

Brian Glotzbach:

That’s the traditional sports massage mentality, I think is pre and post-event. I see none of that. From my perspective, the athletes don’t want same day work. Well, let me rephrase that. In baseball, you play 162 games in about 183 days. You get three days off a month. You don’t have time to let it go. I remember just one quick story. This guy came in at five o’clock for a 7:30 game and said, “If you can’t get my hip loose, I can’t play.” And I said, “We would really have to get after this hip.” And he goes, “I don’t care what you do, I want to play, so get after it.” Well, he ended up playing, even though I finished with him two hours before the game started, and the next day he came back in to get more work. And I said, “Well, you played.” He goes, “Yeah, but I was thinking about you the whole game.” So that became my mantra from then on out was, I don’t want you thinking about me during the game because you’re sore.

Whitney Lowe:

That’s right.

Brian Glotzbach:

But in baseball, that’s one sport where you get pre-game and they don’t get work after the game, but it’s their only way, they play 28 games a month. People don’t realize that about baseball is you play 28 games a month for six months. And in football, I go two days before the game, one day after. So the post stuff is usually 24 hours after the game, and it’s still get after it any problems. If they want flushing type work, they can get that from the therapist at the team, which is kind of sad that they’re not doing any structural work there. But that’s kind of where that goes.

But interestingly enough, the guys that I work on the day after the game don’t have any problems. Maybe they might have a bruise or they might something minor, but they actually feel pretty good and their muscle tissue feels incredibly good the day after the game. Now, Wednesday and Thursday practices in the NFL are long hard practices, and so they’re beat up on Friday, and you think it would be the other way around, but it’s not. Friday two days before the game is where those are the challenging sessions.

Whitney Lowe:

Yeah.

Brian Glotzbach:

So I don’t know whether that answered your question.

Whitney Lowe:

It does, yeah. I mean, I know that’s been kind of the sort of standardized discussion in a lot of the training about sports massage, and I have always felt that it was sort of using a little bit of an older model that didn’t seem as applicable under a lot of those kinds of circumstances. I was just curious to hear your take on that.

Brian Glotzbach:

From a structural standpoint, if they’ve got anything going on, I can do that and it’s relatively noninvasive and it’s not going to make them sore. So I could do that the morning of a game if I had to. But I know other therapists that have worked on people and do lots of flowing work, very, very flushing, flowing, light stripping and players have said that it makes their legs dead for a couple days. For a couple days, and they don’t like that. So every athlete’s going to be a little different, and so you’ve got to really look at and get to know whoever you’re working with. Now, if it’s the first time you’ve ever worked with them, you don’t have that opportunity. You just got to do whatever you do best and get it done.

They’re just normal people and they just want the best that you can do for them, and that’s the best you can do. Now, doesn’t mean that in a couple of years you can’t completely change your game by just working your butt off and really, really studying. If you want to be in the pro sports world, you’re not going to make a long career out of it by just doing flushing type deep tissue type stuff I don’t think. You got to get a little bit outside the box. The guys that I know that have been doing it for a long time, they’re all different.

I work very structurally. I’ve got another friend who’s been around sports for long, long time, probably longer than me. And he does everything from a brain and nervous system standpoint. He gets the body realigned by using the brain and nervous system. I don’t understand what he does, but he’s had very successful career and people love him. And then I’ve got another friend who, he looks at everything from a chemical standpoint. He does his work, but he works it together with getting the athletes to people that put together the right intravenous cocktails that their body needs. The doctors will run all the tests and they’ll get everything set up. And this guy, he’s like a chemist. So he approaches everything from a different standpoint. He’s unbelievably successful on the West Coast. So there’s so many different ways to get to the final end game that helps athletes, but you’ve just got to figure out what yours is.

Whitney Lowe:

Yeah. Where your unique gifts and contributions are for sure.

Brian Glotzbach:

And then really pile it on and learn.

Whitney Lowe:

Right. Yeah. Well that’s kind of a one good place for us to wrap up here. And one of the things I want to encourage everybody to really take away from this is just seeing how far you can take this. If you’re motivated to want to really push the envelope and learn a whole lot more and take yourself to those places, there’s a lot of places that you can go with it. And you’ve certainly been a great inspiration model, I think, for lots of folks to be able to do that kind of thing.

Brian Glotzbach:

Thank you. I appreciate that.

Whitney Lowe:

So Brian, if people want to find out more about you or possibly get in touch with you, how could they connect with you, the website for the clinic or contact information?

Brian Glotzbach:

The business is Body Mechanics, and we’re in Atlanta, Body Mechanics Sports Massage Therapy, and they can get to it through that. And if it’s something that they really need to talk to me about, they can run it through my office manager and she’ll leave me a note. I can’t return everybody’s call, but I can get back to some of them. Just leave a short introduction and just let me know what you need answers with and leave me an email address. Maybe I can get back to you via email. I could probably send you my email and you could post that.

Whitney Lowe:

Yeah, okay. We could put it in the show notes for sure.

Brian Glotzbach:

Yeah.

Whitney Lowe:

So if you’re okay with that, we can certainly do that. So yeah.

Brian Glotzbach:

Yeah, just be patient. I run a pretty crazy schedule. So it’s like a lot of the pro guys, they get all these letters from people and I say, “are you going to answer those?” And they say, “Yes, I may be retired, but I will answer them.”

Whitney Lowe:

Right. Well, if you’re talking about not having any plans for retirement anytime soon, then it may be a while for all this [inaudible 00:56:32].

Brian Glotzbach:

I still know what I do, and as long as I’m having fun, I’m going to keep working.

Whitney Lowe:

Yeah. Well, thank you so much for joining us here again today. Brian, this was just great to catch up with you and connect again. And again, you are just, I think, a wonderful inspiration for so many practitioners that might be looking for how do you push the envelope and how do you really push the limits of what you can do with massage? And this is just a great example that you’ve given to the profession for doing some great things. So-

Brian Glotzbach:

Yeah, if I had to say one thing, I would say learn how to speak their language. If you want to work with athletes, you have to be able to speak their language, you have to know a little bit about them. And if you want to be able to deal with the sports medicine world, you definitely have to be able to speak their language. So however you get that done, and the better you get it done, the more successful you be.

Whitney Lowe:

Yeah. Excellent. Well, thank you again and we’re going to close out here today just for keeping in mind, Books of Discovery has been a part of massage therapy education for over 20 years. And thousands of schools around the world teach with their textbooks, eTextbooks and digital resources. Books of Discovery likes to say, “Learning adventures start here.” And they see that same spirit here on the Thinking Practitioner Podcast and are proud to support our work knowing we share the mission to bring the massage and bodywork community and livening content that advances our profession. You can check out their collection of eTextbooks and digital learning resources for pathology, kinesiology, anatomy and physiology at booksofdiscovery.com, where Thinking Practitioner listeners can say 15% by entering thinking at checkout. So thank you all to all of you listeners who’ve hung out with us today, and also thank you to our sponsors. You can stop by our sites for the video, show notes, transcripts, and any extras.

You can find that over on my site at academyofclinicalmassage.com and over on Til’s site at advancedtrainings.com. If you have questions or comments, things you’d like to hear us talk about, just send us a short voice memo or send us an email. You can contact us through [email protected] or look for us on social media under my name Whitney Lowe, and also Til Luchau over on social as well. If you don’t mind too, we’d love to have you rate us on Apple Podcasts as it does help other people find the show and you can hear us on Spotify, Stitcher, Google podcast, or wherever else you happen to listen. Please do share the word and tell a friend, Brian, great, hang out with you again here today. Thanks so much for joining us on our conversation.

Brian Glotzbach:

You bet Whitney.

Whitney Lowe:

And we’ll talk again soon.

Brian Glotzbach:

Great. Bye.

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