Video Blog: Dr. Jack Taunton talks sports medicine
The passion that I have for sports medicine has been there for a long time. As a young child, grade one, I had polio and I went through extensive rehabilitation. Then just as I was getting over that into junior high school, I got hit by a car and had a fractured dislocation of an ankle and I was in a cast for 32 weeks and went through a lot of rehabilitation. My friends were athletes. My friends were successful. I equated being an athlete and being successful as one and I was neither, so that I had a passion to get better, to thank the people that helped me and to be able to get into a running program, getting into a cycling program, a program that would allow me to catch up to my friends and get better than them.
My big passion was to make a major games which most people would laugh about. The question is in terms of the work with sports medicine and how much work does an athlete require. Sports medicine is now been recognized as a true specialty in sports medicine that's just been ... They've gone through a whole process. They've just now started to announce the ones in Canada that have now got this specialty and I was very, very lucky to get one of the early ones a month ago. What sports medicine is it's basically taking that science of human movement that you understand from kinesiology and then applying that to a diseased state. That diseased state may be arthritis, it may be an ankle sprain. It may be a spinal cord injury.
We need to be able to diagnose that. Most important, we have to know what we're dealing with, to diagnose it and utilize the most up to date, current, and we want to be up to date and current, that's why we do research, to be up to date and current and to give that athlete, young or old. It's got nothing to do with age, and it's got nothing to do with ability. Young or old to get them the best chance to recover and get back to doing the activity that they want to do. When you run 62 marathons, you get injured. Yes, you do. Particularly you have to look at somebody as old as myself. I mean I co-founded the Vancouver Marathon and started the first running club in Canada.
It was only 6 of us and we put on the first Vancouver Marathon and there was 32 of us, but all those 32 were hard core runners. Nowadays we have many, many more, obviously tens of hundreds more but are they any better than the group that I first started with? No, but the important thing is for the people that are now, they now are doing it much safer. They don't go through the same number of injuries that we went through because it was trial and error. We didn't know what a stress fracture. As soon as we know that somebody's got pain in their foot or pain in their hip and it hurts to hop on, you got a stress fracture until proven otherwise. Because if you continue to push, let's say you've got groin pain and you're continuing to push in your marathon training and it hurts to hop but the next day you get out and do it again.
That hip can break right through. You can lose the blood supply to it. You could end up having to have an artificial hip at the age of 20 which you would rather not have since the artificial hips only last 15 to 20 years. Prevention is everything that we're trying to do now is by looking at the strength, looking at flexibility and balance because all of those factors are so critical, particularly as you start to fatigue in whatever sport you're doing. We want to be able to prevent those injuries because some of those injuries can be very significant. Inflammation early on is important because it attracts the white cells which help the healing process. The problem becomes when you continue to aggravate it. You get more and more inflammation.
Now it's not just localized attracting these white cells to come and heal that small muscle injury, but it becomes a massive inflammation which can create ... People can get autoimmune conditions where you can get inflammation in other joints not related at all to the calf strain that you had. It prevents at a certain level the actual healing process to occur. You need some inflammation to attract cells, but then the cells have to be able to do their job, turn on the fibroblast, lay down the type one collagen and heal that tear. If it's all inflammatory cells, that's where the process stops and the healing stops. There are certain conditions. Tennis players get chronic tennis elbow because ll that inflammation there, it stimulates the laying down of what's called type 3 collagen.
It's weak, it's haphazard. It continues to re-tear. If you get rid of the inflammation, you stimulate that fibroblast to lay down type one collagen. You get strong collagen. It heals and we follow you up one, two, three years that 80 or 90% of those people are healed. We wanted to see whether we could enhance athletes, not aerobic capacity, could you run faster, run further but could we enhance your anaerobic power. These are power sports, so we selected 10 football players. Then we put them on 3 weeks of either the supplement or SierraSil. Then they were off 3 weeks to clear it out and then they got the opposite. We wanted to see because when you do an anaerobic work, you create anaerobic products which impair your performance.
Lactic acid, people would understand. What the actual mechanism of action of of SierraSil is, is it clears and removes information. It removes the lactic acid and then allows you to train that much harder. We train these athletes. These are top, top athletes. We wanted to see if sure could we do it with individuals that were neophytes but we wanted to take top athletes. We wanted to train them incredibly hard and to create one of the most painful exercise test called the Wingate test and to really stress them and could we improve their anaerobic power. Yes, we could. We improve their power 3% and people say, "Well 3%. That's not very much." Well, you take a look at our power sport, let's say it's a cyclist. In that sprint 3%, 3 seconds.
You look at Dawn is our coach for our national kayak and canoe team. He coaches world champion and he's got all these athletes. Boy, if they could get 3% on him, that would be a huge, huge difference.