Frozen in Time, Cryotherapy Invades Sports

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Floyd Mayweather’s recovery in a Cryo-chamber (Courtesy Jonathan Gabbai)

LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and even the money man himself Floyd Mayweather all step inside the ice-cold chamber for recovery, in a process known as cryotherapy.

Rejuvenation

It is a form of therapy, and it is no different from any other form of recovery therapy, besides the fact the chamber reaches subzero temperatures. Reaching the low depths of minus 150 to minus 250 degrees Fahrenheit, its designed to improve the body’s recovery time for a plethora of issues.

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The inside of cryochamber appears no different than a padded platform

Samer Koujane who studied biomedical sciences said, “It’s main objective is to stimulate the body with cold air, and help increase the flow of blood to the parts of body that need it.”

The cryochamber allows the body to reach a colder temperature which helps with the improved recovery. Once out of the chamber the outside of the body begins to return to normal, while the inside core remains at a colder temperature. This prevents the skin from becoming damaged, while allowing the inside core to recover quicker due to the subzero climate.

Athletes

Lebron James has awed the basketball world with the physical shape he is in, given the fact he is 31 years old and instead of slowly declining he appears to be improving. He credits that to the frozen air involved in the process known as cryotherapy, documented here.

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LeBron James steps inside a cryochamber post practice

James is the headliner when it comes to the list of athletes using this form of treatment, but it is used by many others at the smaller level. The stars have just shined a light on a therapy treatment that has been used by athletes for years now.

Aaron Brown is a small independent gym owner, and an avid runner, that has used cryotherapy for a couple of years now.

“One ankle injury and a doctor’s visit later, I was going to that (cryolounge) place regularly. I didn’t know much about it at first…now I recommend it to all my clients,” Brown said.

“I’ve run marathons in the cold of New York and the dry heat of Las Vegas, and once I am done I find a cryolounge to recover,” Brown said.

The versatility of cryotherapy appeals to the big and small athlete that can’t dedicate hours on end to recovering the body after a workout.

Methods

For decades they have been using the reliable “ice bath” method, and now Cryotherapy gives athletes a better option when it comes to the body and its rehabilitation. Miles Plumlee a rising NBA player praised the practice.

“It’s different from a cold tub, because when you get out of it you are freezing for…20 to 30 minutes. I’m already warmed up.” Plumlee said when comparing the recovery times of the two therapies.

The quick nature in which cryotherapy is done, gives athletes the benefit of more time, something they are always looking for.

Cryotherapy itself has multiple ways for athletes to use it to recover. Most people have seen the videos of celebrities in the full body chamber, but there are additional options.

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The Panel on a CryoChamber showing the complexities of it

The potential users of cryotherapy have the option to use the well-known full body chamber, or have the therapy done on partial parts of the body. As demonstrated in the photo above, the gentleman is using “cryo-boots” on the lower part of his body. The multitude of methods available to use for the therapy make it appealing to the everyday athlete.

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Courtsey Kim at CryoSauna

“…Sports guys would come in and elect to do partial therapy all the time, its favorable when they all workout certain parts of the body,” Travis Jaboro said. Jaboro, who is the owner of Troy City Cryo-lounge, added “It’s such a simple process, I don’t know why not all athletes or fitness junkies do it”.

Forever Young

Athletes as a collective whole have defeated almost every obstacle that presents itself in the sporting world. The word “almost” still exists in that sentence because father time has never been defeated. Even the most decorated careers in the sporting world get cut short by an aging body. An athlete can’t play forever, but cryotherapy not only provides athletes with a better way to recover, it also helps extend careers.

“It might not take a 40 year-old and make him 20 again, but if you want preserve your body as long as possible, this therapy will do better than anything else can,” Koujane said.

For an athlete, the cool, dry air provided through the cryochamber serves as an age reducing agent. Through the rapid circulation of blood to the areas that need recovery, it allows a body to feel like it would when it was younger.

The Solution

Cryotherapy isn’t a magic pill that will make an athlete play forever, but it does represent opportunity. In a sports world where recovery methods are changing almost as fast as the players, cryotherapy provides an option that maximizes the careers of its athletes.

Superstar to Super Villain

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DeAndre Levy in street clothes is a sight many Lions fans don’t understand…

The Detroit Lions are at rare juncture in which there isn’t too much negativity surrounding their franchise. Winners of four of five games and a NFC NORTH championship on the radar, it is not a bad time to be a Lions fan. However, a small bit of controversy returned to the practice field this week in the form of DeAndre Levy. A player adored by fans for several years is having his character and priorities called into question.

Levy received a $33 million contract extension before the start of last season with the hope he would lead the Lions defense. That plan has not been going smoothly with Levy only playing in two out of a possible 25 games since receiving the extension.

CALM BEFORE THE STORM

Levy was taken by Detroit in the third round of the 2009 NFL Draft and worked his way up to the top of the depth chart over the course of five years. Following the departure of Stephen Tulloch, the fan favorite, Levy, was rewarded with that previously mentioned lucrative contract extension. The city was optimistic and the future was looking bright.

INJURIES

After the extension was signed in 2015 Levy got hurt in training camp before he could even play in a regular season game. He wound up missing the first four regular season games, and returned in week five to play the Arizona Cardinals and didn’t even make it through the first half. He re-injured his hip and never saw the field again in the 2015 season, after being shut down by Lions coach Jim Caldwell.

2016 was supposed to start the reign of Levy with almost a full year of rehab he was going to dominate opposing teams. Then Levy took the field in week one and surprise, surprise, he got hurt again…supposedly.

STORM

Levy went down in that opening game and has missed nine weeks since. He has not been at practice, on the sidelines at games, or even spoken to the media since the injury. He has simply been listed as “OUT” on the injury report, and all media speculation has been just that, speculation. His passion for the game has been called into question by fans, and he’s done more to hurt his case than help it.

During his absence from the field Levy has remained outspoken on issue of the NFL and its treatment of players. This is often voiced in pieces he writes for the Detroit Free Press, where he criticizes the league’s money hunger nature and them choosing money over the health of their players, among other topics.

Those comments didn’t sit that well with the Lions fan base, it was as if he no longer cared about the game. They were given nothing of any substance of Levy’s injury, and he was talking about anything and everything, except what they actually wanted to know. This led to hate comment after hate comment on every platform imaginable, from social media to local radio programs, fans were not holding back. The once adored player no longer held a special place in fans hearts, but instead filled it with anger and frustration.

REDEMPTION 

Hope may seem lost for Levy but if sports have proven anything it is fans can come back on a player’s side. It has been seen with likes of LeBron James and even here in Detroit with Ben Wallace.

Levy has started bridging that gap by returning to practice this week, and it appears he will play on Thanksgiving Day. This is all sounds great, but the fans skepticism will remain in place until they see the effort Levy puts forth on the field. And, until he can prove he is committed to playing this game and earning his lucrative contract, fan complaints have validity to them.