In this article, sports & recreation expert, Dr. Laura Miele-Pascoe describes the role that pool therapy played in her journey to recovery after undergoing back surgery.

Healing in the Pool: A Journey to the Ring After Back Surgery

Source: Swimming World Magazine

Post-Surgery Realization

In December of 2003, I underwent spinal surgery to correct two herniated discs and remove scar tissue from a surgery ten years prior. Thirteen weeks later, I had to fight in the semifinal of the Golden Gloves boxing tournament in New York City.

I am a natural competitor. I have participated in many high level competitive sports including NCAA Division I basketball, semi-pro football, Golden Glove amateur boxing. My journey from under the scalpel into the ring was one of the hardest bells that I had to ever answer in my athletic career, and it was only possible by building a carefully-crafted pool rehabilitation and an aqua training circuit.

As with many athletes, being confined to bed rest after my spinal surgery was not easy. Almost immediately, I began working to maintain my arm strength as I recovered. Lying in a bed with a back brace, I began exercising by throwing hundreds of punches using five-pound hand weights.

While I was anxious to get back on my feet to train for my upcoming fight, I had a plan in place. I would endure three weeks of near-complete bed rest apart from some arm exercises to facilitate the healing process. I knew after forcing myself to allow for healing, I could rehab early and intensely.

After three weeks of healing, I began working myself back to my feet. Even though I was prepared for leg weakness after surgery and bed rest, I was still shocked by how quickly I had lost the strength in my legs. I knew the only way I could rehabilitate myself back to strength for the Golden Gloves match was in the pool.

Read the entire article at Swimming World Magazine


Featured Expert

Laura M. Miele-Pascoe, Ph.D.

Dr. Miele-Pascoe played Division I basketball at Arizona State; was Tight End for the Arizona Caliente, of the Women’s Professional Football League; and was also a New York Golden Gloves semi-finalist. She began coaching athletes in 1986 and has been involved as a personal exercise and fitness trainer since 1994.

Laura’s Doctorate is in Sport and Exercise Psychology, she also earned a Masters in Education, and her undergraduate degree is in Exercise Physiology and Physical Education. Laura is part of the adjunct faculty at Ohio University for the Sport and Recreation Pedagogical Department, and continues to provide personal training and consultation in a variety of training methods, sports, and psychological necessities.