Mind Over Sports

Posts Tagged ‘Dr. Tommy Burnett

While watching the Chiefs-Patriots game on tv this evening I noticed an ad for Crown Royal and it reminded me of an interview I conducted with former NFL player Dr. Tommy Burnett. Dr. Burnett has spent more than 40 years as a professor at Missouri State University. He has a PhD in Sport Psychology and is also an expert in Sports Law and Risk Management. He told me that based on his experience and knowledge, he’s found that the consumption of alcohol interferes with an athlete’s oxygen supply making him or her more susceptible to injury. Here’s how it works: The consumption of alcohol interferes with the transportation of oxygen to the body’s muscle cells and is not being delivered to the ligaments and tendons. When the muscle fibers are deprived of oxygen, the athlete is more prone to injuries. This is pretty common knowledge among personal trainers who work on college and professional athletes but it’s a fact often hidden from public view since there is a close association of the marketing of alcoholic beverages (ala Crown Royal) and sports, especially professional sports. So when you read where an athlete is experiencing muscle and ligament problems, there’s a possibility that particular athlete is consuming a substantial amount of alcohol in his or her personal life.

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I had an opportunity to interview Dr. Tommy Burnett who spent 40 years as a professor at Missouri State University. Dr. Burnett has a PhD in Sport Psychology and is also an expert in Sports Law and Risk Management. He told me that based on his experience and knowledge, he’s found that the consumption of alcohol interferes with an athlete’s oxygen supply making him or her more susceptible to injury. Here’s how it works: The consumption of alcohol interferes with the transportation of oxygen to the body’s muscle cells and is not being delivered to the ligaments and tendons. When the muscle fibers are deprived of oxygen, the athlete is more prone to injuries. This is pretty common knowledge among personal trainers who work on college and professional athletes but it’s a fact often hidden from public view since there is a close association of the marketing of alcoholic beverages and sports, especially professional sports. So when you read where an athlete is experiencing muscle and ligament problems, there’s a high probability that particular athlete is also consuming a substantial amount of alcohol in his or her personal life.

I recently had an opportunity to interview Dr. Tommy Burnett who spent 40 years as a professor at Missouri State University. Dr. Burnett has a PhD in Sport Psychology and is also an expert in Sports Law and Risk Management. He told me that when athletes exercise, the oxygen goes to the muscles first. But alcohol interferes with the oxygen supply making an athlete susceptible to injury. The consumption of alcohol interferes with the transportation of oxygen to the body’s muscle cells and is not being delivered to the ligaments and tendons. When the muscle fibers are deprived of oxygen, the athlete is more prone to injuries. Especially joint injuries. This is pretty common knowledge among personal trainers who work on professional athletes but it’s a fact often hidden from public view since there is a close association of the marketing of alcoholic beverages and sports, especially professional sports. So when you read where an athlete is experiencing muscle and ligament problems, there’s a possibility that particular athlete is also consuming substantial amounts of alcohol in his or her personal life.

I live in Springfield, Missouri, where currently taking place is the 60th Annual National Collegiate Handball Championships Tournament with male and female athletes coming from schools all over the United States and even Ireland. As a former handball player myself, I had a special interest in watching some of the games. While visiting with some of the coaches I was amazed to learn how uninformed many of them were about visualization and were unaware of the importance of athletes ridding themselves of baggage and issues before competing. It kind of re-enforced my belief that some coaches today really don’t put much faith in the benefits of visualization. In fact, one head basketball coach at a Midwestern university, who was also a former assistant at a Big Ten University, told one of his players – who shared the information with me – that he thought visualization was “sissy stuff.” Boy, is he ever wrong! There were, however, two handball coaches who understood completely. One was Dr. Tommy Burnett, the current head coach for handball at Missouri State University here in Springfield, who I’ve known for many years and has had great success as MSU’s head coach, and the other was Dr. Warren K. Simpson (also known as “Spider”) who is the head coach at Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas. The reason “Spider” was so knowledgeable, I found out, was because he was not only a trained sport psychologist (as is Dr. Burnett) but also has a degree in counseling which allows him to delve into his athletes’ personal problems and issues before having them visualize. It’s really too bad more coaches aren’t better informed about the benefits of visualization and why it’s essential that athletes rid themselves (or begin the process of ridding themselves) of unresolved issues in their lives before initiating the visualization process. Those who practice this process are almost guaranteed to be more successful than those who don’t, assuming they have similar skill levels.


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