Michigan Injuries and Mike Barwis

Submitted by Moleskyn on September 7th, 2010 at 3:32 PM

As I was watching the game on Saturday, I couldn't help but notice how it seemed a lot of our guys got dinged up (the ones I remember are Carvin, Jonas, and D-Rob, but it felt like more), and not a lot of their guys did (there was one toward the end of the game that I remember).

I'm not bashing Barwis at all with this, he's obviously done a terrific job of getting our guys in elite shape, but I remember him saying that a big part of his program is about injury prevention. Can these injuries be pegged on him? Or are they more attributable to the fact that injuries just happen as a result of bad luck/some guys being more prone to injury? Maybe someone with more time on their hands could put together a diary comparing injuries at various programs over the past few years to see if the Barwis Effect is helping us.



September 7th, 2010 at 3:36 PM ^

Training cannot turn you into gumby.  While "prehabbing" probably reduces your risk of some non-contact injuries, it can't help you when a dude slams into your thigh with a helmet at full spped, or when someone falls on you and your leg bends in the wrong direction.


September 7th, 2010 at 3:37 PM ^

Take a 300lb anything and run it into a 300lb anything at full human speed (what, 20mph?) and there's a hell of a lot of force/momentum in that collision. People get hurt playing football. Shit happens. 

In no way, shape, or form are a few dinged up players an S&C coach's fault

Todd Plate's n…

September 7th, 2010 at 3:39 PM ^

I think in Denard's case he will learn to pick his spots regarding when to take on a lot of contact or try and avoid it.  The play he got dinged up on, he left his feet.  I can recall a point later in the game when he went outside and basically hit the turf avoiding contact all together as it likely would have only added a yard or two to the run. 


Roundtree, well that clearly was not preventable. 

It's a legit question, that I do not know the answer to.  I do know he, as far as I understand with no spinal cord rehab experience, devised a plan to help Brock rehabilitate.  Also, Vincent Smith is looking 100% 10 months removed from a torn ACL.  I suspect if there is an effective way to maximize injury prevention, Barwis is in the know on that.


September 7th, 2010 at 3:42 PM ^

Sometimes young guys are more apt to get hurt because they don't have the muscle mass yet. Rountree got hurt because the dude waylayed him right in the midsection.


September 7th, 2010 at 3:45 PM ^

Sometimes you have to factor in the individual. Junior Hemingway came into camp a little heavier than the coaches wanted and according to Rich Rod himself had to play his way into better shape. Lo and behold, he misses the first game with a bad hammy. If he's catching a ride to the gym every day with Denard & Devin to wolfwrestle with Barwis, that particular injury is probably not happening. Chalk the rest up to 250 pound guys diving and falling on your legs and joints. There has never been an injury free football team and never will be. Maybe Mouton and Molk getting up after going down is already a product of the Barwis injury prevention program.  


September 7th, 2010 at 3:44 PM ^

I guess the first question I need to ask is whether you actually watched the game.  If you did live, I may understand.  If you watched it on a television and watched a 260 pound man lay on Carvin Johnson's knee, you probably would not have listed him.  Not sure what lift others, other than Barwis, teach to prevent that one. 

Also, not sure there is a dumbbell lift to protect a 190 pounder running at speed and colliding with a 230 pounder.  Do you know one?

Perhaps Roundtree should have been benching more and he wouldn't have gotten hurt either.

This question is ridiculous. 


September 7th, 2010 at 4:26 PM ^

Obviously football is a contact sport and injuries are going to happen and that, oftentimes, there's really nothing you can do to stop certain injuries from happening; I never denied that, so I don't understand the ridiculousness of the question. But since you seem so knowledgable about sports-related injuries, can you tell me how Barwis is able to say that his S/C program can help prevent injuries? I'm not saying that it can't, just that I don't understand how that works. Feel free to add your constructive insight.


September 7th, 2010 at 7:18 PM ^

a lot of core training. When you perform core training, you are building a lot of the stability muscles.  This is why he moved the team back to free weights.  By using dumbells and balls and such, you can build your stability muscles along with your main muscles. You can get big without this type of training, but then your muscle structure is not strong enough to support the large muscles, making you more susceptable to injury.  This is why a lot of athletes will do smaller weights than what you might expect compared to someone who just wants to go to the gym to get big and look good.  This is what he means. Unfortunately, it does nothing to protect someone from having a large O-lineman fall on them with their leg pointed in the wrong direction.


September 8th, 2010 at 12:27 AM ^

The prior training regime was an absolute joke. For a football player not to squat is ridiculous. Don't take this the wrong way, but MB is definitely not training these guys on stability balls with pink DBs. I don't know for a fact, but I would venture to say the majority of the core lifts are heavy compound movements (squat, bench, clean, etc). The "core" work you're speaking of is simply to supplement the main movements, like you said, to provide the stability to execute the main movements. Trying to squat anything substantial without a very strong "core" and proper motor control of the region is asking for trouble. This "core" work allows higher force transfer (hit a guy harder), as MB points out. Hope that clarifies somewhat.


September 7th, 2010 at 4:23 PM ^

There would only be a correlation to Barwis' training if the injuries were of the type that training would/could have prevented them.  Hammies, ankle sprains, muscle cramps, abdominal sprains - maybe (not always - some dudes just have weak ankles or tight hammies).  But the injuries that we suffered - a huge man laying down on Carvin Johnson's knee, another huge man moving at a high rate of speed into Roy Roundtree's midsection (causing him to puke blood later in the day) and Denard taking a helmet to the thigh - are not preventable, unless someone can figure out a way to train players to develop armor around their bodies (which, my the way, I would not put past Barwis). 


September 7th, 2010 at 4:31 PM ^

Some people seriously need to learn to address others with respect rather than arrogant disregard or insolence. Especially when addressing fellow Michigan fans bringing up discussion points. 

If you disagree with something, there are far more civil ways to express yourselves then what I see far too often on here.  That sort of junk is beneath you all as Michigan fans.

Suggestions might be to make a counter point with authority for your position, or perhaps poke good natured fun, or simply don't answer and go respond to some other thread.

 This is a great blog, but it turns to shit when we try to be vulgar versions of Simon from American Idol.


September 7th, 2010 at 5:06 PM ^

And tired of hearing guys spout off about training when they know nothing about the subject and have probably never put a bar on their back. The question is legit people. Enough of the Barwis nut swinging already. Before I get flamed, I personally have listened to him talk about his methods and they sound good, but that doesn't mean he can do no wrong. Here's my take: dings like Denard's are pretty unavoidable from a S&C standpoint, but when you have guys going down with pulled hammies and torn ACLs from cutting and no contact, you start to raise your eyebrow. Not saying Mike hasn't done a great job, but stop blindly thinking he's the BeSt eVeRrrr without having a clue!

And another one of my pet peaves: when people say, oh blah blah blah player packed on 20 pounds of muscle in the offseason... NO. Just, no. The rate at which the body synthesizes muscle tissue is nowhere near that rate, even in ideal situations. Most of that weight is either fat or glycogen retention. /rant


September 7th, 2010 at 5:21 PM ^

To be clear, I'm not making a point about Barwis one way or the other. I do think the world of him and wouldn't want anybody else as our S/C coach; I'm just asking if it's reasonable for him to say that his program can help prevent injuries, and if it is, if that has proven to be the case since he began working for Michigan.


September 7th, 2010 at 11:40 PM ^

First of all, calm down.  Second, did you apply for his job and get passed over?  I have no idea at what rate the body synthesizes muscle tissue, nor do I care, but I do know that the last thing I want is you "getting flamed" so I'll neg you and move on.


September 8th, 2010 at 12:19 AM ^

I'm a normal guy with a normal job, so to answer your question, no. However, I do take my own training seriously and have accumulated a lot of knowledge over the years from many reputable people/sources. Who's not calm? I'm simply stating that people should know what they're talking about before the speak as if it's fact. Like the posters that were saying the OP was an idiot for asking. Come on, really? I know we all love MB, but seriously, why can't some question him?


September 7th, 2010 at 11:52 PM ^

I'm by no means an expert, but I think players tearing an ACL has more to do with how the player's knee is structured naturally more than with S&C.  After my brother tore his ACL, the doctor told him he was surprised it hadn't happened already given they were already vulnerable (just given the way his ACL was structured).  The doctor also said people under the age of 22 who tear one ACL have a 75% chance to tear the other.  And what do ya know, that's exactly what happened with him.  I don't think there's a whole lot more you can do to prevent an ACL tear than what most teams/players/coaches already do.


September 8th, 2010 at 12:18 AM ^

Structural anatomy is sometimes difficult or impossible to overcome, as I know myself. I completely agree with your statement. However, where I was going with the ACL comment was if it starts showing a trend in players, then we have a S&C problem...follow my drift? I don't think we do, just to clarify, I was simply answering the OP's question.

So you're say Gittleson did everything that MB is doing to prevent injury (for example: ACL tears)? I think we can both agree that chance are MB knows far more in regard to pre-hab and biomechanics.


September 8th, 2010 at 12:22 AM ^

The doctor also said people under the age of 22 who tear one ACL have a 75% chance to tear the other.

That can't possibly be right.  Three out of four people who suffer an ACL injury under 22 tear the other? 

Are you sure he didn't say that they are 75% more likely to suffer a second ACL tear than someone else is to suffer his/her first?  That I could believe.


September 8th, 2010 at 12:31 AM ^

littly fishy to me, honestly. I've know a few people with torn ACLs and it's only happened to one. Take what doctors say with a fist full of salt. I've seen a few ortho's and wow, some of the crap I hear come out of their mouths....


September 8th, 2010 at 12:56 PM ^

I would imagine that's if they continue to play competitive, contact sports.  I would bet most people who tear an ACL usually tone down on their physical activity afterwards, unless of course they're a college or professional athlete.  I'm not saying it's 100% accurate, just what the doctor told my brother.


September 7th, 2010 at 5:07 PM ^

...got caught off guard with UConn's 4th down quick count and was unprepared for the contact and got caught out of position, I think. Bum luck.

Get well fast, Carvin. 


September 7th, 2010 at 5:55 PM ^

that conditioning can reduce injuries:

1)  If an athlete has great aerobic conditioning, and does not get tired, he is less likely to make the small miss-step or the slightly slow reaction that gets him hurt.

2)  Increased stretching and flexibility means body parts will stretch when put under stress instead of tearing or breaking.

3)  Increased muscle mass will protect bones, ligaments, and cartilage in joints.  For instance, increased muscles in the spine will protect the bones, disks, and ligaments from being over-stressed and tearing or breaking.  Likewise, increased muscle mass aroung the knee will help protect ligaments and cartilage from damage when stressed (as in a clip or cut block).  Same goes for shoulder muscles protecting from a separated shoulder, neck muscles from a stinger, etc. etc....

What Barwis says & does is correct.


September 7th, 2010 at 6:21 PM ^

This is the basic premise, simply stated. There is, however a lot more to it than that. One example of those things being to balance antagonist muscle groups and correct any deficiencies.


And thanks for all the negs. Grow up.


September 7th, 2010 at 10:06 PM ^

I don't get some posters on this board. I guess if I was trying to have a rational conversation about football injuries, I wouldn't use the line "Enough with the Barwis nut swinging." And then tell people to grow up. Keep it classy new guy.


September 7th, 2010 at 6:30 PM ^

Carvin is a true freshman so I don't think he has had to much time to bulk up. Roy's was just unlucky, and the rest didn't have any post-game problems so I don't see them as to much to worry about after the first game of the year, although it should always be worried about a little bit, but hey... It's football.