July 16, 2018

Dr. Ken Puts Social Media Commenters In Their Place

Screenshot SportsCenter on Twitter

In response to a SportsCenter tweet last week that featured Bo Scarbrough squatting his way back to form post-surgery (with the aid of … ahem, a Legend Pro Half Cage, no less), Dr. Ken would like all the commenters throwing shade at his efforts to please remove their craniums from their rectums.

We sought his input on the discussion, and what we got back was a little unexpected:

SOCIAL MEDIA MAELSTROM, NOISE AMONG THE BOYS

By Dr. Ken Leistner

Being what many would refer to as “an old timer” and definitely and proudly characterized as “old school” I was very late coming to the use of computers. I have in the course of the past ten to fifteen years learned to effectively communicate via e mail which I consider to be a positive, apply some computer applications to my work which is another positive, and utilize word processing methodology as a very efficient typewriter when composing articles. I have never owned a cell phone and still rush to my extensive library for the research information I need for both strength training and football history articles. While the Internet has a lot of useable information, so do old books and magazines and it is a lot more enjoyable and often reliable to search the old fashioned way rather than utilize a search engine!

A serious negative about computer based interaction and the exchange of information is the undeniable fact that too many chuckleheads pose as experts, offer commentary as experts, and of course, overstate their qualifications to be viewed as experts. Social media has taken this to an unbearable level as one can state almost anything, embellish it with what appears to be redoubtable bona fides, and make it seem that a fifteen year old in East Jerkwater, Georgia with three months of actual weight training experience has the credibility of a forty year veteran of the strength and conditioning profession. As I have no idea how one gets to access the various Twitter, Facebook, and/or other well-known sites, it was brought to my attention that there was “some sort of social media war going on” and my name was invoked for comment among those discussing the matter “off the record.” As a favor I hesitantly viewed a video in question and a partial listing of the seemingly unending commentary. Oh boy and holy smoke, if ever there was a reason to avoid social media, this serves as an obvious example. Allow me please to comment on what was described to me as “a Sports Center tweet” from July 13, 2018 that can be found at:

https://twitter.com/sportscenter/status/1017752710773436417

The video shows a great looking LEGEND FITNESS power rack and a set, or partial set of barbell squats performed by football player Bo Scarbrough. My family is a football family, starting with Mom who at one time filmed the Purdue University defense from the scoreboard of Ross-Ade Stadium and then broke down the films for the position coaches. I have always said that she knows more football than the majority of current high school coaches. As a former high school coach with one son coaching in the National Football League for more than twenty-three years who was an exceptionally successful coordinator at the collegiate level, and another coaching at  Division 1 or FBS universities for over twenty, I believe we qualify as “a football family.” Thus I have kept an interest in high school, collegiate, and professional football and recalled Scarbrough as a highly recruited running back from Florida’s IMG Academy who had suffered numerous serious injuries to multiple joints. At the University of Alabama, he again proved to be prone to injury and had ACL related surgery and a broken fibula. To this young athlete’s credit, he has consistently battled back and done the weight room and rehabilitative work necessary to return to the field and play at a very credible level, certainly well enough to be drafted by the Dallas Cowboys.

The referred to social media posted video shows Scarbrough squatting with 405 pounds and the commentary is astounding regarding his lack of depth which presumably refers to legal powerlifting contest depth, how negligible the amount of weight is for a football player or man of his size, and all stated with ignorance. As a former competitive powerlifter who has trained numerous world and national champion powerlifters over a fifty year period of time, I advocate squatting through the fullest possible safe and pain free range of motion. “Safe and pain free” are the watchwords with any previously injured athlete. As a health care professional I would first ask which if any of the critics has access to this player’s complete medical and surgical records? Do any of the critics know the limitations or provisos placed upon Mr. Scarbrough by his surgeons, physical therapists, and/or orthopedists relative to squatting? Does previous injury and subsequent repair to his numerous and significant lower extremity injuries dictate a limitation of barbell squat weight and/or depth?

I obviously doubt that any of the comments come from professionals who can answer those questions and without that body of information, any and all comments are irrelevant, useless, meaningless, and a waste of time for both those commenting and those reading the many comments. Unfortunately, this is the world of social media which is why in so many cases, it is toxic, misleading, and of course, lacking in purpose.

For more information about Dr. Ken, go here.

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