Healthy Sports Arizona

The Healthy Sports “Spring Training Tour” is now in the midst of the Arizona swing.

A visit to the San Francisco Giants/Connecticut Defenders training camp reveals many former Defenders players now enjoying Major League status. Dan Ortmeier, Matt Cain and Travis Ishikawa are all currently in Major League camp and hoping to make it to the big league.

But the real story lies in the workout regimen of the coaches, trainers and instructors.

Their day begins at 5 a.m. in the workout room. This early hour is the only opportunity staff will have to complete their personal workout programs before a hectic day of staff meetings, instruction and games.

In an effort to keep up with my own workout schedule while on the road, the Giants afforded me the opportunity during my stay to join this early morning fraternity. Like most gyms, there is a wide variety of well-maintained equipment and a big screen TV (always tuned to ESPN). There are also many iPods in use. Discussion is centered on player performance, drills for the day, and upcoming games in the afternoon. A lot gets done during these sessions.

Many patients feel that the walking involved in their jobs is a sufficient workout. Coaches and staff are constantly walking, swinging, and throwing for eight hours over multiple fields, encompassing several acres, yet they still see the need to hit the aerobic machines and weights each morning. This is a model that many industries outside of sports are trying to replicate as a means to promote better health, lower health costs, and provide a sense of camaraderie.

A quick trip to Surprise, Ariz., the spring training home of the Kansas City Royals, presented an opportunity to meet with former Norwich Navigators manager and now first-year manager of the Royals, Trey Hillman. Sitting and reminiscing in his new office, it is apparent that the leadership skills he developed in Norwich and later in Japan are going to pay off big for Kansas City this year. It will be interesting to follow his success in the major leagues.

If you wish to learn more about the Healthy Sports tour, listen to the podcast or go to the blog at The William W. Backus Hospital or

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