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SportsCare Performance Institute (SPI) athletes, Dagmara Wozniak and Monica Aksamit return from the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro with Bronze medals in the Women’s saber team fencing event. While the media will show us opening and closing ceremonies, competition, and medal awards, what we don’t see is the countless hours of travel, training, and dedicated practice that leads to the podium.
The life of a fencer starts at an early age where they are introduced to their unilateral stance and select one of the three weapons: saber, epee, or foil. Each have specific target zones and a different approach to movement. While initially they may begin with classes and private lessons 2-3x per week, this soon becomes 4-5, and eventually 6 days a week. As they progress in age, many future Olympians seek out world renowned fencing clubs (many in New York City) to help them prepare for international competition during their high school years. While most students in other sports attend school and stay late for practice or games, fencers travel as far as Russia and China for international competitions, taking their school work on the road while travelling to their respective clubs after school during the week. During high school it is incredibly important to begin performance and injury prevention training for these athletes to decrease the likelihood of common injuries like cartilage defects, tendonitis, and muscle strains.
As competition levels increase and these athletes reach college and post-college competition their high frequency of training requires a specialized team of health and fitness professionals to keep them in shape and healthy through a virtually all year season. SPI’s Scott Gunter, ATC, CSCS, USA, FMSC, has trained over 100 fencers from the tristate area of all three weapons and our team of physical therapists, massage therapists and athletic trainers ensure all athletes are ready to compete using a combined approach of mobility and stability work with cutting edge strength and conditioning and research-based treatment modalities.
SportsCare congratulates Dagmara Wozniak and Monica Aksamit on their accomplishments over the past few years as we celebrate their Olympic bronze medals. Welcome home!