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Erin Aldrich, 2000 Sydney U.S. Olympic Track and Field High Jumper -- Her Olympic Support Team Includes Rolfing®

Boulder, CO…2000 U.S. Olympic track and field high jumper, and two-sport All-American, Erin Aldrich uses Rolfing to get the competitive edge. At the U.S. Olympic trials, she turned around a severe ankle injury using Rolfing, soft tissue manipulation, and jumped 6'4" to make the team. Aldrich, ranked No. 1 in the United States, and ninth in the world leads the American women this year.

With the Olympic gold in her sights, Aldrich says, "I credit Rolfing for turning around a really bad injury -- my sprained ankle -- in time for me to jump at the U.S. Olympic trials. I saw my Rolfer, Brian Beard every week before the trails. I was scared I wasn't going to be able jump at all. He turned the ankle around. My Rolfer, got me back to 100% and I made the team."

"In the high jump, Erin probably has 6x her body weight on her left foot when she takes off," says Aldrich's University of Texas coach, John Rembao. "That's an extreme amount of weight. When her injury occurred, her toe hit first, instead of her heel, and her ankle spun around to the front and twisted. It was impressive that she could jump 6'4" and make the Olympic team, only two months after sustaining that severe an injury."

"Muscles can lock up to protect an injured area," says Rembao. "When Erin's ankle was injured we knew there were other issues at stake. The injury might effect her confidence to be aggressive in her jumps. Rolfing helped Erin's entire body stay as natural as possible. It kept her muscles functioning properly, not allowing them to lock up."

"Psychologically, Rolfing helps motivate me and that helps my performance," says Aldrich. "My Rolfer is so positive, he turned something so negative -- like the sprained ankle -- to the positive. He reassured me that it was going to be okay, explained why and I ended up dealing with it better."

Successful recovery from the injury allowed Aldrich to move on to the NCA championships and the Olympic trails. "My Rolfer is part of my support team right now to get me ready for the Olympic games," says Aldrich. "I also work with a sports psychologist, an active release therapist, a University of Texas trainer, and others. I am building a team with a select group of people who help me in all aspects of my jumping. I have to see how it works with someone for a while before I make a long-standing relationship with them, and make them part of my team."

"What is great about Rolfing (structural integration), is that it integrates the entire body, not just the specific area that's injured," says Rembao. "Rolfers understand body movement and the intricate interconnections of muscle, bone and tendons. Any injury at all effects the body as a whole. By making sure the body is functioning properly, one can increase performance."

"Erin has jumped 3/4" lower since her injury occurred, and it would have been worse if Brian hadn't worked on her and kept her going," says Rembao. "His understanding of the body allowed her to understand that the injury was going to be okay."

"Once the injury improved, the ankle was the least of her worries," says Rembao. "The Rolfing has released a lot of the pain and now we were dealing with confidence in her ability to be aggressive again. In time with no more pain in the ankle and a newly regained confidence, she was jumping high again."

Teaming up with a professional like Beard makes a difference in an athlete's day. "Rolfing helps me calm down and wind down from a hectic day," says Aldrich. "I'll go to practice one day completely wound up, try to jump high or have a hard running work out and the Rolfing relaxes me. My Rolfer, Brian Beard helps me unwind and reenergize. When I lay down on the table, it's my time of the day to just relax and let him do the work to get my body in place. I really feel the fascia release and the effect that has. It eases my mind going to my Rolfer. He is a personable and soothing kind of guy."

Rolfing helps athletes with chronic pain. "I have chronic tendonitis in my patella tendon from volleyball," says Aldrich. "My University of Texas trainer, Lagwn Durden sent me to Brian Beard for Rolfing because they had tried everything else within their realm. I had heard pretty good things about Rolfing from other people, so I tried it. I saw results -- my knee felt better -- after a few sessions so I kept going. I keep using Brian as a therapist and its working very well."

"I use Rolfing for injury prevention," says Aldrich. "My shin flared up the other day and is hurting me so I'll be asking my Rolfer to work on that as well as the chronic tendonitis. We have massage therapist that comes thru the university but I don't use a massage a whole lot."

"Right now my season is in full swing preparing for the Olympic games," says Aldrich. "When I go to my Rolfer, he works really hard to help me. It is nice to know he cares about his clients. Even in my off season I will keep going to him."
What is Rolfing structural integration? "The theory behind Rolfing is to break down the tight (connective) tissues of the muscles and at the same time realign the body into a more functional mode. If you get that function your pain will disappear," says Dr. Jim Mongomery, Olympic MD and Orthopedic surgeon at Dallas' Orthopedic Specialists. "A lot of the clients I refer to Rolfers no one else has been able to help."
Bio: Brian Beard, Certified Rolfer has a private practice at Academy of Oriental Medicine, in Austin Texas. He has worked with trainers and athletes at the University of Texas women's golf, track and field, basketball and volleyball teams.