Nuggets Training Room (Health One)

Jim GillenJim Gillen
Head Athletic Trainer
Denver Nuggets

One of the top athletic trainers in the NBA, Jim Gillen is in his 15th season with the Nuggets. He is responsible for the treatment and rehabilitation of all injuries, in conjunction with the team’s medical staff.

Gillen was selected by his peers to serve as the head trainer for the Western Conference during the 2003 NBA All-Star Weekend. He previously served as an assistant trainer on the 1995 All-Star team.

In 2002, he was honored with the Joe O’Toole NBA Athletic Trainer of the Year Award and was an athletic trainer for USA Basketball at the 2002 World Championships in Indianapolis.

Gillen traveled across town in 1991 to join the Nuggets after serving as the assistant trainer for the Denver Broncos from ‘87-90. During his tenure with the Broncos, Gillen accompanied the team to three Super Bowls and the Broncos trainers were named the NFL’s Athletic Training Staff of the Year in ‘87.

He received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Fort Hays State in Kansas.


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Ankle Sprains
An ankle sprain is the most common injury suffered by players in the NBA, with more than 90 percent involving the lateral or outside part of the ankle. Sprains of this nature are referred to as an "inversion sprain", while injuries that affect the medial or inside portion of the ankle are referred to as "eversion sprains". A sprain occurs when a ligament that attaches the bones in the ankle and lower leg is stretched or torn. Most sprains are graded on a 1-to-3 scale, with a grade 1 being the most mild and grade 3 sprains often requiring surgical repair.

Preventing an Ankle Sprain
Applying athletic training tape to the ankle is one of the most common methods for helping prevent an ankle sprain. Studies have demonstrated that properly applied athletic training tape will not only provide additional support and protection to the joint, but will also offer an athlete with proprioceptive feedback. Athletic trainers will use a variety of "stirrups," "heel-locks," and "figure eights" when taping an ankle. There are also now available a variety of ankle braces that can be effective. Prevention also requires that an athlete strengthen his ankle and the musculature that assist the ankle joint. Proper shoes are also very important.

Rehabilitating an Ankle Sprain
The first priority when rehabilitating an ankle sprain is to minimize and eliminate any swelling caused by the injury, with ice, elevation of the ankle, and a compression wrap. Athletic trainers also have access to therapeutic modalities to assist them in the management of swelling and pain. There is little room in the ankle for excessive fluid, and the presence of any swelling will hinder the rehabilitation process by causing pain and limiting range of motion. The effects of gravity and the fact that the fluid tends to pool in the ankle often makes this process difficult. Once the swelling has minimized, it is important to restore adequate strength to the joint and supporting muscle groups. The athlete’s ability to balance on the injured leg and overall sense of coordination must be re-established as well.

Water:
The Most Important Ingredient?
Tips for Hydration During Sporting Events
by Stephanie Guy, Dietician, Rose Medical Center

Whether you are training for a marathon or just
out on a leisurely bike ride, one of the most
important things to remember is to HYDRATE. People
trying to get that "edge" in their athletic
performance are willing to spend money on all
types of different pills, supplements, bars, and
other items, but most of us tend to forget the
most important ingredient ... WATER.

This is an especially important topic to address
in the summer months, since the temperature consistently
reaches the 90s. Since dehydration can decrease
exercise performance, adequate fluid is necessary
for your health. It also enables you to perform
to the best of your ability.

How Important is Water?

Water is involved in almost every bodily process
in some way or another. Water aids in temperature
regulation and blood circulation. The average
adult loses 2 quarts (eight cups) of water a day.
An athlete (depending on the activity and length
of time) can loose that much in an hour of hard
exercise.

Athletes should be well hydrated not only during
an event, but also before and after the event
as well. Thirst is not a good indicator of how
well one is hydrated. By the time you are "thirsty"
you may be already dehydrated and this can influence
your athletic performance.

Before exercise

  • Make sure you are well-hydrated 24 hours before
    the event/training.
  • Avoid caffeine drinks. Caffeine is a diuretic
    and can cause you to urinate more frequently.

  • The American College of Sports Medicine recommends
    drinking 1½ to 2 ½ cups of fluid
    2-3 hours prior to exercise

During exercise

  • The goal is to try and obtain fluid balance.
    Usually, it is recommended to drink frequently
    (6-12 ounces), about every 15-20 minutes. (1)
  • Beverages containing carbohydrates are recommended
    for exercise events lasting longer than one hour.
    (1) These could include diluted juice or sports
    drinks. Avoid drinks that are too concentrated.
    They may cause cramping and slow the rate of absorption.
  • Generally, if the exercise is less than an hour,
    water should be adequate.

After exercise
Most of us fail to consume adequate fluids during
exercise. Thus, after the event we are probably
dehydrated to some extent.

  • In addition to water, it is usually recommended
    to take in some type of sodium. This is only needed
    after participating in a lengthy activity (greater
    than an hour). This is to replace the losses that
    occur when you sweat and help in the hydration
    process. This doesn't have to be a commercial
    sports drink. You can get sodium through a meal
    or by using condiments, such as ketchup or soy
    sauce. You don't need a lot of salt to replace
    losses (1)
  • One suggestion is to drink at least 16-24 ounces
    of fluid for every pound of body weight lost during
    exercise. (You will need a pre-event weight).
    (1)
  • You don't have to drink only water to meet your
    fluid needs. Popsicles, lemonade, juice, or oranges
    can also help hydrate you.

Special Considerations:

    Children:
    Children are susceptible to dehydration. Their
    thirst mechanism may not be as developed as ours,
    so make sure they drink, drink, and drink! If
    they urinate every two to four hours, they should
    be getting the appropriate amount of fluid. (2)
    Altitude:
    Certain factors that are associated with altitude
    can cause one to lose more fluid. (1)
    Humidity:
    Humid/hot climates can increase the risk of dehydration
    considerably. If the humidity is 100 percent,
    sweat isn't vaporized to help with the cooling
    process. Instead, it drips from the body. Therefore,
    you are losing fluid without the benefit of the
    "cooling down" process. (1)

NOTE: If you have any
questions about hydration and your health, please
consult your physician. Working together, you
and your physician are the best "team"
when it comes to what's "best" for your
specific questions and needs!