Battling Injury With Science

When you get sidelined by an injury, you try physical therapy, Pilates, swimming—anything that might get you back onstage ASAP. But when you return, something always seems a little different. Maybe that right knee doesn't feel as secure when you're jumping, or your left hip grips a little more during développé. It's hard not to wonder: Was there something else you should have been doing while you were out?

Sports scientist Patrick Rump is trying to change the way dancers approach injury prevention and recovery. His greatest success story? Alina Cojocaru. By recording every detail of Cojocaru's life after her back injury in 2008—what she ate for breakfast, how much weight she could lift, the angles of her legs when she took off for a jump—and creating a computer profile, he helped her return to the studio much faster than doctors predicted.

Much of the dance world is hesitant to welcome his method, which is based on the theory that a dancer's recovery must be approached as you would an athlete's, with training that is unconventional for ballet dancers, like weight lifting. Want to form your own opinion? There's a documentary, Dance, Sports Science and Patrick Rump, out about how he rehabilitates dancers. (It premiered at the Prix de Lausanne.) Read more in this CNN story.

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