February 2, 2016AllPro Sports Performance

Introduction: How I got where I am.

Alex Burtch

Hello everyone, my name is Alex Burtch. I am 24, working in Louisville, Kentucky as the director of ProRehab’s Sports Performance Program. We specialize in sports performance enhancement services for athletes, young and old. I am testing the waters, so to speak, of blog posting and first things first: you need to know my story. Who I am, why I do what I do, where my support comes from and the people I’ve surrounded myself with matter. Without further adieu…

I grew up in Elkhart, Indiana, just a couple miles outside of South Bend (where Notre Dame is). I was a multi-sport athlete as a kid, playing just about everything from little league baseball to pewee football to tennis with my grandma (she let me win, occasionally).

However, I stuck with soccer and swimming as I aged, eventually dropping soccer by the time I was in high school. I enjoyed success as a swimmer and found myself recruited by a number of different Division 1 schools my junior year. I selected the University of Louisville to attend. What a great decision.

Swimming is a difficult animal to tackle when you want to talk about your success or proficiency. For example, other athletes might tell you they were a 4-year starter at point guard for Butler and you immediately connect/respect that athlete. What I can tell you however, takes a little imagination.

I was fortunate enough to be on the ‘scoring team’ made up of 18 individuals at our conference championship meets (Big East Championships, at the time). I won a couple silvers, a couple bronzes as an individual but far more gold medals as a member of relay performances. That is where my talent in swimming flourished: getting up on the blocks and competing with my brothers as a team. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Being a relay player has its perks: I was selected to attend the NCAA championships my sophomore through senior year as a relay swimmer. While I never made the cut individually (don’t worry, my failures shape my future successes), I was still able to do what I loved the most at the highest level. In my senior year, I finally received a top distinction: NCAA All-American. An awesome honor.

In June of 2013, after my undergraduate graduation, I got married to the love of my life, Amber (by the way, we have our first child, a baby girl, on the way, May 2016). I am extremely blessed to have her as my partner in life. Her support through my schooling and professional decisions is second to none and that is crucial to my success. She is currently finishing school to become a Physical Therapist and it is her connection that landed me the job I have now, but more on that later.

Fast forward two years and you’ll land at the end of my graduate career, earning a Master’s of Science in Exercise Physiology. My thesis focused on the fatigue and trainability of respiratory musculature during maximal swimming performances
(200-yard time trials). It turns out that some breath hold techniques within swim sets does actually prevent or reduce fatigue of the respiratory muscles during performance. Icing on the cake when your study has positive results.

During my 2 year studies, I was a graduate assistant in the Exercise Phys. department, teaching some classes and assisting in out lab’s maintenance and everyday duties. I was also the strength coach for a local swim club: Lakeside Seahawks. Over those two years we had athletes commit to and attend a number of colleges including: Stanford, University of Florida, Louisville, Kentucky, Southern Illinois University, Indiana University, Princeton University and others.

Remember the ‘more on that later’? Well later is now: I was approaching graduation and I assisted my wife in creating a community partner project. She, and her team, evaluated swimmers prior to involvement in sport and recommended home exercise protocols that would correct weaknesses and imbalances. It is through this venture that I met my now-boss, David Boyce, EdD, PT, ECS, OCS.

Through this connection, I am now the director of ProRehab’s Sports Performance Program. We have taken the idea of providing complete care training (strength and conditioning, injury screening and prevention and proven rehabilitation techniques) to groups and individuals across Louisville in order to allow them to reach their full potential.

Currently, we work with Louisville Skating Academy, Kentucky Gymnastics Academy, Lakeside Seahawks, Cardinal Aquatics, Triton Swimming and Louisville Landsharks. Additionally, we work with individuals (golfers, triathletes, volleyball, ice hockey and figure skating athletes) as sports-specific personal training. Previously, we have performed training with St. Francis Basketball and pre-participation screens for Fern Creek High School, Mercy Academy and Union Volleyball.

Our team has done some amazing work over the past six months building the business. Shameless plug for team: http://prorehablou.com/team/locations/properformance-team/. Our strength and conditioning always incorporates sport specific movement patterns with volume prescriptions that match the athletes’ training calendar. ProRehab Physical Therapy, our parent company, provides the highest level of evidence based care and treatment to both new and previous injuries. We believe that this allows us to give our athletes the total package of care.
When it comes to things that I am passionate about, I love to soak up information on that. This is probably why I am excited to start writing and publishing blogs. When something interests me, I will read anywhere between 2-5 articles on it, ask my friends for their opinions and talk to professionals in the field, if applicable.

That is exactly what you will get in terms of content from my blogs. A straightforward representation of the facts and when my opinion is expressed, you’ll know. I don’t like confusing people; I don’t like selling a product or idea. That product or idea’s integrity and success should sell itself. I prefer to educate people, share what I have learned to those willing to read and follow along so that we all advance, as a team.

Remember when I talked about being a relay player? About thriving in a team atmosphere? That’s what it’s all about. We’re a team here at ProRehab’s Sports Performance Program and ProRehab Physical Therapy (a family even and trust me, I’m the odd brother). We’d love for you to be a part of this team and family. I hope you stay connected to and enjoy my future blogs, posts and related materials.

Stay safe, and God Bless

-Alex

Have questions or comments?  I’d love to hear from you!  Email me at aburtch@ptpluslouisville.com.