Sports Reaction Center Uses Alter-G Technology to Train Semi-Paralyzed Runner for Kona Inspired Ironman Contest

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Neil Chasan, owner of Bellevue’s Sports Reaction Center, a premiere sports physical therapy clinic, will train Navin Singh, an ironman triathlete hopeful who was diagnosed with a rare diseases that left him paralyzed from the knees down.

I have no doubt that with his effort and ability along Ben’s coaching, and with our expertise and [Alter-G] technology, he will be able to run in any race he chooses

When runner Navin Singh was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome (a rare autoimmune disorder that affects the nervous system) in 1984, he was left paralyzed from the neck down. But being a true competitor at heart, Singh spent two years in rehab and began walking again; he now has full movement and function ending at his knees. Twenty-nine years later, he is ready to enter the 2013 Ironman World Championship through the Kona Inspired contest. The contest is by qualification only, and only eight participants will be selected will compete on October 12, 2013. Neil Chasan, owner of Sports Reaction Center, will be training Singh for the 140.6 Ironman.

At age 47, Singh has had to overcome many physical obstacles. He went from being paralyzed from the neck down to being paralyzed just from the knees down. He has gone from being in a wheelchair to walking again with assistive devices such as walkers, crutches and canes, as well as hand and leg braces. During his rehabilitation, he was inspired by the athletes competing in the Kona Ironman World Championships. With his residual lower leg paralysis, Navin wears plastic AFO (ankle-foot orthotics) on both legs. Even with this level of restriction, Navin is determined to run during his Ironman in order to finish on time. To help him achieve success, he is adding Sports Reaction Center’s (SRC) advanced physical therapy technology to his treatment plan.

Chasan, who founded the Bellevue physical therapy clinic SRC in 1997, has worked with patients ranging from triathletes and Olympians to NBA, NFL and MLB players. He also treats national caliber track and college and high school level and amateur athletes. Chasan determined that Singh needed to improve his core strength, and he also needed to improve his running form in order to be more efficient, and he needed to improve his running endurance. So Neil prescribed a full core program and regular training on the Alter-G at progressively heavier loads.

The Alter-G technology was produced by NASA, and uses air pressure to unload athletes, permitting them to run on a treadmill with reduced weight while maintaining pure running form. The unique experience of running at a lighter weight reduces stress on the joints by as much as 80 percent. This is critical for Singh’s training since he has no muscle mass below the knee, which increases his risk of sustaining a stress fracture with too much running too soon.

Alter G will also help Singh improve his running endurance by allowing him to gradually increase his percentage of body weight from 60% where he is starting, to 100% as time passes. For able bodied athletes, the Alter G helps in the following ways:

•Aiding the Knees: For runners who spend time each week generating mileage, just an hour a week on the Alter-G can reduce the pounding that the knees and other joints will take over the life of the runner.

•Maintain Fitness While Nursing an Injury: It is very difficult to maintain fitness while rehabbing an injury, especially in a short season with races coming up around the corner. On the Alter-G, athletes can often find the correct combination of speed, weight and slope that allows one to continue to train pain-free while recovering from an injury. This loaded training at partial weight-bearing will facilitate a full recovery more quickly.

•Overspeed Training: This is the only tool on the market that allows overspeed training in a safe environment. It is a beneficial tool for the middle and longer distance athlete to build base mileage at high speeds.

•Train Barefoot: The Alter-G is designed to allow for barefoot running. Staff members at SRC have determined that biomechanics and form are immediately improved as the barefoot athlete safely runs on the treadmill at various loads (weights).

•Improve Form: It is much easier to experience “ideal running form” in a     lighter weight environment, and to learn how to maintain that form as one increase ones speed and load to 100% of body weight. This type of form training can only be done on the Alter G.

“Navin is an extraordinary athlete who clearly knows how to reach goals and get through the tough obstacles that may stand in his way,” commented Chasan. “I have no doubt that with his effort and ability along Ben’s coaching, and with our expertise and [Alter-G] technology, he will be able to run in any race he chooses.”

Along with Chasan, LifeWise of Washington and Ben Bigglestone (owner of Vo2 Multisport of Redmond, WA) have agreed to support and coach Singh to prepare him for participation in the upcoming 140.6 Ironman.

SRC serves the Bellevue, Seattle, Kirkland and Redmond areas, but its reputation is so renowned that it attracts athletes from around the country because of tools like the Alter-G. For more information, visit

About the Sports Reaction Center

Based in Bellevue, Washington and attracting athletes of all levels from the Bellevue, Seattle, Kirkland and Redmond areas—as well as around the United States—the Sports Reaction Center(SRC) was founded by Neil Chasan in 1997. SRC performs sports physical therapy services that incorporate innovative technologies such as Dynavision and the NASA-developed Alter-G. The clinic additionally offers concussion management and biomechanical assessment. SRC’s clients also include many athletes who have qualified for the Olympic Trials in Track and Field, as well as marathoner Mike Sayenko, Olympic hurdler Virginia Powell, and NFL, NBA and MLB players. The clinic also works with area organizations such as Club Northwest, VO2 Multisports and the Seattle Rugby Club. A graduate of the University of Washington’s physical therapy program in 1982, Chasan is a consultant to the U.S. Olympic Training Center, U.S. Rugby Sports Medicine, and Alter G. Neil is the author of the book Total Conditioning for Golfers, and the creator of the video “The Swing Reaction System”. Neil also published “Pain Free Back,” an iPhone application. Neil serves on the Bree Collaborative Spine and Back Pain work group. A clinical faculty member of the University of Washington’s physical therapy program since 1990, Chasan teaches and consults with physical therapists around the world.

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