Girls Can
Interview with Laura Ramus
Laura Ramus, P.T.,A.T.C. is a licensed physical therapist and Head Athletic Trainer/Conditioning Coach for the WNBA’s Detroit Shock, and serves patients in her practice at the Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan, Detroit Medical Center. The Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan is one of the nation’s largest hospitals specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitation. Laura Ramus received a BS in Physical Therapy from Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan in 1987. She then completed a fellowship in Sports Medicine through the University of North Carolina and Health South Rehabilitation Corporation, receiving her certification as an Athletic Trainer in 1990. During this fellowship Laura trained under prominent orthopedic surgeons Dr. James Andrews and Dr. William Clancy in Birmingham Alabama. She has over 20 years of experience treating orthopedic / sports medicine injuries in professional, collegiate and amateur athletes. Laura was an Athletic Trainer for both the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta and the 1994 United States Paralympic swim team. Laura is presently the Head Athletic Trainer and Strength & Conditioning Coach for the WNBA Detroit Shock. She served as the Clinical Director of Michigan Hand and Sport Rehabilitation Center. From 1994-2006, she served as Manager of Sports Medicine for St. John Hospital & Medical Center, Detroit, Michigan, and Clinical Director at Michigan Hand & Sport, and was a staff member and presenter at the Mid American Sports Medicine Institute. Laura is nationally recognized for her many outreach programs throughout the U.S.A., facilitating and training coaches, student athletes and parents in measures to prevent serious knee injuries in female athletes. She is often featured in and welcomes radio talk shows and television appearances about advances in student athlete training and sports rehabilitation.

  • Profession: Head athletic trainer/ strength and conditioning coach,
    Detroit Shock women’s professional basketball team

    Q. What are your duties with the Shock?

        A. I am responsible for the medical attention of all the players on the team. That involves putting them through their physicals, getting an idea of what their health basis is. I attend to the sprains and strains, taking care of them if they have a cold. I also am a physical therapist, so if they have an injury, I put them through that. I also am responsible for taking care of their travel arrangements, coordinating the luggage, scheduling shoot-around times and practice times. I schedule the buses. I don’t do the airplane reservations, though.

        Q. So by the sounds of it, during the season, you don’t have a lot of spare time.

        A. No, there really isn’t much time to myself. As far as my workout, I might do something before the practice, the weight training, or I might do it after.

        Q. What do you do on practice day?

        A. I get in to the Palace at about 8:30 in the morning. Generally, I have two or three people who need some form of treatment. All the ladies have their ankles taped. That takes up to 45 minutes. Practice starts around 11 or so, and it runs for 2 or 2 1/2 hours. After the practice, I’ll have two or three ladies who need to rehabilitate. Typically, I’m at the Palace from about 8:30 in the morning until around 6 in the evening. I also have to make sure all the practice gear gets washed, although I have interns that help with that.

        Q. When do you fit in your workout?

        A. I will incorporate a lot of my workout with the players. When we’re doing the warm-up, I’m demonstrating. During their workout, too, I don’t do it with them directly, but I’m showing them. So even before I get my own workout in, I’ve been working out for about an hour. For me, during the season, my workout takes place whenever I can fit it in. I like to work out six days a week, doing a cardiovascular workout. I run. If it’s summertime, I run outside, do the bike or the StairMaster. Those are my three cardio favorites. I usually do one of those 45 minutes each day. I usually get in a half-hour jog in the morning because I have a dog, Chewko. But I don’t count that as part of my workout.

        Q. Why don’t you consider that part of your workout?

        A. It’s really for him. He sprints and runs most of it because he’s not trained real well. For me, I only consider something part of my workout if I’m focused or targeting. When I work out, I’m watching my heart rate and all of that.

        Q. Those seem to be pretty rigid expectations.

        A. Yes. Some people get their workout in by parking farther away from where they need to go, or someone else might say, “Well, I cut the lawn today.” I wouldn’t consider that a workout for me. I mean, I promote for anyone to be as active as they can be. I’m just pretty strict. I am rigid in that way.

        Q. Do you belong to a gym?

        A. Yes. I weight train about three times a week. I work on my upper body — my arms and my upper back. I don’t do weights for my legs because I do so much cardio and I only have so much time.

        Q. How often do you make it to the gym during the basketball season?

        A. During the season, not at all. As soon as we’re into May, June, July and August there’s no time. On a game day I get to the Palace at 8 in the morning. Sometimes I can bolt home and run my dog, then come back. But I’m busy until midnight at the Palace. Sometimes I run outside the Palace. I do sprint training, sprinting 200 meters. They’re brutal. I hate it. You want to throw up. But you never see a sprinter with bad abdominal muscles, do you? For me, doing those is better than crunching my life away.

        Q. Are you involved in any of the exercise fads, such as pilates, spinning, etc.?

        A. A lot of the fitness fads that come in have been in physical therapy. The classic is the physioball. We’ve been using them for 12 years in physical therapy; now they’re in every club. What I have become more interested in has been yoga. It’s very beneficial for all athletes. It concentrates on your flexibility and your balance, your muscle tone. It’s been a great fit for me. I do that one or two times a week.

        Q. Do you ever just relax?

        A. No! (laughing)

        Q. Do you consider yourself obsessive at all?

        A. Probably, yeah. It’s my nature. Is it unhealthy? I don’t think so because I feel so good. If I didn’t feel so good, I would change it. But if I don’t maintain this pace, I feel I lose energy.

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