Dr. Brian Cunningham

Physical Therapist to the 2016 Olympic Swim Team

As a swimmer, physical therapist, and post-surgical patient, Dr. Brian Cunningham has experienced the good, bad and ugly of competitive athletics. With this wealth of knowledge and expertise, Brian has been charged with the task of getting the 2016 Olympic Swimming Team in peak condition to capture the gold at Rio.

The Elite Medical Team

Brian, along with two other physical therapists, two massage therapists, a chiropractor and trainer have been busy at the training camp in San Antonio, TX from July 11-22. All members of this high performance medical team are part of USA Swimming Sports Medicine and Science Committee, have beed screened by the USA Olympic Training Center, and passed various skills assessments to make sure they were highly qualified to work with the elite athletes. This medical team will lose it's physical therapists when traving to Rio as per the IOCC rules.

Physical Therapy for Swimmers

At the camp, Brian helped swimmers with physical issues. Typically, he would probe the muscles and tendons in the problem area to narrow down the target area and determine a solution. Some of the solutions are visible such as the circular "hickies" seen on Ryan Murphy at the trials. This technique, "cupping",  involves using suction to lift up the muscles and stretch the fascia to allow increased vascularization and healing. Another technique that leaves marks on it's victim is called the Graston Technique or "factoring". This involves using a blade to smooth the fascia. Bruises look like a scrape from falling off your bicycle onto the pavement.

Brian's Physical Therapy Practice

When Brian is not treating elite athletes, he can be found working at Lutheran General Hospital Outpatient Rehabilitation Cinic in Park Ridge, IL. Since Brian has been a patient of physical therapy himself for rotator cuff repair, he takes special care of those who have shoulder injuries. He works Tuesdays and Thursdays. To make an appointment, call 847-723-7585 and have a doctor's script. Expect a  4-6 week lag time before he can see you. After all he is one of the best!

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Related Links
Brian with Leah Smith
Ryan Murphy's cupping bruises