Certified Athletic Trainer | Educator | Motivator
Sandy Krum

Archive for April, 2013


My posture has been poor as of late. Whether it’s lying on the couch reading my tablet or slouching over to see the screen on my laptop. I know I need to concentrate more and more each day on keeping my shoulders back, on keeping my chin up, and sticking out my chest. I’ve gotten too lazy and haven’t really been incorporating a balanced BACK ATTACK.

What does our posture say about us? This is a simple concept but one that is so often overlooked when it comes to our overall wellness and often deters from our ability to stay on THE HIGHWAY.

A recent Human Kinetics (HK) publication spoke of posture in two forms. They discuss both the physical attributes of good posture but also the downfalls of a mismanaged psyche and how the same can lead to postural defect.  They state, “Good posture requires a person to maintain the alignment of certain body parts; poor posture is often acknowledged as a cause of musculoskeletal pain, joint restriction, or general discomfort. When used in the context of therapy, athletic training, physiotherapy, massage therapy, osteopathy or chiropractic, for example the term posture more precisely describes the relationships among various parts of the body, their anatomical arrangement and how well they do or do not fit together…”  Adding, “Of course, the postures we assume provide clues to not only the condition of our bodies; traumas and injuries old and new, and mild or more serious pathologies.  It’s also how we feel about ourselves; our confidence (or lack of it), how much energy we have (or are lacking), how enthusiastic (or unenthusiastic) we feel, or whether we feel certain and relaxed (or anxious and tense). Intriguingly, we all almost always adopt the same postures in response to the same emotions.”

To repeat, Kyphosis describes the forward rounding of the shoulders, a position often brought on by weakness or imbalance in thoracic spines musculature as well as fatigue in keeping these muscles engaged and firing. Genu Valgus is also a condition brought on by weak hip musculature, causing the hip and pelvis to collapse and forcing the knees into a Knock Knee position.

I constantly preach the latter portion, the “how do we feel about ourselves” and “how does this lead to our postural defects?” Are we engaging at all times through our daily interactions with others or are we defensive? Watching simple non-verbal Q’s of someone’s body language can often lead to a better understanding of that persons make up. When speaking with others, are my arms crossed in front, guarding the walls that have been built over the years? What am I hiding? I propose a more engaging approach: Head and neck high, chest out, hands to the side in a neutral position and relaxed versus uptight. THE EYES ARE ON THE ROAD!

Are we confident in ourselves and are others reading those same non-verbal Q’s we emit? Do we like the message we are sending? How can we /I work on this?

I propose daily practice sessions to start to concentrate on our postures. Practice 5-10 minutes per day and attempt to be cognizant throughout the day. Your practice session involves looking in the mirror at your posture, shoulder positioning, leg stance, and your facial expression. Can I improve in my engaging skills? Use this practice session to assist you.

For those of you who have worked with me, you know how much emphasis I place on how you carry yourselves and how engaged I expect you to become. I stress the importance of walking tall and proud with your shoulders back and chest and core engaged. I stress free and easy breathing. During this exercise, think deeply about the walls you may have put up and address them! Is it necessary for me to be expending so much energy to retain these walls? Which ones do I want to start to work on and dismantle? An additional exercise could simply be observing others throughout your day and see what messages these people may be sending!

During Your Workout

Are you looking down on the treadmill versus standing tall and looking onto the horizon? Is your chest out and are your breathing patterns relaxed? Are there similarities to a top-performing car? You bet! I call this “THE ALIGNMENT”. A Poor alignment predisposes you to injury and breakdown. To stay on the HIGHWAY of HEALTH, I propose to you to incorporate these simple daily exercises that will improve your chances of staying aligned and reduce the probability of system breakdown.

Krum’s Keys:

  1. Relaxed Breathing and Facial Muscles
  2. Engage Abdominals / Core
  3. Proper Leg Stance
  4. Shoulders Back
  5. Equal Balance When Weight Training (Multi Planes)


Lastly, I want to throw out a TIP. If you are able, have someone you know film your whole running session, or a good five to ten minute session. This person could be a loved one, friend, coworker, or a Certified Athletic Trainer (NATA.ORG). Have them film you from various angles and show everything from your stride, to your hand motion, to your head and neck movement.  Slowly review your tape and write notes on the items you see that need addressing. Make subtle changes and visually see yourself as you do each subsequent workout. Incorporate the changes over a period of time, all the while working on correcting the same. If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, ask the advice of a Certified Athletic Trainer (NATABOC) near you. I’m sure they would love to help. After several weeks of practice, re-film a session and notice the changes.

Drop me a line and let me know how you’re doing, love to hear from you.


All the best until next time, Sandy

REFERENCES: Johnson, Jane POSTURAL ASSESSMENT pp 1-176. 2012. Human Kinetics



The box of curveballs and the key to the batter’s box. That’s what started my job as clubhouse helper, then batboy, for the visiting teams at Wrigley. I found my passion early!

Eleven or twelve years old and I had a set of keys to get in and out of Wrigley as I please. Back then there was only one guard, and it took everything and anything to keep him awake all night. This was the old Pinkerton guard company. The guy would make his rounds every so often and when he was drunk or tired and I was up and about I would sometimes make the rounds on my own. It was the coolest thing, me walking with this encased pc of equipment that I could key in to various locations around the park. Ticket office, check. Concessions areas, check! Up the ramps to the press box, done. Out to the bleachers, done. Visiting and home clubhouses, done.  Front office, done. Oh those smells of the ballpark were priceless.

Sometimes I would have dinner with the guy, or even order from Pat’s Pizza.

What a trip. Just me and the guy in the chair at Clark and Addison. He was usually asleep at the rickety warn down pass gate. I loved the guy so, as he was one of the main reasons I got access to the park every day.

There was Gene the guard, Ron the clubhouse attendant, Gary and his wonderful loving father Bill, Dennis the clubhouse assistant, and me.  We would handle everything from unpacking bags to lining up bat bags, doing player laundry and uniforms. There were so many towels, the Four Seasons housekeeping department would have a hard time keeping up. And the industrial dryer that was big enough for several players to get in and take a spin.

And we would feed them. Rarely did a guy get up at the hotel in Chicago and go to the coffee shop or even better yet, order room service. The big shot guys, of course. The rest of the team including coaches and athletic trainers needed to eat, especially with such early arrivals.

Remember, they were all day games back then. So the clubhouse became the player’s restaurant as well. Eggs made to order, no problem. Food takeout, Money!

Every morning started with a grocery run: Two dozen donuts, three gallons of milk, two loaves of bread and some eggs! And don’t forget the newspapers at the El.

Thank G-d for YumYum donut shop in the parking lot. I made a lot of money running back and forth to YY. Three double cheeseburgers, fries, a malt, NLT! Fred and his ladies knew the food was for the players so they would let me throw the burgers on the grill and help them wrap the order. Lines were long at the favorite spot, especially for the glazed, and I just walked right up to the grill and threw my orders on. This led to huge tips as I could be back in no time just to repeat it. Rain delays were the best…

And the reason I title this the box of curveballs and keys to the batter’s box?

Those are the two things I was on a constant running search for days… (until I figured that I was on a wild goose chase…)

“Hey Sandy, can you go find the “box of curveballs” or, “Sandy go to the front office and get the keys to the batter’s box. ”  Lol. Growing up fast @ Wrigley.




The Masters: Augusta, Ga.

I’m thrilled to just have had the opportunity to watch a practice round @ Augusta in preparation for this week’s Masters tournament. Actually, Corporate and I just attended one of the most beautiful golf courses in the world. We made the Southerly jaunt along with hundreds of thousands. The old saying is practice makes perfect, hence my desire to see a practice round. Throughout my years in athletic training rooms and clubhouses around the world, one message has never changed:  Practice like you play and you’ll play like you practice!


Focus is the intensity expected every minute you are on that piece of cardio equipment or running trail attacking your workout. When at the gym, there may be several televisions mounted from the ceiling in front of you, one usually with sports and the other showing mindless news from a distant land. Yes, there’s a clicker available, but only for those who are not focused and are there for the wrong reasons. You DID NOT come here to watch TV! For me, it’s hard enough to stay focused on my breathing, my GAIT, my stride length, my posture, and everything else I need to concentrate on to make this the best workout without these distractions.

This morning’s LA TIMES was so hard to read without my glasses. I usually read the local paper first thing and then further attack anything that sparks my interest via the web and other media outlets. I know the newsprint and format are of legit quality and the lighting in my apartment is cool. The problem I may be having you ask? Auspiciously, perhaps with a little more FOCUS, I can fix this with a quick visit to either an ophthalmologist or an optometrist. This is an opportune time to introduce you to Dr. Michael Peters of Raleigh, North Carolina. Mike and I worked together while in baseball at AA Zebulon. He was instrumental in making our championship team click, especially when it came to the players we had wearing contact lenses. We really were fortunate to have Mike available, especially with his interest in sports vision and ability to translate that passion into helping our hitters see the ball to the BEST of their ability, day and night! Easier said than done, but perfected by Peters. He currently oversees care of the NHL’s Carolina Panthers.

To give you an idea, in his latest book, ‘See to Play’, eminent optometrist Michael Peters, addresses every aspect of this vital component of elite athletics. Included in his writing are in-depth discussions of all facets of vision accompanied by myriad of exercises to help athletes hone and condition peripheral vision, acuity, speed of focus, eye-hand-body coordination, and more. His techniques also help the older veteran athlete play young and the weekend warrior gain the edge! Constructed for athletes of all ages, this essential book will truly enhance you or your child athlete’s ability to see to play! I really enjoyed the read and think there’s something for everyone here!


For me, workouts are planned out by writing an exercise journal daily. With this method, goals are easily attainable. It’s knowing exactly what to accomplish and wanting to be as FOCUSED on the activity as possible, not distracted by something that may inhibit or slow my progress. For those using headphones for the encouraging music, rock on dudes! For those watching those monitors, WRONG! ASK yourself if these media sources are having a positive or negative influence on your training and ability to reach the goal you set out to conquer!

Your focus should be on getting your workout in, perhaps getting to the gym, working out with the utmost intensity for the 90 minutes, and getting out! Are you putting 110% into your training? Is your intensity as great as you want it to be? Are there any distractions in front of you or in your ear that are not allowing you to stay focused?  Stop the distractions, get into the zone, and get the most out of today’s session!


Focus is just as important on the golf course as the best golfers in the world compete. Each of these athletes is focused, not only on their conditioning and workouts, but also in their approach to their initial tee shot, fairway play, and green play. After all, is the goal not to wear the famed Green Jacket? Do you have the same desire for that jacket?

Earlier this week I spoke with John Adam, an ATC and strength/conditioning coach for the PGA Tour and currently at The 2013 Masters. We were introduced many years ago. He comes from the same baseball class as Garafolo, Starr, Monohan, Gieselman,  Buhler, Pursley, Letendre , Spicuza, Mayol and the rest of the athletic training All Stars. The old school gang, if I may. John was another of the fine mentors that played an integral part on my journey as an apprentice and up and comer. “Pristine, well-manicured hedging, and something like ‘Disneyland’ Special!” These are the descriptors Adam’s used to describe the location all ‘GOLF EYES’ will be on for the weekend to come. I have to agree and also throw compliments to the fine staff @ Augusta. What a first class operation! John worked many seasons in MLB, most notably with the Milwaukee Brewers alongside Bob Euker, Robin Yount, Dale Sveum, and who could forget Ben Ogilvie. Euker would often say, “It’s a wonderful day for GOLF!”

John Adam: you taught me so much along the way and I am grateful to you for treating me with the upmost respect from the minute I was introduced to you as a young minor league Athletic Trainer. For this, I say Thank You! Best wishes to you and Biggie (Kent Biggerstaff – same position with the Seniors Champions Tour) as you both continue to keep the finest golfers in the world focused on both the PGA TOUR and SENIORS CHAMPIONS TOUR. Enjoy Augusta and all the best my friends!

For now, I sign off by saying stay FOCUSED on your workout intensity, FOCUS on your eye exercises, and remain focused on that Green Jacket!

Until next time, Best! Sandy

PS: Stay tuned…your introduction to “The Highway” is coming soon and it’s something very special.


Opening Day…

Garages and attics are busy places this time of the year.  Seems everyone is doing some sort of spring cleaning, whether it be in the garage, inside the house, or even at the office.  First and foremost has to be the search for the mitt and league ball.  Opening Day is just arriving and parents and children from coast to coast will be on the search for their BASEBALL GLOVES. I know mine is on the desk at the office, always on the ready.

I really haven’t had the need to condition my Rawlings Special.  It still has great shape and is full of life.  It also still has that baseball glove smell.

Remember the days of old when mom and dad bought you your first glove?  You rushed home with a couple baseballs and started breaking in the darn thing.  Seems it took forever to get any sense of a pocket.  It took longer to get the ends on the fingertips to ‘curve in’ as we know and wanted them to do ever so badly.  I even remember tying my glove with a sanni sock ever so tight, baseballs in place in the pocket, and buried the whole contraption under the water in our filled wash sink in the laundry room.  I would let it soak overnight, only to take it outside to dry in the mild spring air and then start mashing it over and over again with the end of a bat.

As a kid, I always took my glove with me to opening day.  It was some sort of ritual and simply was the cool thing to do.  I would never know if a foul ball would come my way as I was walking the concourses at Wrigley, always trying to find the one unoccupied seat and the section where there were no Andy Frain Ushers to give you THAT evil look.  Sometimes, the flying balls would make their way down the steps onto the concourse after several people made a failed attempt.  Oh, Wrigley.

I always prepped Mom and Dad as the weeks and days approached, just so I could have them on the ready to write that note to my teachers: “Dear Ms. Opening Day Teacher, Sandy was absent yesterday as he developed (fill in the blank) that just wouldn’t go away.  We felt it best to monitor this from home.  Please provide Sandy with any missed homework or needed materials so he may catch up on his work. Sincerely, Mr. and Mrs. Krum.”  I wonder how many parents will be writing that same kind of note this week.  Ya know …wink!

Opening Day meant smelling the concession stands getting readied, the Smokie Links grilling on the grill, the soda and beer guys filling their trays and making quick change from the dispenser on their belts, the pizza man walking around hawking an empty box he was waving.  It meant I could hear the organ and watch the scoreboard operators change the numbers every time a run was scored.  It meant I could just be among people who loved the game of baseball as much as I did.  It meant I could sing twice for sure with an anthem and take me out to the ball game.  It meant I could tune to 720am on my transistor radio and listen to some fine play by play.  I just had to save enough change to take the EL home, along with a transfer of course.

I know I’m looking forward to the Opening Day.  Why, you ask?  Cause its root, root, root for the home team. If they don’t win it’s a shame.  For its one, two, three strikes you’re out at the ol ball game!

Finally, The Show…

My most incredible experience at Wrigley happened on Opening Day back in 2001…

Ahhh, that Opening Day at Wrigley Field…I could smell the fresh cut grass, still those same Smokie Links cooking, popcorn popping, and the electricity was buzzing, like when you rub a balloon on your hair.  The gates open for the start of the 2001 home season and fans flocked to assume their position in the bleachers.  Finally, after grabbing their hotdog and beverage, they picked that spot to watch the pre-game.  All set with their gloves ready, they waited eagerly for that crack of the bat in hopes of catching the BP home run ball.  There I was, first game as a Chicago Cub Athletic Trainer, taped into an old rusty grocery cart that migrated down from the local Jewel.  Hockey mask strapped on, feet dangling and placed ever so perfectly in left-center field for batting practice.  Even my college roommate was amongst them. “Krummie, is that you?”…he shouted.  The only thing I could think of was, “Please ball, don’t come my way!”  Crack after crack, balls launched from the pine bats like missiles.  One after another just missing.  For the player at the plate, it was like when you’re hitting golf balls at the driving range and the cart is out there picking up balls – aim…fire…“DAMN, missed again!”  Players couldn’t wait to get their turn…”come on, let me in there!”  It felt like a whole game had passed, when finally I was rescued by the grounds crew as they began to ready the field with fresh chalk.  “Welcome to the Show, Kid!”

All the Best – Athletic Trainers

Looking back, it was an incredible run with the Chicago Cubs and professional baseball.  As ballparks open across this great land, I can’t help but think of the Athletic Trainers and Medical Teams for each of the 30 clubs.  Long, exhausting days ahead for these folks. What tremendous care each and every one of these individuals provide on a daily basis.  The bottom line is these ATC’s keep your favorite players healthy and functional from Opening Day until the final out of the World Series.  Many of these folks have years of education and practice honing their skills. They are the best of the best and personally take themselves out of the equation for the 162 game campaign. Incredible! Kudos to my fellow PBATS members and wishing each of them the best for the season!

Enjoy the season everyone! I know I will!

“Let’s play two!” – Ernie Banks