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Mark Herzlich was putting together an impressive career as a linebacker at Boston College. During the 2008 season, he amassed an impressive 110 tackles and was considered a top NFL prospect. Then on March 12, 2009, he received news that completely changed his life.
Herzlich was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer in his left leg. Although doctors gave him a 70 percent chance of survival, they informed him that it was unlikely he would ever play football again. Herzlich says, "They told me that not only would I never play football again, but I'd never run again."
Dillman coaching Herzlich at IMG Academies
Herzlich was able to overcome his cancer, but he refused to rest until he was back on the field. To regain his pre-disease form, he teamed up with IMG Academies, where Jeff Dillman, head of physical training, referred him to Cassidy Phillips, owner and founder of Trigger Point Performance Therapy, for even more physical benefits.
Phillips suffers from fibromyalgia—a disorder that affects muscles and connective tissue—but he understands how to overcome adversity to achieve health and performance goals. Now pain-free, he competes in triathlons and marathons.
Herzlich credits his success to his line of Trigger Point Performance Therapy products. “Trigger Point is a byproduct of my own selfish needs,” he says. “Years ago, my body started to break down, and I had a fear of not being able to move again. I created a line of products and methodology to address areas of the body that influence biomechanics the most.”
Trigger Point Performance Therapy consists of myofascial compression techniques to improve the function of muscle spindles, promoting natural and fluid movement patterns by improving the connection between the muscles and the nervous system.
After consulting with Herzlich at IMG Academies, Phillips was able to identify muscle and movement issues affecting the linebacker and to suggest Trigger Point Performance Therapy methods most likely to facilitate the re-emergence of—and potentially to improve upon—his previous athletic abilities.
"All the toxicity from dehydration and chemotherapy really petrified Mark’s muscles," Phillips says. “When we introduced our therapies, we redefined the way the body functioned, and the results were phenomenal.”
After much hard work and the use of Trigger Point Performance Therapy methods, Herzlich astonishingly returned to the field in 2010. Now the man who was never supposed to run again will be one of 24 prospects attending the 2011 NFL Draft. "If I keep working the way I've been working and improving the way I've been improving, the sky's the limit," he says.
Photos: IMG Academies