For those of you that do not follow horse racing, Flavien Prat is one of the hottest young riders on the circuit right now. With over 5 million in purse winnings in the first half of the 2016 season, he is currently ranked #11 in all of North America.
In August 2015, Flavien suffered a serious fall while racing at Los Alamitos resulting in several fractured vertebrae in addition punctured lung. He was put into a back brace which he would wear for the next two months. Despite the severity of his injuries, he was luckily allowed to walk around instead of being immobilized to rest the entire time.
When cleared for rehabilitation, we started working with Flavien at the start of November 2015 to help him back on his road to recovery. With his agent Derek Lawson and girlfriend Manon Lemaire by his side, he had an amazing support staff. Not having ever experiencing an injury of this magnitude, he was unsure of how he would do. What he did know was that his ultimate goal was to get back on the horse again. His medical doctor told him that he was expected to return to full racing about March of 2016 which meant 4-5 months of intense rehabilitation.
Not having ever worked with a jockey before, we had to take an accelerated course on the sport, culture, and the demands that this young champion would have to endure again. These were all essential components in goal setting not only for the athlete, but for us as his healthcare provider team.
Flavien exemplifies what it takes is be a true athlete and professional. He was coming in 5 to 6 times a week, never late, and ALWAYS ready to work. Man of few words, extremely respectful and a drive like no other.
With a combination of one on one Physical Therapy, Chiropractic treatment and sports-specific conditioning... we focused on mobility, flexibility, stability, strength and endurance of not only the injured area… but his ENTIRE BODY! As his body continued to heal, he became more confident with his own abilities as well as trust in us to push him to his limits.
Flavien progressed beyond our expectations and in collaboration with his medical doctor and horse trainer Richard Mandella, we decided that it would be safe for him back training on horses again. His volume was scaled progressively, always taking into consideration how his body and mind were feeling. As he improved, the far fetched goal of returning to racing on Opening Day - December 26, 2015 at Santa Anita became a possibility.
Long story short, that’s exactly what he did! He returned on opening day and the following day won his first race of the season with us watching from the stands. It was amazing seeing what this young man could accomplish in such a short amount of time. His sigh of relief and smile of happiness said it all.
He was back to racing 3 months ahead of schedule and at a level beyond compare. Because he was racing again didn’t mean he was done with his recovery. He is consistently in our facility improving his body and his fitness. We always monitor how he is feeling, travel schedule, how many horses and how many days of racing he has in a particular week.
There is never a cookie cutter plan to success, just a lot of calculated decisions.
As Flavien continues to succeed, we are so extremely proud and honored to be part of his journey. It takes a special person with incredible will, perseverance and sacrifice to do what he has done so far. We can’t wait to see what the future has in store for this young superstar!
~ Dr. Jason & Dr. Kelli Han