Written by Robert Butler and Abigail Carpenter.
As the Toronto Blue Jays continue their run in the AL Division Series, the performance of pitcher Marcus Stroman is garnering much attention, as his unexpected return in September astonished the sports world. After suffering a ruptured ACL during spring training in early March, Stroman was told he would be out for the entire season. 2015 looked to be Stroman’s breakout season as he was projected to be the opening day starter for the Blue Jays. Although Stroman could have stayed with the team following surgery to complete rehabilitation, he decided to make the most of a bad situation by returning to Duke to complete his bachelor’s degree while simultaneously undergoing personalized rehabilitation and performance training with Nikki Huffman, DPT, ATC, SCS, and Jason Shutt, DPT under the direction of Robert Butler, PT, PhD.
While Stroman attended a full schedule of classes each week, he also completed a rigorous rehabilitation schedule including 11 training session per week. Mornings began with physical therapy under the direction of Nikki Huffman. After a short break and attending afternoon classes Stroman spent the early evening in the Michael W. Krzyzewski Human Performance Lab with Jason Shutt. Dr. Butler’s team relied on technology to guide the process and elucidate the best opportunities for progress each day. This allowed for a personalized progression timeline specific to Stroman that could be adapted based on his functional gains. Stroman thrived in this environment and by the time he completed his course work in mid-August he had also completed an extensive amount of his rehab checklist and was in line to begin sport specific progressions. Following two minor league rehab starts in Lansing and Buffalo Stroman rejoined the Blue Jays in September where he posted a 1.67 ERA (2nd best in organization history for the month of September) in four crucial starts as the Blue Jays were locked in a tight battle with the New York Yankees for the top seat in the division. With the addition of Stroman to the roster the Blue Jays prevailed as AL East Champions.
This story has been picked up across Canada and in USA Today. In the Discovery channel Stroman specifically thanks his team at Duke for getting him back to the mound so soon.