Training, Rehab: Lots In Common

Bobby Curran
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Friday - September 29, 2010
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When a rotator cuff demanded treatment, I was sent to Performance Rehab Ortho in the Physicians Office Building at Queen’s hospital. It had been 15 years or so since I had to work on an injury, and when I walked into Room 612, a brave new world awaited.

Gone were the heavy weights and complicated contraptions from the past. Instead there was a variety of people from beyond middle age to young elite athletes working with tiny weights and weighted balls, many of them hooked up to small, portable machines with wires attached, each absorbed in his or her own exercise.

The maestro of this free-form concert is Daniel Mar Chong, who graduated from University of Hawaii with a B.S. in athletic training, is a certified athletic trainer, has worked at two universities and a hospital, and coordinated a training program at Disney World.

“The philosophy, and most of the exercises, are based on efficient human movement,” says Mar Chong. “It’s neurological training that leads to movement patterns that become reflex.”


Mar Chong is the director, and the center is the brainchild of prominent orthopedic surgeon Dr. Darryl Kan of Orthopedic Associates of Hawaii.

“It’s a way of training that makes so much sense,” says Kan. “We are making the signals from the brain to the muscles better.”

Kan recognized the necessity of a bridge between the few sessions of post-surgery rehab covered by health insurance and undirected workouts on your own. This concept provides help and direction at relatively low cost, plus the use of ARP trainers.

“ARP stands for accelerated recovery performance,” says Mar Chong. “It is a direct-current electronic stimulator that allows the muscles to lengthen.”

A good description of what happens here is a lot of high-intensity, low-impact work that builds and strengthens muscles without putting heavy stress on joints.

That part I got, but what about the mix of rehab clients and elite athletes?

“We recognized a continuum between the rehab and the high-performance client. The same principles apply, but the training for the elite athlete requires high velocity movement,” says Kan.

They do the same movements, but faster. So while I’m working on an impulse trainer - a series of pulleys demanding efficient movement in both directions - I’m side-by-side with 300-pound defensive tackle Sani Fuimaono, who will head off to the University of Arizona in January. We both are using 5-pound weights.


There are athletes here from football, basketball, soccer, baseball, swimming, tennis and paddling.

And for those who are nursing injuries, this is a place UH head trainer Eric Okasaki doesn’t overlook.

“For certain injuries, especially shoulders and knees, we send our athletes there,” says Okasaki. “Nobody else in the state is doing what they’re doing. The ARP trainer really helps recovery without joint strain. They complement what we’re able to provide at school, as some other facilities do as well.”

As new as some of the training is to me, some things haven’t changed. Mar Chong and his small staff are hovering, exhorting and cajoling to get you in the right position: “Open chest, lats tight, glutes engaged, just another 20 seconds.”

And at the end, I’m still sweating profusely and glad it’s over - until tomorrow.

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