The Evolution of Cold and Compression Therapy

PowerPlay Cold and Compression Therapy

By PowerPlay Guest Blogger Casey Paulk, ATC

I am an Athletic Trainer, and have been practicing for almost nine years.  During my career I have been lucky enough to work at many different levels of sports.  From internships in professional baseball to small high schools and every level in between, I have had many great experiences and seen each level and sport-specific injury, as well as those types of injuries athletic trainers see across sport-specific lines.

I have used many different forms of cold compression therapy to treat injuries or maintain swelling and discomfort and to speed the healing process for many different types of athletes.  There is one major technique that I will never forget using, but have also not used since due to the time consuming preparation and application.

During my internship with professional baseball, I would have to take a large bath towel, lay it on the ground, place two generous scoops of large chunk ice through the middle third of the towel lengthwise, fold the towel around the ice, tape both ends with athletic tape to keep it from coming undone, and then take the barrel of a broken bat to break the ice up into smaller pieces to make it more functional.  Then repeat 5 more times and place the “ice towels” in an ice chest.   I did this every day for about 6 weeks!!  When it came time to place the towels on the starting pitcher’s shoulder and/or elbow and wrap it with a six-inch double length ace bandage, it became a very difficult application.  The elastic bandage aided in compression and allows the pitcher to have mobility outside of the athletic training room.  Either back to the dugout to watch the rest of the game or sit in the clubhouse and watch the game on the TV.  A few major downsides to this technique:  leaking wet towels, elastic bandage coming loose and undone, or a combination of both!  This problem causes more work for the athletic trainer and does not make the pitcher very happy due to delaying his treatment, thus not allowing him to recover as quickly to continue doing his job as well as he would like.

If I had access to a PowerPlay system at this time in my life, I would have loved it.  I could have spent less time preparing “ice towels” and more time doing other treatments, rehabilitation, or preventative therapy.  I could have even sat in the clubhouse enjoying a little downtime with the players and coaches.  The PowerPlay system would have even added the benefits of intermittent compression to the pitcher, which could also aid in a faster recovery. Ultimately, it’s all about getting your players healthier, stronger, and back in the game.


Casey Paulk

Casey Paulk, ATC, LAT is an Athletic Trainer with 8 years of experience at many different levels of athletics including clinical/outreach, high school, college and professional.  Undergrad from Southwestern Oklahoma State University.  Currently instructor at a technology center in Oklahoma.