Real Star Power
For performance, Lake Oconee’s Dr. Lou Pack builds a firm foundation
Story By Patrick Yost - Photos By Patrick Yost and Contributed
Dr. Lou Pack’s office may as well be a museum. A bona fide sports museum. In the comfortable corner at Lake Oconee’s MCG health facility, Pack surrounds himself with reminders. There are, of course, images of athletes everywhere. Tom Glavine graces the wall. Former Georgia Coach Vince Dooley wrote a nice note. Matt Stinchcomb, All–American from Georgia, shares space with Auburn stand–out Takeo Spikes.
Ryan Howard, the stalwart Philadelphia Phillies slugger, stopped by two weeks ago.
The Cincinnati Bengals Willie Anderson left a pair of his shoes.
Like a quiet Mecca in a lost part of the world, they’ve all come to seek Pack.
Pack, and his Precision Sports practice, has changed the life, and performance of these athletes with a unique approach to sports medicine.
A board certified podiatrist, a Fellow of the American College of Rheumatology and a faculty member of the U.S. Sports Academy, Pack has treated Olympic athletes and helped slumping professionals heal faster, and more importantly, run faster. It’s one of the reasons Georgia Tech recently named him to is new Orthotics and Prostitetics faculty
All from a man who admits when it comes to playing a game “I can’t catch a ball.”
At 5’7” and 155 pounds Lou Pack is not an imposing figure. Honestly, he could probably fit his head in one of Anderson’s shoes. But it’s a head full of innovation and constant thought. Pack never stops thinking.
It was that innovation that led him to begin to perceive the human body in a different manner. Pack’s work has led to great strides in pain relief, especially with arthritis simply by helping the body reconfigure itself.
“God didn’t make any body structure perfect. Any degree you’re off decreases your performance and increases your risk of injury.”
“We’re not symmetrical.”
So he begins with a base. Utilizing knowledge from several medical disciplines, Pack examines bone structures, especially in the feet, and builds from there. After blowing his Achilles tendon Spikes came to Pack. A few months later, in what some said was a career ending injury, he was back on the field.
In most cases Pack uses a specially designed insert to establish a firm base. Once the inserts are specifically engineered, Pack says the solid base, the efficient manner of walking and stepping allows athletes to generate more power and speed with an effortless and correct motion. Feet, he says, “are the foundation of a building.” And these aren’t standard inserts. Each foot is measured, each leg is measured. Pack painstakingly, with an engineer’s precision, turns those measurements into precise instruments. These don’t come from a drug store.
“Inserts are a catch–all term,” he says. “They (patients) don’t know what they’re getting. That’s one of the things I want to do… set up some standardization.”
“Every person who picks up a club is more out of balance than they should be.”
Pack has a secret. He was worked with notable professionals who won’t send a picture, or shoes, or an autographed baseball. “They’re trying to keep an edge,” he says. “I can’t talk about them.”
These include golfers, track stars and budding talents.
For Pack, it’s all a bit much. Howard invites him to batting practice to check out his swing. Anderson brings a posse that fills the office. But that isn’t the picture the doctor keeps coming back to. There is another.
Out of a drawer Pack pulls a digital image of a elderly woman. All that is visible is her knees. He’s proud of this one. She came to him with arthritis pain. She came after having replaced two knees and both hips. She came to himbarely able to walk. “Wear and tear on joints as you get older is just like getting gray hair and wrinkles and abnormal structure causes more stress on a joint.”
Pack worked with the 76–year–old woman. She left pain free. She left with a new hero.
“If you see a lady who you can give her life, back without pain, it’s truly gratifying.”