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Thread: Lindenwood’s Helmick Turning Heads at Rams Camp

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    Lindenwood’s Helmick Turning Heads at Rams Camp

    Shane Gray provides special Rams commentaries on 101sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ShaneGmoSTLRams.

    Earning a regular-season NFL roster spot, even after a prestigious NCAA Division I career, is a rare and remarkable feat. Making a successful jump from the NCAA Division II level, though, is an even more daunting and difficult task. Nonetheless, that is exactly what Kansas City native and former Lindenwood University standout Andrew Helmick is trying to do – and expecting to do – with the St. Louis Rams.

    If successful, Helmick would join a proud collection of Division II alumni who have successfully transitioned to the NFL. It is a group spearheaded by NFL Hall of Famers Walter Payton, Shannon Sharpe, John Randle, Darrell Green and John Stallworth. On a more local and current level, Helmick would join D-II products like Missouri Western State’s Greg Zuerlein and Abilene Christian’s Daryl Richardson as regular-season Rams.

    If he makes it, Helmick has fellow wide receivers Austin Pettis and Chris Givens to thank – at least in part.

    “If you watch when the ones come out, when the twos go in and when the threes come up (during practice), Austin Pettis could be catching his blow before he has to go back in,” Helmick said, “but instead he’s standing behind the huddle and making sure everyone knows what they got so we can play fast.

    “And Chris (Givens) gave me his phone number after OTAs, and he was able to help me and let me know some things you can do for conditioning and getting in the playbook. These guys are definitely always here to give you advice.”

    From the look of the early returns, the veteran advice appears to have been well received. Thus far, Helmick has been making the massive move from undrafted D-II player to the NFL as seamlessly as could realistically be expected.

    This time last year, Helmick was ramping up to run roughshod over the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA), one of the nation’s premier D-II football conferences. By the end of the season, the 6-0, 190-pound Helmick had posted 87 receptions for 1,456 yards and 18 touchdowns.

    And even though Helmick’s steller play garnered attention from pro scouts, he failed to receive a draft day call and went unsigned until finally landing with St. Louis in the middle of May – some two weeks after most undrafted rookie free agents had locked up deals. Having signed late, it admittedly left Helmick behind on the learning curve heading into organized team activities (OTAs).

    “For OTAs, I came a little later so I got a little behind in the playbook,” Helmick said. “I wasn’t really as comfortable and couldn’t play as fast as I thought I really could so when we had that month off, as much as the physical standpoint came, I was in the playbook just as much trying to get it down to where it was second nature. I was able to practice the routes so that when I came out here (for training camp) I could play full speed and just let it happen.”

    Through the early days of camp, playing fast is exactly what Helmick has done – showing good burst in and out of his cuts while exhibiting the speed that saw at least two teams clock him as fast as the mid-4.3s at his pro day.

    In addition to showing off his fleet feet, Helmick has displayed soft hands and a propensity for beating his man to make plays – none more impressive than a crowd-pleasing, one-handed ooh and ahh generating touchdown grab on Friday afternoon.

    Helmick himself has likened his skill set to Victor Cruz of the New York Giants and former St. Louis wideout Danny Amendola. As for comparisons to former Rams receivers, Helmick is reminiscent of Kevin Curtis – because of his aforementioned top-tier speed – and the diminutive Amendola – due to his grit, size and resolute persona.

    “I hate to lose,” Helmick said, emphatically. “I don’t care what it is. It can seriously be just sitting in the player’s lounge playing cards or playing ping-pong. I don’t care what it is, I hate to lose. So when we go one-on-ones, I want to win and I want to dominate the guy across from me. When we go pass, if I get open, I’m frustrated if I don’t make a play. I mean just every snap. If I’m blocking, I want to just drive my guy out of the play.

    “It’s just my competitive nature to want to be the best. I don’t want people to just say, oh, he’s good for a D-II football player, I want people to say, man, that’s an NFL wide receiver no matter what level he came from.”

    If successful in his quest for a professional football gig, Helmick would join three-time Pro Bowl selectee Rod Smith of Missouri Southern State as another former MIAA receiver to have victoriously navigated his way onto the nation’s largest and most visible sporting stage – the NFL’s.

    Although it is very early in camp and countless multitudes of NFL hopefuls have started strong before eventually fading and never earning a regular-season roster designation, Helmick seems to possess the physical skills and football pedigree to keep pushing his way toward the fulfillment of his dream.

    To reach that dream, however, he will need to overcome some lengthy odds.

    The Rams will likely only keep six wide receivers on the final roster, at most. With five spots essentially already spoken for (Austin Pettis, Chris Givens, Brian Quick, Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey), only one vacancy, at best, likely remains. If unsuccessful in earning an active roster spot, though, Helmick might still be able to reel in a practice squad assignment.

    Helmick, for his part, is taking his strong start in stride and realizes that a fast start is just that – only a beginning. He recognizes that his journey toward a highly-coveted NFL roster spot has just begun.

    “I’m feeling pretty good right now, but it’s a long camp and there’s still a lot of practices left to go,” Helmick said. “I love the competition out here. At this level, you have to want to compete because the guys across from you are awesome football players. The defense is made up of a bunch of great guys, but when we got on the field we might be on the same team but we are competing for a spot on this roster and that’s really what it’s all about.”

    Helmick’s collegiate experience at returner could be an asset in his roster spot chase, as could his willingness to do whatever it takes to earn the job – and that includes helping out with water-boy duties.

    “I’m comfortable wherever they put me so I can make this team,” Helmick said. “I don’t care if it’s as gunner or water-boy, I’m comfortable there.”


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    Re: Lindenwood’s Helmick Turning Heads at Rams Camp

    rootin for this guy

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    Re: Lindenwood’s Helmick Turning Heads at Rams Camp

    Just read today from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch buried in one of their other stories:

    "Lindenwood product Andrew Helmick expected to miss a few weeks with a hamstring injury"

    That'll hurt his chances. Definitely rooting for this guy though.

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    Re: Lindenwood’s Helmick Turning Heads at Rams Camp

    Very disappointed to learn about Helmick's hammy injury on Monday.

    Still wishing him the best. No doubt, this young man has talent and character. Below, nice one-handed TD catch during TC practice.

    Last edited by RealRam; -07-31-2013 at 02:14 PM. Reason: Talent, character.

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    Re: Lindenwood’s Helmick Turning Heads at Rams Camp

    Regarding the common hamstring pull for those of us that are not sports medicine specialists.

    If Andrew Helmick overcomes this challenge - depending on the severity of his case - then the man is gutsy and dedicated - on top of being scrappy!


    Hamstring Strain (Pulled Hamstring)
    Part I of II



    A hamstring strain is a common injury involving a tear in one or more of the hamstring muscles. A pulled hamstring can range from mild to very severe involving a complete tear of the muscle.


    Pulled hamstring symptoms

    One of the most obvious symptoms of a hamstring strain is a sudden sharp pain at the back of the leg during exercise, most probably during sprinting or high speed movements. Depending on how bad the injury is the athlete will usually have to stop immediately and further participation in training or sport difficult or impossible. Often the athlete will try to play on with a pulled hamstring but this is one injury where it just isn't possible.

    Pulled hamstrings are graded 1, 2 or 3 depending on severity. Grade 1 consists of minor tears within the muscle. A grade 2 is a partial tear in the muscle and grade 3 is a severe or complete rupture of the muscle.



    Grade 1 Hamstring strain

    With a grade 1 hamstring strain the athlete may have tightness in back of the thigh but will be able to walk normally. They will be aware of some discomfort and unable to operate at full speed. There will be little swelling and trying to bend the knee against resistance is unlikely to reproduce much pain.

    Grade 2 Hamstring strain

    With a grade 2 hamstring strain the athletes gait will be affected and they will most likely be limping. Sudden twinges of pain during activity will be present. They may notice some swelling and pain will be reproduced when pressing in on the hamstring muscle as well as trying to bend the knee against resistance.

    Grade 3 Hamstring strain

    A grade 3 hamstring strain is a severe injury involving a tear to half or all of the muscle. The athlete may need crutches to walk and will feel severe pain and weakness in the muscle. Swelling will be noticeable immediately and bruising will usually appear within 24 hours.


    Hamstring strain causes

    The hamstring muscle group consists of three separate muscles; the Semitendinosus, Semimembranosus and Biceps Femoris. During sprinting the hamstring muscles work extremely hard to decelerate the tibia (shin bone) as it swings out. It is in this phase just before the foot strikes the ground that the hamstrings become injured as the muscles are working hardest and approaching their maximum length.

    A pulled hamstring rarely manifests as a result of contact. If you have taken an impact to the back of the leg it should be treated as a contusion until found to be otherwise. A strained or pulled hamstring as it is sometimes called is a tear in one or more of the hamstring muscles. Strictly speaking there are three hamstring muscles, the Semitendinosus, Semimembranosus and Biceps Femoris.



    Problems with the lower back and pelvis may increase the likelyhood of suffering a hamstrings strain and should always be considered, particularly for recurrent hamstring injuries.



    Pulled hamstring treatment


    It is vitally important that treatment for a hamstring strain starts immediately following injury. See hamstring strain rehab (Part II below) for a full hamstring strain rehab program.


    What can the athlete do?

    The most important phase for treatment is the first 48 hours post-injury. In this time the following can be carried out by the athlete themselves:

    * Apply Cold Therapy immediately for 10-15 minutes and repeat this every hour for the first day. After this, every 2-3 hours is sufficient.

    * Use a compression bandage to minimize intra muscular bleeding and swelling.

    * Rest as much as possible with the leg elevated.

    * Stretching exercises should be done but only when pain allows. It is likely that strengthening exercises will be possible before the leg is ready for stretching.

    * Strengthening exercises should be done as soon as pain allows. Mobility exercises can help with decreasing the swelling in the area. Strengthening exercises will gradually increase the load through the muscle.


    What can a Sports Injury Specialist do?

    * Advise on a full hamstring strain rehab program such as that developed for us by Premiership Football Physiotherapist Neal Reynolds.

    * Use sports massage for hamstrings to speed up recovery. Sports massage is important in the treatment and rehab of hamstring muscle injuries as massage helps correct new muscle fiber realignment and minimizes scar tissue. In addition massage can increase the blood flow to the injured area.

    * Use ultrasound and other forms of electrotherapy are often used as part of pulled hamstring treatment to aid the healing process and reduce swelling.

    * Provide mobility aids such as crutches particularly if the hamstring strain is severe. Resting is important.

    * Provide an MRI scan to ascertain the amount of damage sustained.

    * In severe ruptures surgery may be needed to repair the muscle damage.

    Source: SportsInjury.net; AidYourHamstring.com
    Last edited by RealRam; -07-31-2013 at 03:09 PM. Reason: Additional source

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    Re: Lindenwood’s Helmick Turning Heads at Rams Camp

    No wonder this may take 3 or 4 weeks to recover from, possibly 5 weeks? As expected, Helmick might end up in the practice squad.


    Hamstring Strain (Pulled Hamstring)
    Rehab Program / Part II of II




    Premiership Physiotherapist Neal Reynolds has produced a step by step rehab program based around four elements: Healing, Stretching, Strengthening and maintaining Aerobic fitness. Here we outline the aims of rehab and how the program is structured.


    The following guidelines are for information purposes only. We recommend seeking professional advice before attempting rehabilitation.

    Aims of rehabilitation

    The aims of this pulled hamstring rehab program are to reduce pain and inflammation, improve flexibility and muscle condition, increase the load through the hamstring muscle gradually to a level where the athlete can return to full fitness training and match play.

    The hamstring strain rehab program is based around four elements or strands. The athlete will progress at different rates depending on the severity of the injury and the athlete themselves. The program is based on what a full time professional footballer might do with all the time and resources available they need. Where the athlete starts along each stage will also depend on how old the injury is and how bad it is when beginning rehab.


    Healing

    This element is the treatment side of rehab and includes cold therapy or ice, electrotherapy such as Ultrasound or laser, deep tissue sports massage and heat.

    Healing is split into three stages:

    * Phase 1 is the acute stage and can last 3 to 4 days.

    * Phase 2 is the sub acute stage lasting anything from 10 days to 2 weeks depending on severity.

    * Phase 3 is the final stage returning back to full fitness.


    Stretching

    * Hamstring stretching begins with very gentle static stretches initially moving onto more dynamic sports specific stretches as the injury heals.

    * Different stretches will target the muscle in different ways depending on exactly where the muscle tear is. Some hamstring strains are nearer the knee and others may be higher up in the muscle.


    Strengthening

    * Hamstring muscle strengthening is thought of in terms of gradually increasing the load on the muscle.

    * Strengthening exercises should always be done pain free. If it hurts then it isn't helping.

    * In the early stages of hamstring rehabilitation basic static exercises are done often using a therapist or partner to provide resistance. These will progress to more sports specific and demanding exercises as the muscle strengthens.


    Aerobic fitness

    * When an athlete is injured it is important to maintain fitness as much as possible for physical as well as physiological reasons. With a hamstring strain it will be impossible to run so our progressive program starts with arm bikes for athletes with severe muscle strains and builds up.

    * Later in the rehab program timed shuttle runs and sprints like professional footballer would be expected to be able to do are included. It is important to progress this far before returning to competitive matches or re-injury is likely.


    Source: Same
    Last edited by RealRam; -07-31-2013 at 03:59 PM. Reason: Format

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    Re: Lindenwood’s Helmick Turning Heads at Rams Camp

    oh god no don't stretch it!
    thoey likes this.

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    Re: Lindenwood’s Helmick Turning Heads at Rams Camp

    Quote Originally Posted by citr92 View Post
    oh god no don't stretch it!
    Been there, done that, and it HURTS!
    This space for rent...

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    Re: Lindenwood’s Helmick Turning Heads at Rams Camp

    Quote Originally Posted by thoey View Post
    Been there, done that, and it HURTS!
    static stretching is horrible enough...but to try to HEAL a TORN muscle??? Well...strained...but it's still torn...you know how it was torn? By STRETCHING too much!!

    come on modern medicine catch on...

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    Re: Lindenwood’s Helmick Turning Heads at Rams Camp


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    Re: Lindenwood’s Helmick Turning Heads at Rams Camp

    Quote Originally Posted by Citr92 View Post
    Come on modern medicine catch on...
    LOL! Good one...


    Seriously though, it is almost a paradox that hammy injuries often occur due too excessive stretch!




    Unfortunately for Helmick, it's mentioned here such injuries can take one off one's feet for weeks.
    Last edited by RealRam; -07-31-2013 at 07:33 PM. Reason: YT

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