IRVING, Texas -- Ballet and football don’t seem to go together, but the Dallas Cowboys are hoping the combination helps in their quest to lessen their hamstring injuries.
The team has installed ballet bars outside the locker room at three different heights for players to use for extra stretching.
Associate athletic trainer Britt Brown, “told me, ‘You know, that’s going up for you,’ and he started laughing,” safety Matt Johnson said. “If they work, we’ll do whatever it takes.”
Johnson did not play in a game as a rookie in 2012 mostly because of hamstring injuries. He did not play in 2014 because of a foot injury. Miles Austin, Morris Claiborne, Dwayne Harris, Justin Durant, Sean Lee, Bruce Carter, Lance Dunbar, Danny McCray, Gavin Escobar and Barry Church were among those missing games or practices with hamstring injuries last season.
"We’ve put an emphasis on addressing, as an organization, some of the injuries that we’ve had,” coach Jason Garrett said.
The Cowboys have also changed their pre-practice stretching routine, as well going through what Garrett called a "dynamic warmup." Johnson said strength and conditioning coach Mike Woicik used a similar routine with the New England Patriots.
"Typically we’ve done kind of the old team stretch, and we’re experimenting with dynamic warm-up -- stuff that I’ve done, other coaches have done in the past,” Garrett said. “You try to be innovative, you try to evolve, you get feedback from players, feedback from coaches, we’re just trying to help our players get themselves more ready to practice and hopefully stay healthier over time."