Brian Catania, MPT, SCS, ATC, is a physical therapist and site manager of ChristianaCare Rehabilitation Services at Glasgow who has attracted national attention for trailblazing new types of therapy. Routinely sought after for media interviews, Brian co-created the Core Sling System which has been used to prevent and reduce injuries by athletes across the country, including the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams. This research has been published in The New York Times Well Section and as a cover story in the Philadelphia Inquirer Health Section. Skilled at synthesizing complex health information to make it relatable to the public, Brian even wrote, directed, and starred in the educational play called “Naked Brains on Stage” to highlight the care available for those recovering from a concussion.
Areas of Expertise (8)
Healthcare Leadership & Management
Core Sling System
University of Delaware: Master's Degree, Physical Therapy 2001
University of Maryland: University of Maryland at College Park, Biology 1999
Media Appearances (7)
For a Stable, Strong Core, Forget About Crunches
The New York Times print
Think of the core as a cylinder, said Brian Catania, a physical therapist at ChristianaCare Rehabilitation Services in Newark, Del. “It wraps 360 degrees, and all of those muscles interact with each other in a systematic way.” It’s the oblique muscles, which connect the lower rib cage to the pelvis on each side of the body, that rotate and flex the trunk and spine. One critical component missing in most core routines is rotation, Mr. Catania said. Many athletic activities, including tennis, baseball and Premier League penalty kicks, involve rotating the body. So do daily motions like loading the dishwasher and shoveling snow, along with walking and running. A small study conducted by Mr. Catania and Travis Ross, another physical therapist at ChristianaCare, found that core exercises incorporating rotation strengthen the obliques better than more traditional exercises like situps and planks. Rotation exercises also strengthen the multifidi, which is important because strength in these muscles protects against back injury, Mr. Ross said. Mr. Ross and Mr. Catania designed a set of seven core rotation exercises which Mr. Hernandez has incorporated into pre-practice and pre-game training with the Rams.
These physical therapists have a new approach for strengthening the core, and the NFL is taking notice
The Philadelphia Inquirer online
Exercises that rotate the spine have been a source of controversy among athletic trainers, with some arguing that the lumbar spine — the five vertebrae centered on the belly button — can be harmed in the process. Catania and Ross say their regimen is carefully designed to rotate muscles higher in the torso, along the thoracic vertebrae and rib cage, while the lumbar spine remains in a relatively neutral position.
NFL puts core strengthening program of Delaware therapists in its playbook
Catania acknowledges the exercises are arduous — his wife reminds him all the time after she performs some — but says clients and even his spouse find them effective and worthwhile. “Once they experience it and feel the difference and see how it can help them, the buy-in comes,’’ Catania said. “But it is hard.”
ChristianaCare exercise routine tested at UD used by Rams, Ravens
Delaware Live online
Two NFL teams have picked up an exercise routine developed by ChristianaCare physical therapists to reduce muscle injuries and ankle sprains. The routine developed by Brian Catania and Travis Ross was published in the Journal of Sports Rehabilitation in March, after seven years of work.
New technique to prevent muscle injuries gets NFL’s attention
Delaware Public Media online
Catania says they presented their findings to NFL trainers. "They were doing a whole series on the spine and felt like the core was an important component of that, so they asked if we would present it at their symposium in March of 2021," Catania said.
Trailblazing treatment by ChristianaCare physical therapists catches attention of NFL
“We reasoned that if we could identify ways to improve the strength of the core muscles, common lower extremity injuries would be less likely to occur,” said Catania, who also is the program manager at ChristianaCare’s Rehabilitation Services location in Glasgow. “But it had to be a two-part approach. We needed to develop a reliable screening tool to examine the core muscles and then also come up with a targeted exercise program to strengthen those muscles.”
Delaware Athletic Trainers' Innovative Work Catches the Attention of the NFL
The innovative work of two Delaware athletic trainers is catching the attention of the NFL. NBC10’s Tim Furlong explains why.