Weslaco Football Player First in RGV to Try New Rehab Method

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WESLACO - Athletic training continues to evolve. A groundbreaking therapy helped save a season at Weslaco High School.

“Two or three weeks after the season ended last year I started feeling pain in my knee, so I went to get it checked out,” said Jordan Nichols

Doctors found he had a torn lateral meniscus, which meant he needed surgery. Nichols said he was scared before the surgery, but he know he would get through it eventually with the support of his coaches, teammates, family and friends.

Around the same time the surgery was done, Dr. Kenneth McCleary discovered a rehab that could potentially cut recovery time. It's called blood flow restriction with exercise.

Last year, the Houston Texans became the first NFL team to use it with Jadeveon Clowney.

Nichols explained, “(The doctor) puts the tourniquet around your thigh, and it's a tube that connects to the machine and to the tourniquet. The tube gets pressurized, and it goes into the tourniquet. And it squeezes your legs, so there's no circulation in your leg."

Dr. McCleary explained, "Initially, when you put the tourniquet on it's a unique sensation, so I think initially he was a little bit cautious. But after he started exercising, he really liked it, because he could see he was getting these fatiguing workouts without having to load the limb up and in a short period of time. This was originally developed in San Antonio in the United States at least. This is something bodybuilders have been using in Japan since the 60s. Jordan was the first athlete here in the Rio Grande Valley to utilize it.”

The doctor said recovery time takes between from one to four months. But with the help of the new therapy, Nichols completed rehab in six weeks. It was just in time for fall camp.

Nichols said, "It's honestly breathtaking how fast I came back. I'm really thankful for physical therapist Kenneth for giving me the chance to come back."