Contact Us

Book Now


Nov 30, 2022

How Sports PTs Can Elevate Elite Athletes with Michael Burton of KC Chiefs

Share this episode

Read the conversation below

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Welcome to the True Sports Physical Therapy Podcast. Really excited to have Mike Burton here.

Mike Burton: Thank you, Yoni, for having me on. I really appreciate it. Thank you guys for taking the listen. Yes, like Yoni said, my name is Michael Burton, currently the fullback for the Kansas City Chiefs. I attended Rutgers University where I played football there. I entered the NFL in 2015 where I was a fifth round draft pick. I spent two years with the Detroit Lions, two with the Chicago Bears, one with the Washington Commanders, one with the New Orleans Saints, now on my second year at the Kansas City Chiefs.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: That's a hell of a history. Tell us the important stuff like the way you got in to Rutgers. What took you to Rutgers? 

Mike Burton: Oddly enough, it was Lacrosse that took me to Rutgers where I was offered a scholarship, where I turned it down.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: What kind of scholarship? 

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Full Ride.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Okay.

Mike Burton: Where I turned it down to play football. Football was always my passion. It's something I wanted to do for as long as I could remember. I had a few scholarships coming out of high school. No Division one, but I knew that I wanted to play at the highest level, which in my mind was a Division one not to knock any of the smaller schools. But I just wanted that challenge of playing at that level and ended up having an opportunity to walk on at Rutgers and very thankful that I did that.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: That's crazy to hear. Don't belittle that. You and I talk about this all the time. For this audience, it's amazing to hear. You were accepted, Full Ride obviously to play Lacrosse at Rutgers, but you followed your passion and took a massive risk to follow that passion. So a walk on at Rutgers five years later, you're drafted. You're going into year?

Mike Burton: Eight. In year eight.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: You're in year eight.

Mike Burton: Yes.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: You're in your bi-week thanks for joining us on your bi-week.

Mike Burton: Absolutely.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: That's insane. What allowed you to be that successful while following your passion? 

Mike Burton: I think really what allowed me to follow my passion was the support from my family. My parents... To be able to turn down a Full Ride, to turn down a free education, to tell my parents, hey, for the first semester or two, it might have to come out-of-pocket before I earn that scholarship, which I ended up doing in 2012, my sophomore year. It really just came down to them giving me that green light and believing in me.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: And you believing in yourself.

Mike Burton: And believing in myself, but for me, I've always been... What's motivated me is fighting for the people that believe in me and not so much those doubters and naysayers that say I can't do it. I'm much more motivated by those close to me that say, hey, you could do this, I believe in you. And proving them right as opposed to proving doubters wrong.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Love it. That's certainly a unique take. I always try to pull this back into our sports PTs that are listening, which is so often you come out of graduate school with your doctorate, a PT, and you take the path of least resistance. You take your highest paying salary job. And sometimes it's a matter of taking a leap, believing in yourself, or really just following your passion to get into the sports world. And so remember, you're talking to a big audience of people who have taken that leap. I think the crossover is really clear that it's like this in every profession. I say this a lot while I've been doing this podcast. It's like to hear a pro athlete take those leaps, what can we learn from that and take into our daily? That's one of the reasons I'm so excited to have you on is 'cause what a crazy leap that was for you to walk away from that.

Mike Burton: I think it was one of those situations where I just had a bigger picture. I thought going to Rutgers, being in that type of program with former NFL coaches on staff, talking with a lot of former NFL players, current NFL players at the time when I was on there in visits, I'm like, "Hey, I want to go to the NFL. I want to play in the NFL." Well, I got coaches on staff that have coached in the NFL. I'm talking to players right now who went to Rutgers who are in the NFL. And not that you can't go to the NFL from other schools, obviously you can. But when I was visiting there and going to their camps and just had this vibe that, "Hey, this seems like this is my best chance." So it might be a situation where I'm taking a few steps back and leaving money on the table, but it's to take five, six, seven steps forward into the future. And just having that big picture I think was really important.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Into season eight, okay, that's awesome. So obviously the comparison, it's a little bit loose, but there's certainly something that we can learn from that risk you took. I'm always trying to pull it back to sports PT. So that's certainly worthwhile. Now what I wanted to get in with you today is, with the high level athletes that I've been working with, the professional athletes, it's always so interesting to me to hear the levels of care that you guys get and the structure around the way you train and the way you work in the weight room and trying to use the weight room to better the product on the field. I was really shocked when I first got into working with high level athletes 'cause I was always of the opinion from the outside looking in, that you guys are getting cutting edge stuff. And then as I started to work with athletes long before I met you, I started to realize it's not always there. And a lot of that is because there's so many athletes in this weight room. There's so many athletes in the training room. How do you provide these high levels of care at scale to all of these athletes that are in there, especially pre-season when you have a roster of what, 90 before you start making cuts? I think that's even higher now.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: How do you staff that? How do you staff that appropriately? So what I wanted to do with you, Mike, was tell you how I would structure a professional sports organization, not necessarily NFL, but we can talk a little bit specifically NFL. And I just wanted your take because you're a guy who knows strength and conditioning. You're a guy who knows rehabilitation and prehabilitation. What's realistic? What's a benefit? Hey, you could totally tell me, dude, we do all this so nice try. Or you could say it's not even realistic, whatever. So here's the way I would structure. You ready? 

Mike Burton: Yes.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: I want to put, and I always want to do this in my own practice. I want to set people up for success. And so I want to put people working with in their point of expertise. So I want to take the head of sports performance, he's got to be able to speak everyone's language. And this is a guy who's going to run the entire thing. And I'm going to call him, he's the chief of sports performance. So his background is going to be, he's going to have a doctorate in physical therapy. He's going to be a CSCS. He's going to have experience as a sports scientist, looking at data, aggregating data, making decisions on data. And this guy is your point guy. Let's call him chief of sports performance. Have you seen anyone that looks like that, that has a role like that in your vast experience? 

Mike Burton: So we certainly have individuals who have all those credentials. To see one person who has all those, not sure I've come across that yet, but we definitely have those credentials among different people within the building.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Okay. And I think the guy who's going to coordinate this whole thing should have those. They're definitely out there, especially like as PT starts to get more sports specific, they have an SCS specialization where they're really geared towards sports and they did a residency in that. Certainly, the data is out there. So you have the data analysts and the scientists that are able to put together that data. They're out there. I've met them. That's who I want running the entire point. Then under them, I'm going to have a director of rehabilitation. That's a doctor of physical therapy. He should have some strength background. He should have worked with guys like you and that's going to be position one. He's going to be in charge of all rehab. Then I'm going to have a separate director of sports science. He's going to be in charge of all your GPS metrics. He's going to be in charge of all your force plates. He's going to coordinate return to sport. He's your sports science. Then I'm going to have a separate director of S&C, strength coach, and then I'm going to have director of athletic training. And that's my hierarchy. Is it possible? Let's start there.

Mike Burton: Each team, like I said before, we have those roles. I don't know if we have those three or four director titles that you had mentioned, but we certainly have those types of people in the building doing those types of jobs. I think one thing that made me think of what you just mentioned was, how hands on are these directors? A lot of these, you go to school to get these degrees, you study these tests to get these qualifications, get these credentials, and then are you just sitting behind a desk doing paperwork? How hands on, if you have all those different roles, how hands on can you actually be? And I think that's a question, I know you said those people are out there, but are they willing to not be hands on with these elite level athletes? Are they willing to just be the note takers and just report upwards to the superiors rather than being in the nitty gritty with the athletes? I think that's a question to ask.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: That's a great question.

Mike Burton: 'Cause I know for you, you're a huge hands on.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: I love it.

Mike Burton: I love it.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: And I love treating hands on, but also I love management. I love growing. I love creating ladders for people to climb within my company. I think that's what this is. If you're director of sports science, you're the top dog as pertains to sports science, you will be running those data analytics, but you're also going to have a team that you're leading. So I see it as a way to... For me, that scratches both itch is. That hits, I can get it from both sides in the sense that now I can do both. I can manage just like I do now. I can manage and I love that part of it, but I can also treat a Michael Burton, work with a Michael Burton. So it's the best of both worlds. I think it also builds in a ladder where you can keep great talent. You get these guys coming out of school that are unbelievably prepared. Let's bring them into the fold. You're going to come play for the True Sports Ravens and in this organization, you're going to be able to grow into a director role. You're going to be able to work. You're going to be able to get increased knowledge. You're going to be around the world's best athletes. So that's the way I look at this entire hierarchy and performance division of an organization. Come on, give me feedback on that.

Mike Burton: It's certainly very interesting. I think there are some benefits to it for sure. I wonder though, staff wise, just how many of these directors, what do they have behind.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: How many do they need, how many do they need?

Mike Burton: Four, is it three or four, then you're talking about a staff of you could be doubling, tripling the amount of employees versus what is the norm right now. How does that work? What does that look like type of thing? Not saying it can't be done.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: It would be.

Mike Burton: But that would be something that is new for sure. And then I guess...

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Hold on, let me respond to that because that's a fascinating point and a conversation that I always have. Let's say I added a number of employees. Let's say these employees, let's say I added for sake of argument 10 employees to a structure than what is currently existing to fill this whole thing, 10 employees. Let's say they're making 70 to 100 grand. Let's say I just added a million dollars sprinkled across all those to your wages. Mike Burton misses a game. What's he costing the franchise? 

Mike Burton: Me? 

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Don't answer that. A quarterback misses a game, God forbid. What's he costing the franchise? How much is one win worth in the NFL? How much is a win worth in the big leagues? These are worth millions of dollars. By the way, what about the guaranteed money in these contracts? Guy tears a rotator cuff and he's a pitcher and he's done. He's not going to perform at the same level. What did that just cost the Yankees?

Mike Burton: I agree with you. Wins at any professional level are massive.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Can this structure, can a structure.

Mike Burton: Can a structure, does this structure, but does more employees lead to a better structure? 

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Not necessarily, no.

Mike Burton: I guess that was my point. My question was, okay, you have these directors, but does that necessarily keep the quarterbacks, the pitchers, the point guards, point guards in the NBA? 

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Yep, fullbacks.

Mike Burton: Your top guys back on the field? I think the communication integration between these two models, I think is the most important thing. I think that is where you'd see an elevation in a team's performance is how well can both sides communicate and integrate both the sports science world or the sports med world and then the sports performance world. I think that's a huge factor in this role right here. And then you have a director, you said you have a director of DPT. Your chief director is also DPT. Is that necessary to have two of those qualifications on staff? 

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Is it redundant? Yep.

Mike Burton: Yeah, redundant. It's just a question.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: That's a great question.

Mike Burton: Is it?

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Yeah, it's a great question. I think the way you look at that is the guy at the top, the guy who's overseeing the whole thing, your chief of sports performance, he has to be able to understand what a PT does. He has to be able to understand what a strength coach does. He has to understand the science. He has to understand what's asked of them. He has to understand their education so he can coordinate. That's the job of the chief.

Mike Burton: Is the chief writing the workout plans?

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Hell no.

Mike Burton: He's not?

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: No.

Mike Burton: He's not writing the rehab plans? 

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: No, he's overseeing it.

Mike Burton: He's overseeing it.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Yeah.

Mike Burton: So in a sense, he's not writing it, but he's okaying it. So his hands are on it.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Yep.

Mike Burton: Okay. So he's just aware. He's not writing it, but he's aware.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: He's coordinating, right?

Mike Burton: He's coordinating. Yeah.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: He's coordinating. I think you make an awesome point. You're only as good as your level of coordination and communication.

Mike Burton: Right. 100%.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: And how do you facilitate that? That's true for any business. That's true for any job.

Mike Burton: Any job.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: So how do you coordinate and how do you facilitate a breaking down of silos? How do you get everyone on the same page, right? And pull it in the same direction? And that is a huge missing piece of why sports rehab all over the place, but especially at the professional sports level, fails. No one's talking to the other one. I'm not saying it's always like this, but it's a major problem to have these turf wars. And you see it happen in the professional organization. You see it happen on the outside. All the times I get chiropractors that do not work at True Sports questioning what True Sports does. And I'm sure sports rehab guys that work for us are doing the same thing at chiros. When those two entities work together, you know who wins? The patient.

Mike Burton: Yeah, the athlete.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: And the athlete. Exactly, and how do we make this an athlete focused endeavor? Because that's what leads to wins. I want Mike Burton's shoulder to be working as effectively as possible because it makes sense for the Chiefs to have Michael Burton on the field. That's why they're paying you. So that you can win. That's the idea behind the structure. And listen, that's a culture thing that starts from top down. It's got to be set up appropriately. The right pieces have to be there, but that's why I think, that's why I'm making, belaboring the point of that's why he has all these backgrounds so he can speak everyone's language. You with me? 

Mike Burton: Yeah, absolutely.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: You're spending those extra 700 grand if you're the owner to put together a team like this? 

Mike Burton: It's definitely a team full of people who have the credentials, who are qualified. So again, I think it could be very beneficial. It more so goes back to how are they communicating, how are they integrating, and what does that look like, their plan of doing that type of thing.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Right. And so you and I are always talking about sports science and the interplay between PT and strength and sports science. And one of the biggest things that you brought up is when the hell is this happening? 'Cause walk me through a day as a professional fullback with the Chiefs, just in terms of meetings and scheduling and practice times. What does that look like? What time do you get to the facility?

Mike Burton: Yeah, I get to the facility around 6 A.M usually. That's when I start my day watching film, start getting in the tubs, workout, lift, that type of stuff. And then breakfast, meetings, right from meetings right to practice, then right from our meetings to walk through to practice and then back to meetings and then finish the day with some recovery and stuff like that. So a lot of time spent in season, the emphasis is going to be on those meetings and the playbook and the plays and the upcoming game plan for the game practice. That's kind of where that emphasis takes presence. Whereas the off-season is more geared towards your... Not that it's not... It doesn't take a backseat to say, I don't like to say that, strength and conditioning, sports performance, all that kind of stuff is still very important in season to keep your gains and your speed and your conditioning. But you add in the layer of game planning and preparing for a game in season, it just changes how your off-season program might look like.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: So you're only as successful in as well prepared as you are. You can be as healthy as you want and as strong and as fast as you want, but if you don't have the game plan down, that doesn't help anyone. So the focus obviously is on game planning in season. It's also, you can't execute the game plan if you're not healthy. So that has to come in tandem. And I think that's why you make an awesome point is there's only so much time. So I lay all this fancy crap out for you and you're like, "Dude, there's no time." We don't have time for that. And my counterpoint to that is how can we get tight and efficient around these things? And so what I'm pushing for is I want you part of your 6:00 AM routine. When's lift standardly?

Mike Burton: Usually in the morning before practice.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Okay. Let's say what time?

Mike Burton: It could be, there's different lift groups. You can go before, you can go early, like before meetings. You can go right before practice, so.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Okay. And how long are you lifting, how long is your lift? 

Mike Burton: Hour or so.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: An hour. So before you go in to do your lift, I'm going to ask for a little bit less than 90 seconds from my burn. I'm going to have you pop on some force plates. I'm going to have you throw a Tendo unit onto a bar and I'm just going to look at how rapidly you're producing force, how well you're receiving force. It's going to take 90 seconds. Maybe I have you do a couple of jumps and bang. Now I know what your lift is going to be like based upon that. Doable or not doable?

Mike Burton: Yeah, I think the time, there's 90 seconds.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: 90 seconds.

Mike Burton: It actually took that time.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: 90 seconds.

Mike Burton: Per athlete, so that can tell...

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Yeah, how many people in the group?

Mike Burton: Usually typically we'll split up offensive defense. So for argument's sake, I know it's more than 50, but do 25 and 25.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Okay. 25 and 25 walking into the room. That's not a problem at all. If it takes 90 seconds, you're talking about 20 minutes of 25 minutes of actual screening. If we have three sets of plates up there.

Mike Burton: You have three sets of plates. Okay. You have three guys in there.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Three guys going at once.

Mike Burton: Three guys going at once. Yeah. I think it's doable. It definitely would eat into the time a little bit, but I think it's doable. Now you're saying based on those scores right then and there. That will dictate what the program is.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: So here we go. You pop on there. I get your scores based upon how well you're performing and I compare it to where you were. You're this percent, whatever metric we're using. Here's your lift. It's already written out. You're a little bit left. So it's the same lift, you're just going to change.

Mike Burton: The percentages.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Exactly.

Mike Burton: Or the numbers.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Exactly.

Mike Burton: So everybody's still doing the same lift, but the percentages, numbers, those things are a little bit different based on what those scores were. Okay. Yeah. It's definitely possible logistically. If you could make that work in terms of just not eating into the brunt of the time and the guys sitting in the back aren't doing anything and it's not labeled as wasting time. As long it's efficient and it shows benefits and positives. Guys feel good. The guys are hitting their numbers type of thing, all those types of things then I think it can be beneficial.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Here's what I'm tired. And I think this speaks to, what I'm tired of hearing of what's going on is someone wrote out that lift in the back room. Now it's handed to the athlete and you have a strength coach sitting over there saying, no, no, no, lift says this amount of reps. The athlete's saying, well, I feel like it should be less than that. Or I feel like it should be more. There's so much subjectivity in there. We're just past that as a strength and conditioning community. If we can gather the data efficiently, I can't get more efficient than 90 seconds. And you better believe that then that all comes down to, hey, is this helping our guys stay healthy or not? That's in the data. How many games missed per year? 

Mike Burton: Yeah. I think at the end of the day, I think...

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: That's what it's about.

Mike Burton: I think in season, a lot of the emphasis in the strength and conditioning world is keeping guys healthy. It's keeping guys on the field. It goes back to your point of keeping your most important players, keeping your highest paid players, keeping them all in the field, making sure they're playing. So as long as that wasn't something that could promote injury or anything like that, it's something that could be very helpful because that is the emphasis more in season is just making sure you're staying healthy. You're able to practice because a lot of your time, not only time, but physical energy is spent on practice. So you don't super want to fatigue yourself in the lifts and stuff like that because you do have however long of a practice where you're running through plays and you're sprinting, you're changing direction, you're hitting people, you're moving people. So there's a lot of energy and time spent on that. So it really comes down to, like you said, the weight room. How do you make this as efficient as possible? And it sounds like that could certainly be a play.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Okay. I love it. It's also... You made the point, you were educating me about some of this GPS tracking and stuff that's already there and already being utilized. It goes along the same point, which is that data is already being collected. How much is it affecting what you're doing on a day to day? How much is it affecting what you're doing on a practice field? How much is it affecting with overall workload? That comes back to the communication piece.

Mike Burton: Yeah. I think there's a definitely a play for GPS and these Zebra stats that teams across the board use. It's just a way to track guys who, especially those skill positions. You got guys who are just running and running and you just want to look at their workload to make sure they're not at a point where they might be more likely to sustain a soft tissue injury or something like that. So that information is very usable. It's informative, teams use it and it can be very beneficial. So that's just adding another piece. That's what I like to call that's like on the field stuff. So that's testing metrics on the field. Now what you're talking about is just doing it in the weight room. So it's just, again, it's combining the two and making them work. And again, it's everyone pulling in the same direction and just helping the athlete.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: So when I first met you, when I had to beg you to be my patient, that is what happened. That is what happened.

Mike Burton: No.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Okay. How do you see it? 

Mike Burton: I asked you if you knew of a chiropractor in the area and a massage therapist. You responded with, "Oh, I can do both those things." Very good at manual manipulation. And I can also, I'm very hands on. So that was a way of saying...

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: And you're like, I'm in as long as you give me this t-shirt.

Mike Burton: I could... Yeah, exactly. As long as you give me the gear, which by the way, I didn't receive this for about a year later, but it's a great t-shirt.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Okay. So once I tried to make my case that maybe I could work with you, you said I work with a PT already and that you chose your combine prep based upon their staff. And somehow you figured out that it was important to have a physical therapist involved in that. Right?

Mike Burton: Yeah.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: How do you know that? Because you also hinted at it later when you were like, this PT has to talk to a strength coach and vice versa, and you seem to already have a good grasp on that. So how'd that happen?

Mike Burton: Yeah. So when I was preparing for pro day and combine, I had a lot of great mentors who were currently playing in the NFL, a lot of ex-Rutgers guys and, speaking with them and, and you can even look it up. The NFL is a 100% injury rate. It's not so much a... Unfortunately, it's not so much of a matter of if you're going to get hurt, it's almost when, and I don't even like saying that, but that's a sport that you play. So I say all that because the taking care of your body and having a physical therapist and being able to do prehab, being proactive, not always rehab, but doing prehab stuff, I think is something that's just helped with my longevity.

Mike Burton: So I wanted to start that at a young age. So I went with a sports performance, very similar, very similar type of business that you have right now, just in New Jersey, 'cause that's where I lived at the time, had DPT worked with us every single day. Strength and conditioning coach worked with us every single day. And I still work with those guys till this day. And I just think it was a perfect mix of the science and the performance coming together and doing these corrective exercises, stuff that I hadn't thought about or didn't think about at the time that I think I went into the NFL healthier as if I didn't do that process 'cause you can come in from a college and be pretty banged up. But I went with a rehab performance based combine training facility. And I think I ended up going in relatively healthy.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: And you've obviously kept that level of health all the way through.

Mike Burton: Just I've tried to stay with what I've learned and tried to kind of master that and be able to do things on my own. Now I live in Maryland now and not New Jersey. So I don't have that hands on type of care that I used to have, but I was educated. I asked a lot of questions when I was there and I've been able to carry that with me ever since.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: How'd you find that guy? You just go out and Google that guy?

Mike Burton: No, my agent at the time who I signed with, knew him and it was a connection that they had and I interviewed them to train there and walk through their facility and stuff like that. And after the first conversation I was ready to sign up.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Do you know how the agent knew that outfit?

Mike Burton: I don't. He probably had maybe a few players trained there in the past and got good work, good word and good performances and stuff like that.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Say someone say, which I'm sure there's so many people listening to this that want to work with a Mike Burton for many reasons. How do they do that? How does a PT find the Mike Burton or find what's the name of the agency? Malice?

Mike Burton: Yeah. Malka Sports.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Malka Sports. So how do they do that? 

Mike Burton: How do they work with...

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: How would they get involved with Malka Sports? How do they find Mike Burton? How does a sports PT try to develop this network to work with elite athletes?

Mike Burton: Oh, they DM Yoni in an interview and work at True Sports. So that's the best way to do it because he's working with the best athletes in Maryland right now. You are, right? So I think you...

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: That was not a setup.

Mike Burton: No, it's not. If you work with a PT or if you are a physical therapist who wants to work with athletes and get into that world, I think it's looking at physical therapy businesses and companies like yourself that work with athletes and they put a huge emphasis on sports performance and strengthening and conditioning.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Right. So what's interesting is.

Mike Burton: And just by working there with you or your types of companies, you'll come across high level athletes who have agents and have representation and then it's a trickle down effect. You do well by them, you train them. Oh, hey, just so you know, they go back to their agent, hey, I worked with this PT, he's great. He or she is great. Then they got an athlete coming up in college who's getting ready for pro day for combine training. Hey, just so you know, I represent so and so, he's got a PT at True Sports in Maryland, that's excellent. You might want to do some of your rehab there prior to the pro day, prior to the combine just to make sure you're extra healthy. And then that's kind of how you build out your network.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: And you just never know. So I think that's really good advice. You never know who's listening, who you're helping that might know someone that's going to sing your praises. Case in point, I really met you by rehabbing the best athlete in the Burton Tignola family, which is working with your mother-in-law, who is a unbelievable athlete. But I think that really helped in getting Mike Burton to say, okay, fine, I'll work with...

Mike Burton: Yeah, I think...

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: You just never know.

Mike Burton: There's always that trust and reference, right? You did really well by Pam, who's my mother-in-law, is an unbelievable athlete, she can do head sands for days, it's crazy. You did really well by her, obviously trust her. So when she had mentioned, hey, just so you know, I have a physical therapist who's great, you should think about working with him. And I had just moved down here.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: You should ask him if he knows a chiropractor.

Mike Burton: Yeah, exactly. I had just moved down here and was looking for a place to train and a physical therapist and stuff like that 'cause that's part of my off season routine. And it was just like it felt right into my lap.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Okay. So what's really interesting is, having worked with me a little bit, there have been times when I was out of the office and you worked with another PT within True Sports. And you always came back to me with really rave reviews, which is awesome. Educate the people listening, what is it that was great about those PTs that resonated with you?

Mike Burton: Yeah, I think, and I hate giving him so much credit guys, I really do, but I just, I think you set a standard and expectation of who you're hiring. They have to meet this level, right? 

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: And so what did they do that sat well with you, that made you feel comfortable? Hey, it was a great session. Hey, I'm moving towards my goals for whatever reason you were in for.

Mike Burton: So obviously play football, but this can happen for any sport. When I came in, hey, this is what might be bothering me. This is the sport I play. This is where I need to be at. This is what I need to be able to do in this time period. Let's go. They came up with a plan and it was very functional. I was doing sports specific and at the time football drills, which I could apply to my actual job. Right? And it's one thing to, okay, yeah, I make you feel better, but can you get in this position and make this cut and feel better? Not just, oh, you walk out of here, you're feeling better. No, they put an emphasis. They, the therapist he's speaking of that I've worked with at True Sports, they put emphasis on, okay, you can excel at your sport and feel healthy and feel good doing it. Not just walking out of there and feeling okay. Like it has to be able to apply to the sport in your job.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: So here's the theme that I keep hearing because the success of those sessions of the sessions that you had with a therapist, not myself, came from me calling those guys and saying, dude, you're getting Mike Burton. Here's what he does for a living. Here's what we've done so far. Here's what I think is going on. Have fun. But it was communication. And...

Mike Burton: Just, I gotta come... You just took the words out of my mouth. That's what I go back to the communication.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Communication.

Mike Burton: You guys had spoke prior. So you and a really good therapist, you're obviously a really good therapist. You communicate and what does that create? An amazing situation. But if you didn't communicate that, the first however many session would have been spent, "Hey, what do you do? How long have you had this? What's going on? What has Yoni done?" If you didn't have that, then it would have been delayed effect. It still would have been great, but it would have been delayed. You get what I'm saying? So that communication is huge.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: So that communication is really important. Also, the communication, you and I, I remember spent sessions where you would spend 45 minutes explaining to me super detailed. Here's my warm up. Here's what I do, here's how many skips. Here's what, here's the way I move it backwards, forward, stuff like that, constantly moving around, but telling me exactly what you did. And I sat there dumbfounded that this is actually someone's routine 'cause it took you 45 minutes to explain what you do. But I sat there and said, okay, I'm hearing, I'm listening. You're communicating to me and then I'm going to communicate to you. You're already doing X. Here's why we're going to do Y. Here's why... So it's that communication back and forth. By the way, it's the same word you used poignantly when talking about the, my pipe dream of the way I would lay out a performance wing of an organization. It's communication.

Mike Burton: Yeah. And to go back to what you said about how I was explaining to you what I was doing, 'cause you need the whole story.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: You need the whole story.

Mike Burton: How can you effectively do your job to the best of your ability if you don't have the full story? If you don't know exactly what I'm doing. If I don't tell you, these are my main lifts today, the plan could be changed. It could be redundant. You could be having me doing things that aren't getting me prepped for those lifts or I could end up being more injury prone because we've already done this. Now I'm going to do this on my own. So you need to have the full picture and the full story, I think, in order to do your job the most effectively. And I think that goes back again, to me communicating that to you.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: And we got to pull it out of you. So that's the advice I give to sports PTs which is talk to your patient, right? Get the full story, do your background. What does a fullback need to do? Fullback's coming in and ACL is coming in. Maybe they're not an athlete, maybe they're older, but you got to know about ACLs. So make sure you're ready to roll with ACLs specifically. But am I listening? Am I listening when you're talking? Really gaining that information so that then we can move forward with an outstanding program. This has been insightful. I really appreciate you going through the exercise of talking about just performance, talking about a performance team and the way I would structure it and indulging me in that, because I think your feedback is super valuable of what's realistic and what does it really boil down to without that conversation. I don't know that we get to this obsession with communication, how important that is. So I appreciate you and your time doing that. I always make it a habit to share my favorite story about the guests that I'm interviewing. And I think my favorite Mike Burton story would be the time when you were really there for me. Do you remember that time? You were really there for me, just as a friend. You remember that time? 

Mike Burton: It's so many times.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: So many times.

Mike Burton: So many times that it's hard to pinpoint just one.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: My wife, God bless her, was in a terrible car accident. She was totally fine. And so she called me and I ran to the scene and so worried about her well-being. But also, my first phone call, the first phone call I made after receiving that phone call from her was to my friend, the fullback of the Chiefs, Mike Burton, because I knew you would know what my next purchase should be, what my next car. And then the next day when you came in with a beat up Consumer Reports magazine that you had obviously leafed through a thousand times. I think there were circles in there. Because you were the most financially responsible bastard I've ever met in my life. And that sums up Mike Burton.

Mike Burton: Yeah. I appreciate that. Thank you. I'm number two to you, but I'll take it. Thank you.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Thanks for being there for me.

Mike Burton: Oh, absolutely. You are welcome.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: I appreciate it. Really, another story that stuck out about me, which you really are an example of this. I introduced you to a 14, 15 year vet in the NFL. And the way you talk to that guy with respect, you're an eight year vet. But the way you talk to that guy with respect and just try to get as much information from him to be as successful, to have the longevity that he's had, trying to make that a part of your career was really eye opening to me. The fact that you're always trying to learn, you're always trying to gain information in such a positive way is such an awesome piece of you and what you do. And I think that's also just such a great lesson. So that's really the moment that I want to share. You're also so thoughtful about my hair that you're willing to wear a snow hat. So no one knows what's under there.

Mike Burton: Yeah, I couldn't come on here...

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: It's really your... It looks like this under there. I feel like it does.

Mike Burton: I didn't feel comfortable coming on here and letting the flow out here. [chuckle] We need the viewers to be able to look.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Hopefully they're just listening. Hopefully no one's feeling. Mike, really, this is the first of many.

Mike Burton: Oh, absolutely.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: So thank you so much for sharing your time.

Mike Burton: Thank you so much for having me on. I really appreciate this. Some great conversation.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: And so we're always trying to get better. So if you've got feedback for us, share it at pod at We're always looking to add to our team and make our team even better. So if you're interested in working at True Sports, shoot over your resume pod at We can't wait to hear from you. Thanks Mike.

Mike Burton: Thank you.


Subscribe today

Get appointment updates, practical and actionable health + fitness tips, blog news, and True Sports announcements delivered straight to your inbox. No spam.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.