Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group, LLC Blog

Perception Is Reality

Posted by Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group on Wed, Jul 13, 2011 @ 07:07 AM

by Shaun Bossio 

A while back, I went out to lunch with an old friend that was in town and was introduced to his father-in-law. We started talking about social media and its prominence (necessity really) in today’s business environment. The father-in-law was a little nervous about getting involved in social media as he was not as tech savvy as most, so we did our best to explain the ins and outs and the benefits that he could expect vs. the precautions he had to make sure he took. His biggest apprehension though was that anybody could post negative remarks on his Facebook page for the world to see. He was concerned that unhappy clients would take it upon themselves to write up negative reviews and drive business down. I explained to him that they could of course control what was posted on his page, but also that negative comments can be seen on virtually any company’s website. If the volume of negative comments outweighs the positive ones then the real issue at hand is not their use of social media, but how they are perceived by their consumers.

Let’s just put it on the table; how your customer-base views your business is reality. No matter how great things may seem from the view of yourself or management, the customers are the ones that drive your business perception. In that manner of speaking, even negative feedback is good feedback in that it helps to alert you to issues that may have arisen within your organization. If a customer perceives an aspect of your business as not fully meeting their needs, then it only makes sense to examine that portion to see if things can be improved. Sure, in some instances it might be a case of a particularly picky client and they might only be a single voice among the crowd, but more often than not, feedback comes from a constructive place and helps you identify areas for improvement. The problem rests in seeing feedback, both positive and negative, as an excellent way to keep you customers in touch with your business. Not only does it help you pinpoint the weak points in your organization, but it also lets your clients know that you are genuinely interested in the job you are doing. Regular interaction and personal responses to customer concerns shows them that you are willing to go the extra mile to keep their business.

So first off, do not be afraid of social media. It is your friend and there to help you grow your business. Like any business tool though, you have to know how it works and be careful while you are using it. That being said, it can be a great help in soliciting feedback from your clients and also in attracting new ones. Sure, you may get some negative feedback, but it is a great opportunity to respond to those folks to let them know how their issues are being addressed. What better way is there to show current/future customers that you value their business? Despite what you may think, their perception is your reality. After all, your business may be the best in your field, but if your customers do not see it that way then you will not be the best for long.


Shaun Bossio is the Assistant Business Manager at the Boston University FitRec.

Topics: Guest Author, athletic training conference, Good to Great, discipline, customer service, Leadership

Present and Accounted For

Posted by Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group on Tue, Jan 11, 2011 @ 07:01 AM


A few weeks back, I was asked to place an order for one of my coordinators.  “No problem,” I thought, “this should be a quick phone call.”  I phoned the salesperson listed on the quote and was greeted by a voicemail that told me they were on vacation (no timetable for their return) and advised me NOT to leave a message.  Really?  Ok.  For attempt number two, I called the company’s direct line and instead of being able to speak to a person who could help me I was greeted with a number of confusing options, none of which appeared to be sales or customer service.  I hit zero on my phone and was put on hold.  When someone picked up and I explained my dilemma I was told that they weren’t positive, but they thought I should speak with Sales.  After I hastily agreed, I was transferred there and got the voicemail of another salesperson.  Two days later that salesperson returned my call and after I explained myself again I was told that I really should speak with the salesperson that had sent the quote over.  For the third time over the course of three days, I explained that I had unsuccessfully attempted to do this, only to be rebuffed by his out of office message.  When the salesperson told me that their colleague would be returning next week “he thought”, I explained to him that if they could not help me place my order today that I would find another company that could.  Suddenly, they were very helpful. 

What can we learn from this experience? Quite a bit actually.  First of all, automated messages may save you some time in answering common questions or directing people to the proper source, but I think everyone appreciates the personal touch of an organization that has an actual person picking up their phone during business hours.  What a novel concept!  Secondly, if you do not know the answer to someone’s question, find it.  I do not ever want to hear the phrases “I’m not sure” or “I don’t know” unless they are followed by “but let me find that out for you”.  Finally, when you get passed around repeatedly, the easiest solution is to go somewhere else.  If you are not the person that can help me, then . . . and get ready for this, it is a real doozy . . . how about finding someone that can?

The lessons from this story are many, but they all boil down to making sure that you and your staff are present.  It is a simple concept, but making sure that you are willing and able to assist your client base goes a long way towards furthering your performance and reputation.  This does not mean that you should be available 24/7 or that you should not be taking personal time.  What it does mean is that your clients understand how they can get what they need, when they need it.  For instance, if you are not available during regular business hours, is someone else on your staff ready to step up and assist or will the customer be brushed off?  We have all had those miserable experiences as customers from time to time, but ask yourself this; when you do have a miserable customer experience, are you likely to go back?  We are all consumers of differing varieties whether you are a student-athlete, patient, or just a person looking to buy a pair of sneakers.  If your customers cannot get what they need from you, it will not be long before they start looking somewhere else. 


Shaun Bossio is the Assistant Business Manager and ProShop Manager at Boston University FitRec.
He can be reached at

Topics: Guest Author, Good to Great, discipline, customer service

The Car(e) Mechanic

Posted by Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group on Fri, Dec 10, 2010 @ 07:12 AM



I was driving to work the other day when the engine heat indicator alarm went off on my dash board.  Not being a car genius, but knowing enough to know I should see an expert that deals with engine problems I promptly pulled over and into the nearest auto garage.  I explained to the mechanic that the engine heat alarm went off and he asked me to pop the hood so he could take a look.

“Wow, this engine is burning up” he explained to me as he held his hand over the engine block.  “Thank goodness you pulled in here. You got here just in time – I can help you.”

He took out his tape measure, and extended it across and over the engine then quickly disappeared into his garage.

A few moments later he returned to my car carrying a huge piece of foam which he placed over the engine block.  He then carefully pushed the edges down so the foam fit snuggly over the entire engine.

Slamming the hood down over the foam he instructed me to start the car up again and give er a try.

I started the car and walked back out to join him at the front of the car.

“See, no more heat” pointing me to place my hand next to his as he held it over the hood.

Sure enough – I didn’t feel any heat. Wow, this guy was good.

I completed my drive to work (for some reason the engine heat indicator was still going off, but I’m sure it will be fine, I mean I saw an expert who took care of the heat) where I told a co-worker of my pit stop at the garage.  He quickly told me that I was an idiot and got ripped off by the mechanic as he never took care of the problem but instead, simply just covered it up.

“What do you mean?”  I asked somewhat angered.

“Hold on one second – let me take care of this athlete and we’ll talk,” he explained pointing to an athlete on a treatment table.

He turned to the athlete and as he began discussing the athlete’s course of treatment I suddenly felt as though I was back at the mechanics…..

“Ok Johnny, so you’ve been really running up the miles and now your knee is hurting, you can tell it’s not doing well by the swelling around your knee cap and how warm it is. Let’s get some ice and e-stim on that right away, thank goodness you came in to see me, any later you could have really been in some trouble. A couple of treatments of ice and e-stim and you’ll be good to go”

I joke about this story with friends now because I was once the car mechanic. Not in a malicious cheating way – I just didn’t know how to solve the PROBLEM so I did my very best to help alleviate the symptoms – NSAIDS, ice, massage – kids felt better and I felt good about helping them. That is until they returned with the same problem again and again. 

Solving problems is tough.  It requires an investment of time and a little bit of extra effort.  The plus side however is that once you’ve solved the problem, you’ll end up actually having more time on your hands because you won’t have patients returning with engine failure time and time again.


Art Horne is the Coordinator of Care and Strength & Conditioning Coach for the Men’s Basketball Team at Northeastern University, Boston MA.  He can be reached at

Topics: Art Horne, basketball training programs, athletic training conference, boston hockey summit, boston hockey conference, basketball videos, customer service, evidence based medicine

An Ounce Of Prevention Is Worth A Pound Of Cure

Posted by Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group on Tue, Nov 23, 2010 @ 08:11 AM



My dad used to say this all the time and is probably the one to blame for why I’m so crazy about the things we can do better.

When it comes to Sports Medicine however, this concept of prevention seems to be somewhat fuzzy.

Most athletic trainers do an unbelievable job at promoting the prevention of dehydration, cramping, heat exhaustion and ultimately death during the hot fall pre-season, yet when it comes to prevention in the winter or spring seasons the concept is almost completely forgotten about.  Sure we continue to do a great job at preventing the spread of skin infections, the flu and blood borne pathogens, but how many hours of your day are spent addressing these concerns after they’ve happened?

How come we are never as passionate about preventing ACL tears, ankle sprains, low back pain or stress fractures as we are dehydration?  Isn’t the majority of our day spent dealing with these musculoskeletal injuries?

Even the BOC website places PREVENTION as the first of the five practice domains of Athletic Training and describes Athletic Training as encompassing the PREVENTION, diagnosis and intervention of emergency, acute and chronic medical conditions involving impairment, functional limitations and disabilities.
Yet how many Sports Medicine programs actually have a system in place to evaluate and address for these injuries and illnesses that take up so much of our time? How many programs place athletes with a previous injury on a “pre-hab” program to address this concern? Doesn’t pain alter mechanics?

Movement becomes habit, which becomes posture, which becomes structureTom Myers

Isn’t time that Sports Medicine embrace prevention and intervention of musculoskeletal injuries with the same zealous of other prevention strategies?

My dad also used to tell me to measure twice and cut once.

Sorry dad, but in the case of sports medicine and prevention, I’d rather measure three, four or five times if it means our athletes never have to get cut once.


Art Horne is the Coordinator of Care and Strength & Conditioning Coach for the Men’s Basketball Team at Northeastern University, Boston MA.  He can be reached at

Topics: Art Horne, basketball performance, basketball resources, basketball training programs, athletic training conference, customer service, evidence based medicine, BSMPG baseball conference

Cookies and Customer Service

Posted by Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group on Wed, Nov 10, 2010 @ 08:11 AM

basketball resources

My friend at a PT clinic told me a story of her co-worker who brings in cookies for the staff and patients every Monday morning – she’s the most popular person in the clinic each Monday,  even though she also has the lowest number of patients and the greatest number of requests for referrals to other PT’s within the clinic.  Her customer service just doesn’t match her ability to make cookies and when you’re dealing with patients who have a frozen shoulder or debilitating back pain, well, customer service and patient care just means a little bit more than cookies.

So before you decide between making a batch of cookies or researching the best way to approach chronic tendonopathy, remember this:

Making cookies always goes over well at work and may even score you a few points with co-workers and your boss. But unless your customer service matches your Betty Crocker apron you’ll soon be in need of more than just cookies to win over your customers.  Because your customers, even though your cookies tasted good, know your service is salty.


Art Horne is the Coordinator of Care and Strength & Conditioning Coach for the Men’s Basketball Team at Northeastern University, Boston MA.  He can be reached at

Topics: Basketball Related, Art Horne, basketball resources, boston hockey conference, customer service, BSMPG baseball conference

Permission To Act

Posted by Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group on Tue, Oct 19, 2010 @ 08:10 AM

Seth Godin does it again...




Do You Need A Permit?


Where, precisely, do you go in order to get permission to make a dent in the universe?

The accepted state is to be a cog. The preferred career is to follow the well-worn path, to read the instructions, to do what we're told. It's safer that way. Less responsibility. More people to blame.

When someone comes along and says, "not me, I'm going down a different path," we flinch. We're not organized to encourage and celebrate the unproven striver. It's safer to tear them down (with their best interests at heart, of course). Better, we think, to let them down easy, to encourage them to take a safer path, to be realistic, to hear it from us rather than the marketplace.
Perhaps, years ago, this was good advice. Today, it's clearly not. In fact, it's disrespectful, ill-advised and short sighted. How dare we cheer when a bold changemaker stumbles? Our obligation today isn't to spare the feelings of our peers from future disappointment. It's to establish an expectation that of course they're going to do something that matters.

If you think there's a chance you can make a dent, GO.



You have my permission. Not that you needed it.

Topics: basketball performance, basketball resources, boston hockey summit, boston hockey conference, discipline, customer service, everything basketball, development, Seth Godin

A Week with Riley - Complacency

Posted by Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group on Fri, Oct 8, 2010 @ 08:10 AM

How do you avoid complacency in a team setting?

everything basketball

RILEY: First of all, you have to realize that complacency is a way of life.  You don’t ever avoid it.  You have to alert your players to the fact that there are so many things that can get between them and what you are trying to teach them.

You can’t become distracted and let all of these things get into the way and take your mind off of the prize. It’s a deadly disease because it simply gets in the way of your energy and your effort.  And when your energy and your effort are down, your efficiency is going to be down.

(Interview questions and answers taken directly from the February 2007 edition of Scholastic Coach & Athletic Director)

Topics: basketball performance, basketball resources, basketball training programs, athletic training, Ownership, Pat Riley, discipline, customer service, development, Leadership

It's never too early to panic

Posted by Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group on Thu, Sep 30, 2010 @ 08:09 AM

everything basketball

It’s been 6 weeks since the date of injury and the athlete you’ve been working with is nowhere near ready to return to play. The coaching staff is breathing down your neck demanding answers and the rest of your staff is raising their eyebrows wondering what could have gone wrong.

Panic sets in….

Instead of panicking after it’s too late, try allowing panic to set in early.

Have a work-study student do a lit-review on the injury as soon as it happens, research the probable causes, latest rehabilitation techniques, running progressions, alternative therapies, and similar cases.

Better yet, let panic set in real early.

Prior to the date of injury, research and implement prevention strategies alongside your performance staff prior at the beginning of the season. Perform a meaningful orthopedic and movement screen with your athletes on the same day as your traditional pre-participation screenings to identify asymmetries and dysfunctional movement patterns with prescribed intervention to address these problems.

Let panic set in before there is anything to panic about.

Panic just like a duck. Calm above the water, and paddling like mad underneath.

Panic is good.

Panic keeps you a float and moving forward.


Art Horne is the Coordinator of Care and Strength & Conditioning Coach for the Men’s Basketball Team at Northeastern University, Boston MA. He can be reached at

Topics: Art Horne, athletic training conference, boston hockey summit, Strength & Conditioning, Good to Great, customer service, development

It's About Time

Posted by Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group on Wed, Sep 29, 2010 @ 07:09 AM

I have previously mentioned in this blog a team building event that we run for our student staff every year.  Though it is a lot of work, it is always a very rewarding experience for everyone involved and in particular the students.  Though some of our full-time staff are otherwise occupied and unable to volunteer, we do always have a good number of staff who are willing to give their time for a good cause.  One of the keys to the event of course is the formal invitation to student staff that goes out several weeks beforehand so that we can gauge attendance numbers for food, prizes, etc.  The collecting of student email addresses from their various supervisors on our full-time staff is always a challenge, but one staff member in particular has proven year after year to be “unable” to provide the email addresses of her students.  This year they emailed me five days prior to our event to apologize for not getting back to my inquiry until then and wondered if it would still be possible to include their staff.  I promptly returned their email, again requesting just the email addresses for their staff in whatever form was easiest for them.  The day before the event their response finally came and it said, “Dear Shaun, I just got time to get to this email.  This September has just been too overwhelming.  I truly appreciate the offer – maybe next year.”  Maybe next year?  Now, in all fairness, this person does have upwards of seven students working under them.   In the time that it took to send me two emails apologizing for being busy though, don’t you think they could have found the time to send me seven email addresses instead?

What’s our most valuable resource as employees?  Yup, you guessed it . . . time.  There’s an old saying that goes, “There are only so many hours in the day.”  That’s definitely true, but it’s not the time you spend at work or working that matter so much as what you do with those same hours.  That’s not to say that quantity is more important than quality (any medical professionals reading this?), but why take the time to send out a two page email to half of your colleagues when a simple phone call to one of them can clear up your issues in a fraction of the time?  Why have a meeting with ten people when you really only need three of them to resolve the issues at hand?  Are our assistants meant to perform the same tasks as us simultaneously or are they better suited to handle some tasks so that we can focus on others?  Think of it this way; if your company hired an independent consultant to come in and evaluate your work habits, would they report back that you were a model of efficiency or someone that would benefit from some additional training? 

A former colleague of mine recently posted or perhaps re-posted a tidbit that I found extremely interesting.  It said, “If you could only send 10 emails at work tomorrow, I bet those emails would really count for something.”  Working on cutting down on email vs. more personal contact (over the phone or in person) is just one area that we can focus on to improve our use of time.  This is a point that I harp on again and again, but just because you or your workplace has always done something one way does not mean there is not a more efficient way of doing it.  Take some time to evaluate your day to day tasks and ask that imaginary consultant on your shoulder if this is the best (time efficient and of high quality) way to do this. 

One of the larger problems however is that some of us look at a clock and see work time as the same whether we are being productive or not.  If you fall into that category, then my suggestion is even simpler . . . perhaps it’s time you looked at a new career.


Shaun Bossio is the Assistant Business Manager and ProShop Manager at Boston University FitRec. He can be reached at

Topics: Guest Author, Ownership, Good to Great, discipline, customer service, development, Leadership

Join my network

Posted by Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group on Fri, Sep 24, 2010 @ 06:09 AM

everything basketball

They say it’s not what you know, but who you know.

They’re right. But take it a step further; it’s not WHO you know, but HOW you know someone.

It’s easy to meet someone at a conference, send them a LinkedIN connection and, voila, that person is permanently in your network. But I recently went through my LinkedIN “network” and realized I don’t even know who some of those people really are. What kind of network is that??? The same holds true for Facebook: How many of your “friends” do you consider your friends in real life?

Social networks like LinkedIN and Facebook are simple and often fake. Real networks take time to cultivate and develop. Shoot an email to someone when their team or school is in the news. Pick up the phone to ask for advice.  Send a note if a somebody loses a loved one. A real network is about people looking out for one another.

So when that dream job finally opens up at that company you’ve always wanted to work for, a good networker will pick up the phone and feel comfortable calling to ask for that recommendation. A great networker, meanwhile, doesn’t need to call because that person on the other end already knows who you are and what you’re capable of.


Mark Harris
Associate Director, Athletics Annual Giving

Loyola University Maryland

Topics: basketball resources, Good to Great, customer service, everything basketball, development, networking