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 Wild Turkey and You

Posted by Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group on Thu, Dec 9, 2010 @ 07:12 AM



The wild turkey can rotate its neck 360 degrees.  This uncanny ability allows this creature to stay one step ahead of hunters looking for a Thanksgiving dinner.

We could learn a thing or two from the wild turkey and take a look behind us.

Sports Medicine staffs are always so busy just getting through each day that we rarely look back at what we’ve accomplished or how we got to where we are today.

At the end of this semester or school year, will you look around and ask your student-athletes / customers what you did poorly and what services you can improve on?

Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to celebrate the small victories along the way – a successful rehab, a season with no games missed due to injury or even an exceptionally difficult administrative task done well, but your customer base along with all the constituents in other departments around your athletic department that you do business with everyday possess suggestions and insight that will allow your staff to transition from good to great.

Yes, just like the turkey who can rotate his neck 360 degrees to avoid an unexpected attack, so to should we look around… yes all the way around to all those that we touch each and every day.

You’ll never know you have a disgruntled customer looking to chop your head off unless you look.


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, Good to Great

Omelets and Rehab

Posted by Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group on Mon, Nov 29, 2010 @ 07:11 AM

basketball resources

What do omelets have to do with rehab?


Every omelets is made with eggs.

You can add your own mushrooms, peppers and even some cheese on top - but it all starts with the eggs. 

Yes, even all white omelets are made with eggs.

When approaching rehab protocols, say for example, treating an athlete with knee pain, every protocol should include hip strengthening exercises. Yes, every single one.  Hip/Glute med strengthening is an egg in your knee pain omelet.  You may choose to add massage or even Russian e-stim to strengthen the vmo if you’d like, but without exercises that target the hips you simply don’t have an omelet.

I’m still amazed at the number of Sports Medicine departments that have staff members that approach common injuries differently.

“That’s just the way I do it” each one will respond, or “there’s more than one way to skin a cat you know.”

True, there is more than one way to skin a cat, but we’re making omelets.

Rehab eggs don’t have individual preferences or bias. Save that for the type of cheese you want. Eggs are evidence based. Eggs are a must in every omelet – and without them you simply have a pan full of veggies and cheese – and well, that’s stir fry – and nobody wants to eat stir fry for breakfast.


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, athletic training conference, boston hockey summit, Good to Great, evidence based medicine

Hedgehog Concept - Meets Sports Performance

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

basketball resources


Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, describes the Hedgehog concept as “an operating model that reflects understanding of three intersecting circles: what you can be the best in the world at, what you are deeply passionate about, and what best drives your economic or resource engine.”

“But Art, Jim Collin’s research and the businesses described in Good to Great include the likes of Wells Fargo and Walgreens, his theory and concepts have nothing to do with patient care or performance training.”

I’ve heard this more than once and each time I attempt to get a friend to read this book it’s usually handed back either partially read or not read at all.   At first look, to compare these operating systems to Sports Medicine or Sports Performance may be a stretch, but the three questions that Collins’ research asks can certainly be asked when examining your own operating system and how you handle your business each day.

What can you be the best in the world at?

- Is it patient education, practicing and applying evidence based medicine or simply a seamless referral system for student-athlete mental health issues?
- By asking and challenging your staff what you can be the best in the world at automatically sets the bar much higher than before and thus only those actions in line with this new standard should be accepted and rewarded.

What are you deeply passionate about?

- I found this to be the easiest question to ask and answer. Each one of your staff members is particularly interested and passionate about a segment of your operating system. Once you have identified which one, allow them to develop this area to its fullest.
- If your strength staff is deeply passionate about squatting and teaching the squat (I image they are or they wouldn’t be in the field) allow them to create an in-service and teach the sports medicine staff the finer points of the squat. Your athletes will thank you for the consistency of teaching cues and progression from rehab to high end performance.

What best drives your economic or resource engine?

- If you’re at most schools, athletic departments are actually a huge drain on the finances of the university.  Does your department spend frivolously on specialty items that have little impact on your athletes or only impacts a small sector of your athlete population?
- In the Sports Performance area, what exercises produce the greatest impact on your athlete’s performance profile (VJ, sprint times, etc)? Should you spend your valuable time perfecting and encouraging the squat or are you spending time having your athletes lay on their back performing hollowing exercises to train the TA?

The challenge now is to examine your operating system with honest eyes. This is often the most difficult part of the process since most believe they are already doing their very best – if resistance is met, ask dumb questions or invite an alien to your next staff meeting, that usually does the trick.


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, basketball conference, boston hockey summit, Good to Great, BSMPG baseball conference

Now or Later

Posted by Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group on Thu, Oct 21, 2010 @ 07:10 AM

everything basketball


I’ve asked a number of friends why they don’t include assessments as part of their screening process.  More often than not the answer is because they are “too busy.”

What takes more time? An initial assessment of your athletes on intake followed by some simple corrective strategies or a 6-month post-surgical ACL rehab?

If you are too busy to change today, how will you have time to fix it later?


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, Strength Training, basketball training programs, athletic training conference, boston hockey summit, boston hockey conference, hockey conference, Shirley Sahrmann, Good to Great, female basketball, evidence based medicine, development

Are We There Yet?

Posted by Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group on Wed, Oct 20, 2010 @ 08:10 AM


I heard a story recently about a basketball coach that will “get lost” on his way back to campus from the airport after picking up a recruit in an effort to intentionally place the recruit in an uncomfortable situation.

Two things happen.

1. The recruit will sit quietly, put their head down and perhaps jump on their cell phone, text message friends, headphones in and wait for the coach to find his/her way back to campus.
2. The recruit will ask questions about general directions, look for street signs that may aid in their quest back to campus and even some will use their technology packed phone to locate their whereabouts on GPS and plug in the schools address providing the coach a clear and decisive path back to campus.

With all things being equal, which kid would you rather have on your team?

Are you worth being recruited to a better team or are you quietly sitting at your desk, minding your own business waiting for others to figure things out?


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 conference, athletic training conference, hockey conference, motivation, Good to Great, everything basketball, development

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 community

Posted by Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group on Tue, Sep 28, 2010 @ 07:09 AM

There’s a big difference between 1) surrounding yourself with random people of a like mind, whether it’s a social club, a network of professionals that share the same passion, or simply the running group you belong to that meets every Saturday morning and 2) actually knowing someone.

Your buddy at the running club may get you a free cup of coffee and muffin, but knowing someone, I mean really getting to know someone, will get you a job.

The community of people that you lightly associate yourself with may become a future asset, but the people that you have been investing time with will become your currency today.


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, Good to Great, development, Leadership