Noted fitness expert Mackie Shilstone is writing about injuries in the NFL this season and will take a look at the injury report for the New Orleans Saints and their opponent each week.

Several years ago I found myself sitting across from boxing champion Bernard Hopkins on a flight from New Orleans to New York. We had just broken training camp in New Orleans and our team was heading to Atlantic City for an historic fight against then-light heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver. Hopkins was moving up two weight divisions to try and unseat Tarver from his 175-pound title.

I was Hopkins' performance nutrition and conditioning coach. Some of what I have used in preparing all of my 3,000-plus pro athletes for their respective areas of athletic competition has been taken from studying the teachings of the battle strategist Sun Tzu, as told in his 500 B.C. manuscript "The Art of War."

Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive ... I think you know the rest of the description of Superman. Many fans would attribute this Superman description to that of an NFL player. After all, today's NFL player is bigger, faster, and stronger than ever. In 2006, there were more than 500 players on preseason NFL rosters who weighed more than 300 pounds, so at least part of the equation is accurate.

If I told you that there was a collision involving multiple parties in which some were injured and required medical attention, you might think I was referring to an auto accident. But the impact of tackling in pro football does, in fact, represent an intended accident with each play. And there are more than 100 of these collisions in a typical game.

Well, to say the least, Serena Willams' victory in the third set over Victoria Azarenka will go down in U.S. Open history as one of the greatest come-from-behind victories.

The night before, Saturday night, I sent Serena an email outlining how I saw the match unfolding, along with my insight on motivation, passion and what to do to succeed.

Think back for a moment and picture a World War II submarine action movie. Remember the scene after the enemy destroyer passes above the submarine with a depth charge run. While the sub's captain is lining up a torpedo shot from the bow torpedo tubes, he calls for damage control to give him an assessment of any and all damage to the submarine. That is, if he survives the attack.

In other words, the battle rages despite damage to the sub or crew. It's about staying alive. While the weekly NFL battle is anything but heroic, it does have some striking parallels to this wartime analogy.

The big game day is finally here at last aftera tornado warning cancelled the Saturday matches midway into the men's semifinals. Serena Williams' match against Victoria Azarenka to take place no earlier than 3:30 pm central, unless the earlier match is one of those 5-hour matches. Let's hope not.

I lead with game day because in pro tennis each game is the big game for a loss sends you on to the next tournament in short oder. The New Orleans Saints play the Redskins on Sunday and will not have the next game until the following Sunday, unless you get caught in one of those short weeks in which the NFL team may need to play on Thursday. Wow, how TV and advertising have changed the game, making in certain instances injuries much more prevalent due to the players experiencing a shortened week with less recovery time.

Mackie Spotlight

EJGH’s very own Mackie Shilstone, Executive Director of the Fitness Principle, is in New York working with Serena Williams as she goes for another U.S. Open title. As Williams’s Fitness Coach, Mackie will be part of the team preparing her for matches throughout the tournament. To give everyone a behind-the-scenes look at how Williams prepares for every opponent, Mackie is writing a daily postcard for detailing all the day’s happenings. Check back daily for updates. 8/22/13
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