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Deniz Armagan, a former professional ice hockey player, now helps seniors with fall prevention techniques. Photo by Christina Macone-Greene
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Former hockey player shares tips to help prevent falls


RANCHO SANTA FE — Deniz Armagan had his fair share of injuries on the ice playing for the St. Louis Blues. After hanging up his professional ice hockey gear, Armagan became a board licensed physical therapist and paid a recent visit to Rancho Santa Fe Senior Center on March 21 to share his knowledge about fall prevention.

“I’m here to discuss fall prevention techniques because unfortunately in this age population, the prevalence keeps increasing,” he said. “It’s about basic balance principles and really basic neurology because it’s all tied in together.”

Armagan, who owns and operates Movement 4 Life headquartered in Rancho Bernardo, explained in his presentation how movement and control of a person’s body begins with the brain, not the muscles.

For those 60 years of age and older, a delay in reflexes begins to occur. These reflex deficits coupled with a lack of mobility stemming from injury and pain can decrease the quality of movement, Armagan said.

“So, we become dysfunctional in our moving patterns, and that leaves us susceptible for falls,” Armagan said.  “My goal is for people to have a comprehensive medical assessment and functional movement evaluation, which also includes a postural assessment because it’s all tied in.”

Armagan said he wanted attendees to understand the contributors to better balance and to inform people of proactive measures.  The mission is to get people back to what their “norm” was at one time, he said.

“It is possible with work,” said Armagan, noting that his suggestions require a lifestyle change.

On both personal and professional levels, Armagan practices what he preaches.

“The particular injury that led to my retirement, which occurred in 1988 immediately after I was chosen by a minor league team in the Atlantic Coast Hockey League, was a left meniscal tear which was misdiagnosed,” he said. “Unfortunately, I kept training and it got to the point that I was unable to walk up and down stairs, skate, or work out.

“The moment in my life that I realized that through holistic and integrative medicine I could lead a pain-free lifestyle was in 2012 when I was finishing my doctorate degree in physical therapy at Loma Linda University,” Armagan said.

Armagan’s back seized up and he experienced nearly unbearable pain and spasms for two months.

“I met an incredible neurologist who helped heal me and she had asked me questions that facilitated a major transformation in my life in reference to how I trained,” he said.

Armagan said the components of balance are flexibility and mobility, coordination, core stability and posture.

During his lecture, he demonstrated a few dynamic balance activities. They included an assortment of walking activities, including tandem (forward and backward), grapevine and lunges.

“These are three balance activities that people can do,” Armagan said. “But again, it would start with a proper evaluation and assessment. Without that piece, we don’t know what variables there are that have contributed to the lack of balance.”

And Armagan does this assessment with his mobile business.

“I’m a diagnostic person,” he said. “I’ve had amazing mentors.”

Diagnostics are the key deciding which conventions are used, such as manipulations or therapeutic exercise. Armagan said this increases the effectiveness of his whole program while implementing regular reassessments and re-evaluations.

Armagan said his mission is to increase awareness for integrative medicine, holistic interventions, nutrition, health and fitness to help others achieve a better quality of life.

1 comment

DR DENIZ ARMAGAN April 26, 2018 at 10:39 am

It was truly an honor presenting at the Rancho Santa Fe Senior Center- the facility coordinators, Terri Litwin and Lizzy Weiss, made me feel extremely welcomed. I would be honored to collaborate with them again.

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