Nikola Boric and AEQ Clinical Somatics
Nikola Boric, Croatian multiple triathlon champion and conditioning coach of Turkey Athletic team top-level athletes.
I had no intention that day to wind up in the office of a longtime friend with one of my athletes. It was just another day of frustration and despair, just like the last three months of intensive therapy, massages, magnets, electro-stimulation, physical therapy and who knows what else at the most expensive hospitals in Istanbul – with some of the most renowned experts and doctors trying to help. My athlete’s diagnosis was accumulation of water around the bones; it had been a painful injury lasting six months with pain from knee all the way up to the pelvis. My athlete was unable to sit, drive a car or even walk so that the training was not even an option. She was given subcutaneous injections (to prevent rheumatism) with severe headaches as a side effect. If this didn’t work, she was told that her only other option was surgery. All we could think of was “there goes another season – including the Olympic games in Rio in two years.”
We also traveled to Zagreb, Croatia. My athlete was given the same diagnosis, yet one of the top sport medicine doctors, Dr. Natasha Desnica, noticed that Birsen Engin (a Turkish Olympic athlete and holder of a national sprint record) had faulty biomechnics. That sunny day of chilly December, for the countless time in the past 25 years I came to Ales and brought Birsen, my injured athlete, with me. Ales was familiar with my work with athletes, but we hadn’t seen each other in a long time.
He offered to help Birsen with her movement problem and talked about a solution that seemed totally incomprehensible. It was as is I had heard this solution for the very first time. I was skeptical, but we had nothing to lose – so I agreed. We went upstairs to his office. I entered a totally different world, which was incompatible with Ales I knew as a bike racer and bike store owner. The room equipped in the style of the best physical therapy clinics I have seen in my long lasting coach practice. He stop talking and let Birsen lay down on the massage table as he asked her to do a series of movements that, to be honest, looked like nothing at all to me.
After the session Birsen came to me with tears in her eyes, gave me a big hug and said „Thank you coach, thank you so much! This is the best doctor in the world!“ I was speechless because, of course, Ales was not a doctor, but a movement educator. That day, for the first time in the last six months, with a huge smile and full of energy and enthusiasm Birsen ran from the yard and came back saying „ I can run!“. To me it was like a scene from Forrest Gump movie, when Forrest is runs down the street from a bunch of bullies and doesn’t let anything get in his way. He just ran and ran. So did Birsen.
We decided to spend a week in Brezice, Slovenia to work with Ales. After a week of clinical sessions Birsen was able to train for the European Athletics Championship as if she’d never been injured!
A lot of people with whom I worked were curious about what Ales was teaching the athletes that I decided to bring to him for help. I told them that the best way to understand what he is doing is to experience it for themselves. I’m not sure how Somatic Education “works,” but it does. I bring Ales Ernst my Olympic record holders for whom the medicine experts have no answer other than surgery. The feeling is probably the same as a race horse might have when, after his last, unfinished race rather than being taken to a slaughterhouse, he accidentally he ends up in a place that gives him back his life – the place he was meant to be:
Ales, thank you for your help. Infinitely.