Sonia O’Sullivan backs the baller

Sonia O’Sullivan backs the baller

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Jenna Bromell demonstrates the use of the BackBaller
Jenna Bromell demonstrates the use of the BackBaller

One of the most common global fitness problems is about to be tackled by a new invention born in the Shannon region.

Inventor Noel Marshall and renowned sports injury therapist Gerard Hartmann have collaborated to create the BackBaller, a dual mounted foam rolling device that delivers high-density massage to all the major muscle groups in the body, aiding recovery and preventing injury in athletes and sportspersons.

Pain from muscle tightness is one of the world’s most common ailments and both Hartmann and Marshall have direct experience of it which has led to their collaboration on the BackBaller.

Gerard has been Physical Therapist to an incredible 73 Olympic medallists and 47 World Champion medallists, observing at first hand the constraining effects of stiffness on athletic performance whilst Marshall in his prime competed at a national level as a middle distance runner and later lived with chronic back pain as he travelled the globe selling his invention of 15 years ago, the Bricky.

Their combined experience and inventive capacity has produced BackBaller, it’s been painstakingly tested on athletes and non-athletes. It’s now in production and available on the market after the patent and fine-tuning process has been completed.

Hartmann, who runs the International Sports Injury Clinic as the University Arena, Limerick and its High Altitude Satellite in Kenya, views BackBaller as a simple and effective solution to an age-old global physical problem,

“Working with elite athletes, my goal is to keep their muscles working and this device expertly mobilises tight muscles.”

Ger Hartmann and Sonia O'Sullivan launching BackBaller with inventor Noel Marshall in Shannon last week
Ger Hartmann and Sonia O’Sullivan launching BackBaller with inventor Noel Marshall in Shannon last week

As physical therapist to Sonia O’Sullivan for the past twenty-five years, Hartmann revealed that she was the first athlete with whom he shared the prototype. Such was the positive reaction of the World Champion and Olympic Silver Medallist, it has become part of her self-maintenance regime and she was on hand at the Oakwood Hotel in Shannon last Friday to launch it on the market.

Inventor Noel Marshall got his idea due to his growing frustration with back pain,

“While suffering years of back pain I grew frustrated with the regular foam roller which couldn’t effectively target and knead out my upper & lower back muscles.

His sense of invention led him to produce a prototype and enlist Hartmann to test and refine it with his clients, leading to the final product.

Hartmann outlined his hopes for BackBaller, having now introduced it to many of his international and domestic clients, including world-class runners, Aussie Rules teams and several inter-county hurling teams.

He believes that it will become a world leader, treating muscle pain and stiffness for everyone for “the farmer sitting long hours in a tractor and hunched-over office workers as well as for elite athletes.”

Ger Hartmann and Sonia O'Sullivan launching BackBaller with inventor Noel Marshall in Shannon last week
Ger Hartmann and Sonia O’Sullivan launching BackBaller with inventor Noel Marshall in Shannon last week

As people increasingly come to realise that self-care of the body is key to staying active, fit and healthy, BackBaller is set to become the essential solution for tight muscles and it’s all due to design and knowledge developed in the Shannon region.

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