Shooting is a sport where perfection is the benchmark, something that
Cathy Arnot knows well. That’s also why she carries a dog-eared
Arnot, who teaches physical therapy in the Arnold School’s Department of
Exercise Science, has worked with the U.S. Olympic Shooting teams for
the past three years providing manual physical therapy interventions to
Following the team on its championship quests has taken Arnot to Greece,
Cyprus, Thailand, Italy and China. Germany has been on her itinerary
“The shooters are all professional. They’re very appreciative of
anything you can do for them,” said Arnot, who has worked with team
members at the Olympic Training Center at Ft. Benning, Ga. and elsewhere
in the U.S.
Arnot said Olympic class shooters train on an average of three to eight
hours per day, assuming stances that stress a variety of muscles
depending on the weapon.
Put in technical terms, Arnot says most of the cases she works with
involve overuse injuries to the cervical, thoracic, lumbar spine and
Put in simpler terms, “pistol shooters have problems with the neck,
shoulder and elbows,’’ she says. Standing positions expose rifle
shooters to problems with lower back and wrist pain.
The recoil from 12 gauge rounds stresses the shoulders of shotgun
shooters. Team members also can end up with physical complaints from the
extensive travel involved in international competitions.
Arnot says she enjoys recreational shooting with her .22 pistol and
would love to learn how to shoot trap. However, she had no experience
with competitive shooting until she joined a post doctoral fellowship at
SportsMedicine of Atlanta in 2002.
There she was part of a program to assist shooters directed by Bob
DuVall, physical therapist to the 1996, 2000 and 2004 U.S. Olympic
She and DuVall are still linked because he is responsible for scheduling
her Olympic efforts, which she estimates will involve about five weeks
of travel this year.
USC considers her Olympic work as part of the university’s outreach
efforts, but she has to schedule trips so as not to conflict with her
Arnot says U.S. shooters have the same problems as other Olympians in
“China and Russia are our biggest competitors. They have an advantage
because their shooters are government funded and don’t have to worry
about things like school or careers like our team members,” she said.
Competitive shooting also can be expensive, according to Arnot, adding
that hundreds of rounds of ammunition can be expended in practice. Some
weapons can be costly. World-class
trap guns can retail from $1,800-$8,000, air rifles can go as high as
$2,000 and pistols can fetch up to $1,400.
Arnot is a Virginia native who received her bachelor’s degree from
Virginia Tech. She earned her master’s degree through the U.S. Army/
Baylor University Physical Therapy Program and her doctorate from the
University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences. She joined the USC
faculty fulltime in February 2006.
For more information:
USA Shooting -- The National Governing Body for Olympic Shooting