NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Titans are in desperate need of the bye week after two straight losses that have dropped them to the third seed in the AFC at 8-4.
That record seems remarkable considering the Titans have 18 players on injured reserve and have rostered 86 different players for game days, which is an NFL record.
Some have put the blame for the pile-up of injuries on the training staff. Truth is, there is no specific training method to prevent all injuries. Each injury has its own story.
Players can, at times, be at fault because they simply aren't eating right, getting enough sleep or drinking enough water. Others could be doing all of the right things but just fall victim to circumstances like getting rolled on near a pile or having a knee get caught in the turf.
Athletes are larger and faster now. As a result, they put a lot more torque on their joints, ligaments and the rest of their bodies. Medicine and treatment have evolved to become more advanced to keep athletes able to compete despite the immense strain that is put on their bodies.
Addressing each story on a case-by-case basis has resulted in more players going with personalized medical practices. That's where Adam Bobo and Arete, a wellness center focused on performance and recovery, enter the picture.
Since Arete is located in Nashville, they service upwards of 20 Titans players including Jeffery Simmons, Taylor Lewan, Derrick Henry and Rodger Saffold III among others. It works with close to 100 players total from across across 25 different teams.
Arete is a place where players can receive treatments that include infrared sauna, whole-body cryotherapy and hyperbaric oxygen therapy chamber, along with various intravenous services tailored to fit each player's individual needs. There are plenty of occasions where Bobo will get a call or text from a player asking him to open up the facility after a game so they can get recovery treatment.
The individualized treatment plans and access are exactly why each player goes to Arete for treatment.
"I do a lot of recovery things with Adam Bobo," Simmons said. "Cryo, the sauna, recovery IVs and stuff of that nature. From what I understand throughout my career playing football, if you're healthy, you're out there making plays. Your body is the key. His service is really good. He has a lot of great sources at his building. Why not keep going to him if it makes me feel good? I go to him every week."
Simmons said he heard about Arete from one of his teammates, as Henry and the offensive line had helped spread the word throughout the locker room. One of those lineman is Lewan, who has been a big advocate of Arete since he started going there a few years ago.
"I use them a lot, and a lot of the guys on the team do," Lewan said. "When I had my situation back in 2019 with the PED, supplements aren't regulated by the FDA. No one is liable for what's in those pills. I made a transition to go to intervascular IV therapy to get the things that I need knowing that it's officially certified. Every opportunity I get I tell guys to go there."
Bobo said: "Once Taylor was involved, he was a big proponent and wanted other guys doing it. That's when guys like Saffold started, and they pushed it to the rest of the team getting as many guys on."
Bobo said Henry, who is still No. 2 in the NFL in rushing despite suffering a season-ending injury in Week 8, began working with Arete when he had a hamstring injury that kept him out of Week 16 in 2019 against the New Orleans Saints. Henry came back the following week and rushed for 211 yards to win his first NFL rushing title in a 35-14 season-ending win against the Houston Texans.
"That's when the guys got on the craze of recovery and doing any little recovery therapy IVs they could, anything that could help them take care of their bodies." Bobo said.
Bobo made it clear his services aren't in any way meant to go against or replace what the team trainers do. Arete is more geared towards being a complementing team trainers work.
"Cold tub, hot tub, massage, ART [active release technique], needling, cryo – that whole nine,” Henry said of his recovery process. "Anything I can do to get my body ready, I am going to try it. I just make sure that I feel good enough to be able to pick my daughter up in the morning when she gets up."
Bobo, a former collegiate wide receiver at UAB, started Arete with Van Hunt to help country music singers who were worn out from the rigorous grind that comes with performing on the road. The goal was to offer a more personalized service than the 'Rock Docs' who would randomly be called upon to prescribe a drug to get the singers better.
In Bobo's mind, it was better to treat the actual cause than the result. They used various vitamin IVs and other infusions to prevent the issues such as fatigue that would come from being on long road trips.
Arete's first professional football client was former Titans receiver Eric Decker, who wanted IV services. Eventually, fellow Titans receiver Rishard Matthews and linebacker Derrick Morgan started to work with Bobo, and it continued to spread to others in the locker room.
There is also a direct line of communication between Bobo and coach Mike Vrabel, general manager Jon Robinson, Titans director of sports medicine Todd Toriscelli and head strength and conditioning coach Frank Piraino to make sure there are no toes stepped on.
"I have been through all this as a player," Vrabel said. "It is not like it is new for me.
"I believe and have the utmost confidence in what we are doing here and our staff. I tell that to the players. We ask that they kind of let us know who they go to, because if they are that good then we should hire them."
Arete has become an extended locker room atmosphere for the Titans. On any given Saturday before a game, there are 15 - 20 players at the facility where they have a lounge area to unwind before or after services. The fellowship outside of the facility gives players an opportunity to get to know each other personally.
That relaxing environment and fellowship could be what the Titans need during their bye week as they get ready to make a push for what they hope is a deep playoff run.