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John K. Williams, Jr. International Adapted Aquatics Award

Igor Burdenko (USA)

2017 John K. Williams Jr. Int’l Adapted Aquatics Award

Sponsored by S.R. Smith


Igor Burdenko was born in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, in July, 1935. He lived with his parents and grandmother in a tiny apartment in the city. When the German army invaded the former Soviet Union during World War II, Igor’s father went off to the war. When the war ended, Burdenko was one of the lucky ones, whose father returned home, however he was severely disabled.


After being wounded five times in the leg, arm, back, stomach, and shoulder, his father was unable to work. There were no wheelchairs available, few pharmacies with medications, and limited access to doctors. Before the war, Igor’s father was a good swimmer and had taught Igor to swim before he knew how to walk. Thus, when he came home from the war so badly wounded, he turned to the water for healing. Igor helped his father to their small local pond, although he’s still not sure how he got him there, as his father was a very large man and Igor was just a little boy. In the beginning, Igor’s father could not swim and he could only maintain a vertical position, making small movements with his arms and legs. These small movements helped relieve the pain and began to enable him to regain some mobility. Slowly, he returned to his former self and eventually moved to America in 1979, two years before Igor did.


Igor believes that his father would not have recovered if it were not for the water exercise and alternative medicine. This experience had a great influence on Igor and his approach to injuries and recovery. At this point in his life, Igor had very special feelings toward the water, which he finds difficult to describe. These feelings for water have profoundly influenced his whole life and the professional path he has chosen.


Igor N. Burdenko Ph.D. is the founder and chairman of the Burdenko Water and Sports Therapy Institute. In May 2007, Dr. Burdenko was recognized by the Aquatic Exercise Association for his achievement and passion for aquatics, as he was the recipient of the Global Award for Lifetime. He has worked as a rehabilitation and training consultant to numerous athletes from the NBA, NFL, NHL, U.S. and Russian Olympic Teams, members of the U.S. Handicapped Olympic Team, and top international dancers and figure skaters. He was on the Board of Directors of the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation for the Prevention of Athletic Injuries and is a past member of the Aquatic Exercise Association Research Committee.


Educated in Russia, Dr. Burdenko received his Ph.D. in Sports Medicine and his M.S. in Physical Education. Dr. Burdenko has authored and co-authored four books and over one hundred achievement articles on health and fitness, training and conditioning. He presents seminars and lectures throughout the world, and consults on the design and implementation of therapeutic facilities.


More than thirty years of experience and research have made Dr. Burdenko one of the world’s leading authorities on the use of water for rehabilitation, conditioning and training.


Founded in 1984, the Burdenko Water and Sports Therapy Institute, of Newton, Massachusetts., has been dedicated to healing programs that combine traditional and alternative therapies. The Burdenko Method is a practical application of water and land exercises based on a holistic approach to rehabilitation. Their clients include people from all walks of life.


Dr. Burdenko believes that water is a great healer and the ideal medium for rehabilitation, conditioning and training. The hydrostatic (passive) and hydrodynamic (active) properties of water, provide an optimal environment for safe and effective therapy and conditioning. With little or no weight bearing in the water, the injured or deconditioned client is able to return to desired activities quickly and safely.

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