As many of you probably know, Will and myself currently provide pitch-side first aid and Osteopathic care for the players of Welling FC.
But what is it that we actually do?
I'll tackle our pitch-side responsibilities first. Essentially we are responsible for the wellbeing of everyone on the pitch. This extends from any basic injury you might see e.g. Impact trauma, twisted ankles and all the rest, all the way through to serious and potentially life threatening situations. An example of this would be if a player was unconscious or having a heart attack.
For the most part though, we're on the bench, watching the team just like everyone else. Only we're paying more attention for incidents that may require us to go on the pitch.
Off the pitch we are responsible for treatment and rehabilitation of injured players, taping, warm up soft tissue/massage work and fitness testing of the players.
Treatment and rehabilitation is very similar to what we do in clinic with most patients, only the injuries are almost always sudden onset and more often than not they are to do with the lower extremity, rather than the back or neck. The rehabilitation programmes are also a little more focused on returning the players back to full match fitness and strength.
Generally when we tape we look to support joints. Many players will have taping because it makes them feel more comfortable, others will have tape to support joints that have previously been injured or are susceptible to getting injured. Often this is the ankle and foot, as players commonly roll their ankles during the games.
Warm-up soft tissue work is pretty simple. We work to loosen off and warm up muscles before the players go out on to the pitch, the aim being to improve the efficiency of blood flow to the muscles and therefore improve performance and reduce the risk of injury. Most commonly this is the hamstrings, calves and quads. The warm-up massage also helps to mentally focus players and prepare them for the match ahead!
Finally, our fitness testing responsibilities. We have to make sure that the player is capable of performing their role in the team, but we also have to make sure that they aren't going to injure themselves further. This is usually done to players who may have a potential underlying injury, or is returning from injury. This can sometimes be a little tricky, as it often involves detailed feedback from the player. Most players want to play regardless of their injury, which means they sometimes don't tell us about what they're feeling..
Our experiences at Welling have helped us improve our capabilities of identifying and treating sports injuries, something that we carry over into our work here at Alpha Health.
If you would like to book an appointment with us please call on 02083047237