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Maximising Safety and Performance in Football:



Insights from Elly Crowhurst – PROmotion Health & AFLW Physiotherapist at Claremont Football Club As the 2024 football season begins, safety remains a top priority across all levels of play. At PROmotion Health, we are dedicated to offering crucial knowledge that helps players have a safer, more effective football journey.

 

1. Player Screening: Unlocking Potential 


Player performance optimisation begins with understanding one’s physical capabilities, crucial for both amateur enthusiasts and professional athletes. Our physiotherapy team performs comprehensive screenings to assess muscle strength, joint mobility, and power output using advanced tools like the VALD Forceframe and Force Decks. These assessments allow us to develop create rehabilitation or injury prevention plans specific to the individual.


2. The Role of Strength and Conditioning 


Strength and conditioning programs are indispensable in supplementing sport-specific training for athletes. This training enhances physical attributes such as strength, power, speed, and endurance—key components that support peak performance and injury prevention. By improving muscle and joint strength, athletes can better withstand the demands of their sport, leading to improved efficiency and durability in performance.

Tailored strength and conditioning programs align with the specific requirements of the sport, ensuring that training is not only effective but also directly beneficial to the athlete's performance. Our clinical team assess any existing programming and technique of exercises to ensure safe, efficient and optimal strength and conditioning and can develop a new program for those without. 


3. Managing Training Loads: Balancing Performance and Health 

It’s essential for footballers to manage their training loads to maintain peak condition and reduce overuse injuries. At PROmotion Health, we emphasise a balanced approach that accounts for individual player profiles, fitness levels, and recovery capacities. By monitoring aspects like training duration, intensity, and frequency, players can achieve optimal performance gains without the risks associated with overtraining. This is especially important for younger players who must balance their sports commitments with school and other extra-curricular activities. Our clinicians can communicate with coaching staff and schools if needed to address load management.  


4. Concussion Management: Safeguarding Player Welfare 

In football, where the risk of concussion is ever-present, PROmotion Health's Concussion Management service stands as a beacon of player safety and well-being. Our commitment is underscored by adhering to the latest safety protocols, including the mandatory 21-day recovery period, designed to ensure a player's health is prioritised above all.


At PROmotion Health, our approach to concussion management involves an array of precise and targeted procedures, starting with baseline testing. This includes a comprehensive suite of assessments like balance testing with advanced VALD technology, vestibular oculomotor screening, and neurocognitive evaluations, establishing a reference point crucial for effective post-injury comparisons. 

During the acute phase of a concussion, our team performs detailed assessments to gauge the severity and impact of the injury. This involves a thorough review of the patient’s medical history, symptom evaluation, and neurological checks, which inform the development of a customised management plan. This plan not only focuses on a safe return to sports but also addresses the broader implications of the injury on daily life, such as academic and work activities. 


We also provide specialised care for Persistent Concussion Symptoms (PCS), supporting around 30% of individuals who experience prolonged recovery periods. Our evidence-based strategies tackle physiological, vestibular-ocular, and cervicogenic aspects, ensuring comprehensive rehabilitation. Through our network of healthcare professionals, including Sports Physicians and Psychologists, we offer continuous support, education, and guidance to both athletes and caregivers. 


With PROmotion Health, players receive thorough and empathetic care that champions a full and safe return to both the field and everyday life, minimising long-term health risks and promoting optimal recovery. 


5. Hydration and Nutrition: Essentials for Peak Performance 

Proper hydration and nutrition are critical for optimal performance. As per guidelines from Sports Dietitians Australia, fluid intake should be adjusted based on weather conditions. Our experts help players understand their individual hydration requirements, particularly in warmer climates. Effective pre-game nutrition involves high-carbohydrate meals to enhance energy levels, while post-game nutrition focuses on recovery. 


6. On-Field Medical Support: Ensuring Immediate Care 

During games, immediate medical assistance is crucial and is provided by an on-site medical team, including physiotherapists, sports trainers, and medics. Immediate reporting of injuries or concerns is vital to ensure appropriate management and optimal return to play.  


As the football season progresses, combining these expert recommendations ensures that players can enjoy their sport while minimising risks and enhancing their potential. At PROmotion Health, we continue to support the football community by promoting practices that prioritise both safety and performance, ensuring a fulfilling and successful sporting experience. If you require an assessment & management plan for a musculoskeletal injury or concussion or would benefit from a review or development of your strength & conditioning program – we are here to help.  

 

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