Liam Robinson, APA Sports Physiotherapist at Melbourne Sports Physiotherapy, talks about his recent time away as lead physiotherapist for the Georgia u20s rugby union squad during the recent World Rugby Under 20s Championships in Tbilisi, Georgia.
This was my 4th year away supporting the Georgian u20s squad and each year has thrown up its own challenges in terms of my role away on tour. While normally there are a number of logistical aspects to organize during competition, this year it was fantastic to be working with the hosts, and reap the benefits of close training facilities, on site recovery equipment and additional in-house allied health staff to help me manage my duties.
My main role during these competitions is to oversee the medical management across the squad, which includes completing daily availability lists for the coaches, enabling them to effectively plan training sessions. In addition, I have a primary responsibility to manage treatment lists for the players, delivering an elite level physiotherapy service and making sure the players are both ready to play and to train.
The blend of practitioners from various backgrounds and countries makes for a great learning environment during this competition, and working in close quarters with both my own and other team’s physiotherapists, sports therapists, chiropractors and osteopaths as well as sports medicine doctors, make the month away very rewarding. The aim in our team is to deliver a world class, integrated service, which provides a single point of access on tour for our squad, regarding injury, assessment, diagnosis, treatment, performance enhancement, rehabilitation, strength & conditioning and biomechanics.
Life on the road:
In my job, you never know who or what problem may present. This really tests you daily. While we aim to control injury presentation, the nature of the sport of rugby union, and the level at which the game is being played at this tournament often throws curve balls. I enjoy the immediate, substantial effect you can have on a player, their performance and achievements, and providing positive results to the coaching staff who value player availability as the pinnacle to affecting potential success. Many times I have had players who ‘could’ miss a game, only to pull through on the back of some treatment and go on to be a very key reason for success during that game - this is an extremely rewarding part of the job.
Life on tour means long hours, and in competition we regularly start at 9am and finish around 9pm once treatment and management meetings have finished. While early parts of the competition cycle often involve dealing with more acute injuries and working on strength and conditioning and rehab programs, as we move through the competition we often do more preparation, recovery and maintenance work with the players.
Being a sports physiotherapist and working in a competition environment has its challenges, but this is something I really enjoy. The tour was great, we were successful, the country was fantastic and I pushed myself clinically to achieve results. A well worth experience!
Liam is now back consulting in the Essendon clinic and is available for bookings now.
Melbourne Sports Physiotherapy in Essendon and Blackburn. Call 03 9498 0205 to book.