As we enter the Oscar’s season, one film that has caused huge controversy for missing out on any nominations is Ridley Scott’s Concussion. Starring Will Smith, it tells the story of Dr. Bennet Omalu, the Nigerian forensic pathologist who produced evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy brain damage suffered by professional American football players and the subsequent attempts to suppress the research by the National Football League. The charge of neglect lies within the league’s apparent knowledge of the risks to their playing staff and their inaction in taking steps to both alert and protect their players. The high prevalence of CTE found among ex-NFL players sits at 79% according to researchers at Boston University in 2015 making the scale of the issue catastrophic. With numerous lawsuits aimed at the league, much of the determination will lie within uncovering exactly what the league knew and when. Whatever the outcome of the individual court cases, what is clear is that the systems were not in place to properly care for the players and that the overly relaxed attitude to concussions has led to thousands of players with debilitating long term injuries.
The caring approach
One institution that has taken a pro-active approach to their employees’ health and wellbeing is John Lewis in the UK. With over 94,000 employees, bosses became aware of the huge disruption that musculoskeletal injuries were causing throughout the workforce. Medical evidence shows that early physiotherapy intervention prevents acute conditions from becoming chronic, rapidly improves recovery times and lowers the likelihood of injury recurrence. In the UK, a GP referral to an NHS physiotherapist can often take up to 14 weeks. During this time staff members were often absent for extended periods or operating on reduced capability while awaiting treatment. Understanding the importance of rapid treatment, John Lewis set out to provide their staff with uninhibited access to physiotherapy treatment as and when they needed it.
Why effective treatment pays
While the main goal of John Lewis was to improve productivity and reduce the length of disruption due to injury, the results were truly incredible. Over the course of the first year of the programme, 2,324 staff members were referred to the John Lewis provided physiotherapy service within 1.9 days of the initial diagnosis. After ten days, 58% of staff members were discharged with either through complete rehabilitation or the ability to effectively self manage their injury. John Lewis estimates that in the year, the programme saved them 41,010 in lost working days equating to over £2.6 million – which John Lewis reported as a 5 to 1 return on the cost of the programme. In addition, by working closely with the physiotherapy team, John Lewis were able to identify any trends, allowing systems and practices to be put in place to reduce the number of future injuries.
Aside from the financial savings, the benefits to the health and wellbeing of those staff members by the provision of rapid, effective treatment is enormous. Not only does it free them of the pain and discomfort they were no doubt experiencing but physiotherapy is proven to dramatically reduce recurrences of injury that without treatment can plague patients for years.
At Wolli Creek Physiotherapy & Pilates, you’ll be looked after by highly experienced and passionate young physiotherapists with a range of specialist skills and qualifications. We treat and heal all injuries and pain problems, for all kinds of people.