As we rapidly approach the start of the 2015 Rugby World Cup, teams from across the world have begun setting up camp across England for what promises to be six weeks of relentless punishment on some of the most finely tuned bodies in professional sports. For six weeks every loose ball, scrum, line out and inch of territory will be contested by some of the most committed and focused sportsmen in the world - all operating at inhuman levels of intensity. Witnessing the brutality that these players are willing to endure is not for the faint hearted; injuries are inevitable and common but with such high stakes there is little time to recuperate and repair and key players need to be available for any chance of success.
The seemingly impossible task of keeping these warriors operating at peak condition falls to the team physiotherapists - a band of miracle workers without whom any tournament would collapse not long after the second round. Any professional sportsman will attest to the inevitability of carrying long-term injuries and in rugby it is unavoidable. During the rigors of an international tournament, new injuries coupled with aggravating previous conditions results in a continuous battle between the physio team and the fragility of the human body being tested to its absolute limit. Inevitably as tournaments progress so to does the workload on the physiotherapy unit whose influence on the game and training methods have massively increased over the past 15 years.
Innovations in training
Since rugby turned professional in the mid-1990s, clubs and international bodies have become increasingly aware of the benefits of physio-led training. Meticulously designed fitness programmesby team physios have seen huge strides in injury prevention and lessening the number of non-contact injuries experienced by players. In the less brutal world of touch rugby, the recent world cup held in Australia this year saw an amazing result for the England physio team’s diligence in creating a fitness regime to address the torrid time the players faced in the 2011 world cup with the alarming number of non-contact injuries they suffered. With the new physio-led programme, the physiotherapy team, led by Cari Thorpe, was able to reduce the number of non-contact injuries to zero throughout the entire tournament.
The countdown to kick off
Inevitably there will be injuries during the Rugby World Cup; no amount of preparation can counter the effect of thirty powerful and determined players going up against each other on a global stage competing for the ultimate prize in rugby but thanks to the innovation brought from physio teams, there are far fewer players missing out through preventable injury.
Right now, the majority of physiotherapy teams will be facing an uphill struggle to present a fully fit 31-man squad for the start of the tournament and unfortunately,as we have just seen with the Wales camp – some big names will have to miss out and those teams might see their chances of success lessen. For the next six weeks, long, late physio sessions will be the order of the day for many players and a constant race against time for all members of the physiotherapy teams.
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.