Netball season physiotherapy

With Spring here, Elevate physiotherapist Kate McDermid gears up for a busy time. Here she reports from the frontline:

The months of August and September are typically a busy time in a physio’s year as sporting finals, skiing injuries and the ‘City to Surf’ all compete as potential sources of injury.  Throw into the mix working weekends for a national level netball team and you have an industrious pair of thumbs!

Over the past weeks I’ve been lucky enough to work with the NSW Blues in the Australian Netball League (ANL).  This is a two-month competition that showcases all the up-and-coming netball talent in Australia.   The players range in age from 17 to 25, and the games take place nationwide, from Hobart to Perth.

The competition is tough: concussions, dislocated fingers and ankle sprains are all par for the course.  The players are used to the knocks, however, and typically bounce straight up off the ground as if nothing happened (which is something, in my opinion, from which those overly dramatic European soccer players could learn!)

As a member of the Blues’ management team one of my responsibilities is the athletes’ game preparation and recovery.  Ice baths, stretching sessions and pre-and post- game weights all must be recorded and Sustagen and other recovery food administered.

There are no contracts to sign here, no sponsorship or television coverage. These girls are simply playing for the love of the game and a chance to compete against the best.

The girls, many of them doing HSC and university exams simultaneously, seem to manage their training and study loads admirably, although Facebook is a constant source of distraction.  With two rounds to go and relatively few injuries so far, it’s been an uplifting and invigorating season.  Newcomers Kristiana Manúa and Gemma Ferrington especially show great promise for a future in the sport.

And though the injury tally has been low, the tape tally has been high.  With mandatory ankle taping and extra shoulders and knees requiring support, typically I get through up to 10 rolls of tape per game.

And let’s not forget my thumbs working for hours after the game to release tight calves, hamstrings, quads and gluteus muscles. No wonder they need a holiday!

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