What does a Sports Physio do on tour? - A day in the life of a hockey team Physio

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Having played sport all my life I was instantly drawn to the sports injury side of Physiotherapy when I started studying. I decided that I wanted to work with elite sports teams, and that my dream job would be travelling around the world to different sporting events and tournaments, helping athletes perform at their best.

Now that I am a fully qualified physiotherapist I have begun to take small steps towards the sports physiotherapy area. Just recently I had the opportunity to travel away with the WA U18 Women’s State Hockey Team to Hobart.

I have personally experienced being a player at these kinds of tournaments and always thought that the travelling physios had the dream job. Getting to go away on such a fun tournament and treating a bunch of athletes. What I discovered was that there was a lot behind the scenes I didn’t see about a day in the life of the travelling team Physio. I’ve composed a bit of an insight in to what an average day was like for me on tournament.

6:45am – Alarm goes off. Off to the 7:30 F45 class the coaching staff and I have signed up for while we’re on tournament to stay fit.
8:30am – 9am – Go straight from F45 to meet the team in the hotel foyer for the morning walk. Take the team through some stretches at the local park and then walk back, all the while checking up on anyone for niggles, injuries or soreness. 
9am -11am – start treating. Somehow manage to shove breakfast down my throat between players coming in for treatment. 
11am – 12pm – Team video meeting to watch footage of opposition structures. A slight break where I can write down notes on the players I saw this morning, have a shower and get changed into the Hockey WA uniform. This time also includes helping the manager chop and set out wraps and salads in my room for the team to make and eat after the video meeting. 
12-12:30pm - eat lunch with the team and update the coaching staff on any niggles/injuries/maintenance from this morning
12:30-1:30 – strapping ankles, hips, knees, elbows for any players with re-occurring niggles and soreness. 
1:30pm Team meeting giving me a free 15 minutes where I can pack up the physio kit, first aid kit and meet the team down in the lobby for departure at around 1:45pm.
Once we are at the hockey stadium I take care of any last minute taping until we are allowed on the turf for warm up. 
2:10pm - supervise the team during off ball warm up and stretching involving running, dynamic stretching, static stretching and agility work before they have an on ball warm up. 
2:30pm - game time. My role during the game is to respond to any acute injuries or first aid requirements such as turf burns or bleeding. It will depend on the game how busy I am during games. I am always making sure to check on any players with niggles or soreness throughout the game and give them any treatment on the bench as needed.
4pm – End of the game. I take the team through their cool down jogging and stretching and check up on anyone I have taped or treated that day. 
4:20pm – Leave the turf and drive to the local beach for active water recovery. This involves the players walking and doing dynamic stretches in the cool water at hip height for 6 minutes to help recovery. 
5pm – Return to the hotel and get back to treating – players that I saw this morning to check up and continue any previous treatment. Anyone who has pulled up sore or sustained any injuries during game time I will see as soon as possible.
7pm – Dinner either in the hotel or out at the pub next door as a team.
8pm – Treating any further people who have niggles or questions. Depending on the day and what has happened in the day this could go as late as 9pm.
10:30pm – go to bed once completed any notes from the treatments of the day and had a shower.

This rough guide is repeated every day for 10 days while the tournament is on. While it is a lot of work with not a lot of time to myself, it was definitely one of the best experiences I’ve had as a physiotherapist and it has only fuelled my desire to continue working with elite athletes! The players were a pleasure to work with and were all very compliant with any physio exercises or stretches I asked them to complete between sessions. So, while I’ve discovered my dream job is a little more work and a little more tiring than I initially thought it would be, it’s more than worth it in my eyes and I can’t wait to keep exploring this area of physio.

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