The British Association of Sport & Exercise Medicine (BASEM) is internationally recognised as the lead body for Sport and Exercise Medicine within the United Kingdom. It was therefore a great honour for The Society of Sports Therapists to be invited to co-host a session at the BASEM Annual Conference held at the FA National Football Centre, St Georges Park (31st Oct -1st Nov 2013).
Professor Graham N. Smith, Chairman of The Society of Sports Therapists and a small team of experienced Members were asked to create a sports specific rehabilitation session that was different and challenging for the participants. The group was predominantly made up of Doctors with some Medical Students Doctors with some Sports Therapists and Physiotherapists also in attendance, including Society Honorary Member Gary Lewin, Physiotherapist to the England Football Team.
Professor Smith who acted as the Session Convener and Chair said:
‘Everyone needed to understand that we were not expecting doctors to become rehabilitators but at the end of the session we wanted them to know what should be done if they are referring patients on or if they should become Club Doctors and responsible for all that is integral to the sports medicine care. They also needed to understand the importance of knowing and following the criteria for the progressions through rehabilitation; essentially to know that what is being done is right.’
At the start of the session the participants were randomly split into three groups, each of which had a facilitator who was a Sports Therapist experienced working in both sport and education. These were:
David Jones, Senior Lecturer Sports Therapy, University of Hertfordshire & Rehabilitation Consultant with over sixteen years experience in professional football
Michael Cole Programme Leader, BSc (Hons) Sports Therapy, School of Health, Sport and Bioscience, University of East London and Sports Therapist with British Swimming
Neil Mason Lecturer in Sports Therapy and Independent Practitioner with an extensive background working in football.
Jen Jones, Principal Lecturer, Sports Therapy at the University of Hertfordshire was tasked with overseeing all 3 groups and co-ordinating the summary session with Professor Smith.
Each facilitator was given a particular injury problem and the group had to work together to create a rehabilitation programme from early stage through to returning to sport, including WHAT they would do, WHY they would do it and importantly showing HOW their patient needed to carry out the specific exercise.
David’s injury centred round a rugby centre who was a right footed kicker with a left sided groin problem. An international squash player with a medial, collateral knee ligament injury taxed Michael’s group and a professional footballer , a midfield player with a right ankle inversion injury kept Neil’s group busy.
Four key messages were common to each of the groups and formed the basis of the session:
i.Understanding and being able to apply criteria for determining progressions through the stages of rehabilitation.
ii.Understanding the importance of applying simple, objective based clinical markers and guidelines
iii.Understanding that anything that is given (to a patient) has to have a functional or sporting applications
iv.Understanding that rehabilitation is a continuing process, from start through to finish and everyone who is part of the journey needs to know what is required.
Two particular words featured prominently throughout - ‘Show Me’. Too often patients are given exercises and have not been properly advised how to do them or given aids such as crutches and not shown how to use them. The participants were eager to learn and demonstrate. Watching a doctor sprint down the path outside the main St George’s Park building with a parachute on his back provided a fantastic spectacle as did sit down volleyball at the start of the afternoon session.
After beeing given time to prepare and work with the facilitators, one member of the group was then tasked with taking the other groups through the programme they had put together, sharing what was indeed great knowledge and best practice. This proved to be quite an interactive part of the day and showed how much the participants had immersed themselvs into it.
Professor Graham N. Smith, summing up the event said:
‘I was extremely pleased and proud for The Society of Sports Therapists to have been invited and to have such a key session within what was a really exciting and vibrant conference. When we were putting this session together, it was important that it was structured in a way that would leave a positive impression of Sports Therapists and give the participants some challenges and solutions that they could take away and use.
The three facilitators, Michael , David and Neil were outstanding in the way that they managed their own individual sessions, especially in what was potentially an extremely difficult environment. Their knowledge, experience and demeanours were acknowledged and positively commented on by all those involved and I was extremely proud of their contribution and support. It made the summing up and overview fairly straightforward for both Jen Jones and me.
I believe that at the very end of the session and the Conference, all of those involved would have left with a very positive attitude towards The Society of Sports Therapists and its Members and probably a much better understanding of where Sports Therapists fit in to the Sport and Exercise Team’.