In a football team the head coach is responsible. If things go wrong he is the one who gets the sack. The head coach has the overall responsibility in all aspects regarding the team process. This means that he also is responsible for the injured player, returning to training and playing. Or is he?
As you can imagine this would be way too much for most coaches. Firstly because they don´t know how and secondly because most of them don´t even care. “Just get him back as soon as possible”, is what you often hear. Let´s imagine that you have backroom staff with a head coach, an assistant coach and a rehab coach.
The head coach can´t do it all by himself. The club/head coach therefore hires competent people, at least that´s what you hope, to take care of certain tasks. One of which is the rehab coach, who´s tasks will be the medical follow up of the players and taking care of the rehab sessions in case of an injury.
Every assistant (this is what a rehab coach actually is) has his specific tasks and responsibilities within the coaching team. When a player is fully fit the head coach is responsible. When, for whatever reason, a player gets injured the head coach leaves the player in the capable hands of his medical staff. The rehab coach will now train the injured player structurally and gradually back towards group training. But what happens when the injured player returns to group training? Returning to group training is not the same as fully fit. Who is responsible now? Is the head coach or the rehab coach responsible when he enters the pitch?
A player returning to group training will in most cases not be participating in all sessions. He will most probably join in parts of a session at the beginning and gradually increase his workload with the team as time progresses. At least this what we would like in the ideal world. This is also where most challenges occur. The head coach often thinks short term (result /getting sacked) and the rehab coach is thinking long term. You are not only rehabilitating an injury, but also a career. In the early phases of returning to group training the rehab coach is responsible with close communication with the head coach. This has been decided beforehand and in which exercises the injured player will join. This is how it should be if the staff are working on the same wave length.
As time progresses the player will join in with more and more of the team training. The head coach will then incorporate the player for longer periods in the football sessions. Here the rehab coach keeps a close eye on how the player responds to the workload agreed upon at the team meeting. When declared fully fit the head coach is again solely responsible for the player.
But if the head coach is responsible for every aspect of the team process, what responsibilities does the rehab coach then have? Is he responsible or accountable for the work executed? In the end the head coach is the one being held accountable?
Thanks for sharing.