The rehab process
The game is the reference of your rehab process. It is the starting point from which you start planning. Always start with the finish in mind and then work backwards. Everything the player does is related to the game. Working towards the goal which is Return to Play and «If it doesn´t help the scoreboard, why do it?» – Fergus Connolly.
At day one the player often starts his rehab on the treatment table. Here he receives medical treatment to optimize the condition of the joints, muscles, tendons, etc, towards the next step, which often is the gym. In the gym the player will do different types of strength training. When strong enough he will then go outside to start running and later do some ball work. After this phase the goal is to introduce team training.
This is of course not a set sequence. It will definitely help if you have a structure/model to work from. That said, the model/structure is just a tool. We are working with humans not computers. There will be and must be overlap between each of the phases. A player can still be on the treatment table daily while also doing gym work. He can join parts of team training and do other work before/after. Why can´t he use a ball in the gym? Can he use a ball while running on the pitch in a straight line? It’s not like you can’t use the ball because a particular phase in rehab hasn’t been finished yet. The answer to most questions in rehab is: It depends. There are no fixed answers in rehab. It all depends. It depends on where the player is in his rehab process. It depends on the type of injury, etc. Many questions have to be answered Blog.
Why are most players not introduced to team training as soon as they are able to? Historically the rehab process is an individual process that is vaguely related to team training sessions. This can continue up to the moment where the player actually joins team training Football and Rehab. There is no reason why a player can not join parts of team training as soon as they can run.
When he can run in a straight line he can participate in the teams warm-up when they run in a straight line. When he progresses by doing changes of directions he can also do this in the teams warm-up. As long as the workload is controlled by the rehab coach, this is no problem. A gradual build-up is an absolute necessity. Preferably with an systematic approach from both the head coach and the rehab coach.
Introducing team training as soon as possible has several advantages. The head coach can see the progress of the injured player on a daily basis. The challenge here is that the head coach may think that the player is further in his rehab then he actually is and asks for more. Clear communication between the technical staff and medical staff is essential.
The biggest advantage is that the player feels that he is part of the team. Traditionally he is working on his own until he joins team training. The challenge here is that the player wants to do more then he should. Good communication, between the rehab coach and the player is important.
The player always comes first. Your model/structure is only a tool to reach the goal. Which is to get the player back to play. You adjust your plan daily depending on external factors that suddenly appear. Communication between all involved is critical to ensure an as flawless process as possible.
The best day in a rehab coaches life must be the day when he stands «unemployed» at the sideline watching the training session with 22 fit players.
Thanks for sharing.