Who’s to blame over injuries?


On the way back: Women’s doubles ace Pearly Tan (front) is recovering from an injury.

Athletes’ physical setbacks on the rise but Dr Ramlan reveals secret to managing it

INJURIES have hampered many athletes from achieving their goals. How can we help them to deal with it? Former National Sports Institute (NSI) director Datuk Dr Ramlan Aziz gives his valuable inputs on how to save athletes’ careers following physical setbacks.

Q: What causes injuries to players?

A: Injuries to athletes may occur in competition or in training, as an occupational hazard. They can even happen at home in everyday life. As such, there must always be an emphasis on health and safety, and to take all possible precautions to prevent injuries.

It is also important to note that most injuries are multifactorial and need to be addressed effectively.

Injuries can either be traumatic, which would be obvious to everyone, but it may also be building up gradually in an insidious way that would escape notice in the early stages until it results in pain or swelling or disturbance in movement.

It is also worth mentioning that the principle of progress in physical training is “adapting to overload” and that the secret of the adapting to that necessary overload is gradual progression and proper recovery.

Who should be blamed when injuries happen?

When an injury occurs, it would be best to avoid a blame-game situation, which would not be useful in moving ahead as there would be a myriad of emotional distractions.

Of course, a thorough review of the injury needs to be done in order to identify areas that had contributed to the injury.

It would then be best to adopt a more productive attitude of shared responsibility, as that would focus on resolving the factors that caused it by all those involved.

Having said that, it would be necessary for the athletes themselves to take personal responsibility to adhere to the treatment and rehabilitation plan, and to comply with all professional advice given by the attending doctor and physiotherapist.

The coach would also need the same compliance to advice given to assist in the athlete’s recovery and subsequent return to training and competition.

Headed for surgery: Men’s singles shuttler Ng Tze Yong suffered a spinal disc injury during the Asia Team Championships.Headed for surgery: Men’s singles shuttler Ng Tze Yong suffered a spinal disc injury during the Asia Team Championships.

What is the best treatment for an injured athlete?

It would be vital to first explain the nature and factors that caused the injury to the athlete so that they would be able to comprehend and commit well to the treatment and rehabilitation plan to the very end, and even beyond in terms of preventing future recurrence of the injury.

The focus should be on short-term goals in attaining progress in a gradual manner, starting with reduction of pain and swelling, and improvement in range of movement and gradual progression of strength, power and endurance in the affected region.

It would be best to infuse sport specific movements into the rehabilitation exercises as this would motivate the athlete and help to keep their focus.

It would be important to maintain as normal as possible conditioning work in the unaffected regions. The conditioning of the injured site involving muscle function and joint movement should be introduced in phases as the rehabilitation programme progresses.

The involvement and cooperation of the conditioning support personnel in collaborating with the doctor and physiotherapist is a vital aspect in maintaining smooth progress and achieving the desired outcomes in each phase, until they meet to determine athletes’ return to training and competition in due course.

At an appropriate juncture certain procedures in biomechanics to ascertain injury mechanism needs to be done, and physical conditioning levels need to be tested, safely, at appropriate junctures.

All through the programme, it would be necessary to maintain good communication among the medical and scientific personnel involved and also vital to keep the coach well-informed periodically in meetings or some electronic platforms for group communications.

This would cultivate trust and confidence among the injured athlete, the coach and all the support personnel involved.

Can an injured athlete get back to his full potential?

The general aim would be to return the athlete to a level achieved prior to the injury but yes, there have been occasions where an even higher supra-normal physical and physiological level with improved performance potential may be achieved by addressing all the identified areas of weakness or deficit during the rehabilitation process.

Hampered: The injury-prone Yap Roy King’s (right) journey with his doubles partner Wan Arif Wan Junaidi has been far from smooth.Hampered: The injury-prone Yap Roy King’s (right) journey with his doubles partner Wan Arif Wan Junaidi has been far from smooth.

How to build confidence in a player who returns to play after recovering?

The education for the athlete in clearly explaining the factors involved in the injury and the steps needed to prevent recurrence is most vital in inspiring confidence in him or her, and moving ahead. Maintaining a positive attitude and atmosphere in the rehabilitation process is another vital aspect.

The athlete needs to take responsibility and ownership of his own performance and the outcomes and adopt a thinking and analytical approach not only in the technical areas of the sport but also in the physical, physiological and mental aspects of training and competing.

How to focus on injury without being involved in doping to aid quick recovery?

The attending doctor and physiotherapist need to cooperate with the coach in encouraging the athlete to totally believe and trust in genuine training methods and adopt a morally strong position in staying away from doping in sport, as that would ultimately lead to destroying the athletes’ careers and staining their lives.

What can we do with athletes who are always injured? Do we advise them to quit?

When an injury happens, we need to do all that we can and ought to by using all available methods, processes and devices to obtain a competitive level in returning the athlete to training and to competition.

Of course, the athlete must not only achieve the required physical and physiological levels but needs to have high resolve and determination, desiring progress and achievement.

They should honestly confront themselves ... and as long as the desire to succeed is there, and is commensurate with the performance achieved, everybody involved in supporting the athlete should continue to have faith and trust in the athlete.

In that way, we can honestly say that we have shared the athlete’s journey of achievement and success, and not merely basking in reflected glory.

Everyone will have their limits and when the time comes to end it, then let it be done without regret or reservation that more could and should have been done.

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Badminton , Ng Tze Yong , Yap Roy King , Pearly Tan

   

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