RETURN TO SPORT
One of the most commonly missed transitions in recovery from an injury is the return to sport process. Often the athlete has regained range of motion and strength of the injured area, but has not had any functional progression back to movements they require to be able to practice and compete effectively. Or they are handed off to the coach who does not understand the movement progressions required to successfully have confidence to return to competition and excel. This is often the case with challenging injuries that have had a prolonged absence from training and competition. The concept of this phase is to bridge the gap from clinic to competing.
It is important to understand the movement requirements of sport, which is the strength of Sport Physiotherapists and experienced practitioners such as Randy Goodman. Concentrating on correct foundational movement patterns is fundamental to successful return to sport, and often even improves the athletes performance.
Once the athlete has been determined to be safe to return to practice, the process begins to get them moving correctly. This starts with working on foundational movement patterns such as acceleration, deceleration, jumping and cutting, and upper body control in throwing sports. . On the ice, it is skating and stopping in all directions and the fundamentals of turning and cutting , etc. This process may take a couple of weeks to establish proper mechanics and control. Often this helps the athlete become psychologically confident with their movement, especially if they have had a prolonged time away from training and the sport.
As the athlete improves, speed and intensity of movement increases to performing basic drills of the sport. An example of this is passing and receiving or soccer in soccer in multiple angles and distances, or faceoffs, and shooting /passing in hockey. In these drills, Goodman works with the athlete on the court, field , of ice to supervise these drills and ensure foundational movement patterns are successfully achieved.
This will also often involve working with the coach to address any movement issues the player or athlete has. At this stage the athlete must also focus on cardiovascular fitness to ensure successful return to competition, and this is often achieved with collaboration of an exercise physiologist. This return to sport rehabilitation requires access to sport training surfaces, and Goodman has the ability to book these training spaces in the Okanagan to ensure complete recovery.
Finally, the athlete returns to practice starting with non-contact and then progressing to contact practice in sports such as hockey, basketball, and soccer. This is supervised with the coach, trainer, and Goodman communicating effectively. Once all of the aspects of recovery are achieved , it is time to get “ back in the game!”