Injury and illness are two of the key factors that prevent athletes from achieving improvements in performance as a result of losing critical training days and missing major championships. A key part of our work with sports is to improve the health and wellbeing of athletes, in particular a reduction in the incidence and protraction of injuries.
EIS Director of Athlete Health Craig Ranson discusses what Athlete Health is and the four Tokyo 2020 focus areas for his team in the video below.
Research and analysis into understanding when athletes are most susceptible to injury is critical to this and underpins the day-to-day work of practitioners. Much of this work focuses on prevention and developing techniques and interventions that reduce the incidence of preventable injuries and illness.
Practitioners across a range of disciplines work together and take a whole-body approach, focussing on prehabilitation work to make the athlete as robust as possible by strengthening those parts of the body which come under most stress for example the hands in boxing.
When injuries do occur, the EIS has developed an approach to intensive rehabilitation that aims to shorten injury recovery time, enabling the athlete to quickly return to training and competition. This form of rehabilitation is based on developing an individualised methodology for treating the athlete, involving many disciplines, typically a Doctor, Physiotherapist, Strength & Conditioning coach and Physiologist in the first instance.
As the athlete recovers, the team may be expanded to include a Performance Psychologist and a Performance Nutritionist to support the athlete’s mental well-being and ensure their diet reflects their rehabilitation needs. Sometimes this level of services requires them to live on-site for weeks at a time, as provided out of the Team GB Intensive Rehabilitation Unit.