Monday, March 1

Getting injured athletes back on their feet

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State boxer Daeloniel Mcdelon Bong is attended to by sports therapist Premma Rimong during rehab while (from right) SSC Sports Development Division manager Ahmad Rodzli Hashim, SSC High-Performance Unit manager Andre Richards and Rehab Concept pilates instructor Selena Wong and senior physiotherapist Eu Sze Kwang look on.

ATHLETES tend to get injured at some stage of their careers and they need sports rehabilitation to regain or improve their strengths and capabilities.

Some suffered minor injuries during training or competitions but for others, the wear and tear could be more serious.

The common injuries include back problems, ligament strains and sprains, muscular strains and tendonitis in the shoulders or different muscles of the legs.

“Rehabilitation will depend on the severity of the injuries. It may take a few weeks for minor injuries and a few months for the major ones,” said senior physiotherapist Eu Sze Kwang from Rehab Concept Sdn Bhd.

Eu is assisted by three sports rehab specialists, comprising senior physiotherapist Jacinta Lim, pilates instructor Selena Wong Siew Ping and sports therapist Premma Rimong.

Rehab Concept Sdn Bhd has entered into a private arrangement with the Sarawak Sports Corporation to start the Rehab Concept Centre under the High-Performance Unit (HPU). The facility was set up at the Pandelela Rinong Aquatic Centre in January this year.

Premma applies trigger point sports massage therapy for the rhomboid muscle on Daeloniel.

Eu and his colleagues have been working closely with the HPU to provide rehab services for the state athletes since Sukma Sarawak in 2016 and Sukma Perak in 2018.

According to Eu, sports rehabilitation is an alternative treatment for sports injuries, especially minor ones.

But for major injuries and broken bones, surgery is the only way.

“Rehab is important because it’s for pain management and strength training to help injured athletes resume training as soon as possible.

“A key part is working very closely with the coaches. They need to know the extent of their athletes’ injuries. If we are on the same page with the coaches, recovery for the athletes is faster and more consistent,” he said.

Individualised treatment

Every rehab treatment is individualised because there are different sports and different types of injuries.

State Sukma footballer Khairul Lukman training on the pilates reformer.

Selena Wong demonstrates an exercise on the pilates reformer.

SSC High-Performance Unit manager Andre Richards explained: “For example, a swimmer may suffer a shoulder injury while a footballer, a leg injury. Before allowing the athletes to return to full training, we have to make sure they have fully recovered and regained strength to the injured parts. The important thing is that they are pain-free.

“When injured athletes come to us, we conduct a battery of tests on them and from the results, find out what the underlying issues are.

The best way is to conduct an MRI scan on the area affected. From the report, we need to decide whether surgery or rehabilitation is needed.”

He noted that most athletes carried some kind of injury into competitions and they may or tended to aggravate the injury.

Another Sukma footballer Abbel Akwensive going through banded side lunges on the agility ladder.

Another Sukma footballer Abbel Akwensive going through banded side lunges on the agility ladder.“Some injuries happen because of the intensity of the training. For instance, during the Movement Control Order (MCO), training was restricted to the home and once the athletes were allowed to resume normal training, the coaches, who were under pressure to get them to perform, may try and fast-track the athletes’ fitness and progress.

“Bearing in mind the athletes only had a few weeks of light training at home, putting them suddenly on high intensity sprinting or any other explosive disciplines right after their return can render them prone to injuries such as Achilles sprains.”

Return To Sports

Sports masseur Wan Bujang Wan Othman massages an athlete. – Photo courtesy of HPU

After completing their rehab, the athletes will be referred to the Return To Sports (RTS) team, managed by Joshua Kudi Philip.

He is assisted by Mackinson Robin and sports masseur Wan Bujang Wan Othman.

The three RTS components are Return To Participation, Return To Sports and Return to Performance.

State swimmers soak in a water bath during a recovery session.

“By the time the athletes have recovered up to 80 per cent, they are referred to us from Rehab Concept. We make sure they do not feel pain or stress in their joints through massaging. When recovery is 90 per cent, we refer the athletes back to the Strength and Conditioning unit before releasing them to their coaches for normal training. They will undergo tests again to make sure they have recovered from their injuries.

“We also educate the athletes and coaches on injury prevention,” he said.

Joshua also leads a medical-cum-recovery team to every Sukma to attend to treatment of injured athletes from the state contingent.