Football Medicine Evening- A Reflection

So I am sat here trying to reflect on the notes that I took at yesterday evenings “Football Medicine Evening” @GoPerformUK for which I was fortunate to be given the opportunity to speak. So I want to take this chance to say thank you to Luke and Dan for putting on such a great evening that I think everyone enjoyed and learned a lot from, and secondly thanks to everyone who came along and has provided me with good feedback on my presentation. In this blog I am going to look at discussing a couple of main points that I think came up from each of the talks.


ACL Rehabilitation- Luke Anthony (@GoPerformUK)


Luke started off this talk on a negative note by citing the work of Walden et al. (2016) who identified that only 65% of players were still playing at their pre-injury level three years following the injury. The point of which was not to scare us all into thinking that we can’t rehabilitate players back to a good level following injury, but just to remind us that this is a severe injury. Just because there may be a current perception that it is a common injury, it is still vitally important to look at addressing all of the risk factors that may have contributed to the initial injury, or may contribute towards risk of reinjury.


Leading on from this Luke talked about having no fear around “hammering home” the basics to the player. It is vitally important that the player is able to complete the basic exercise before we look to progress them to the more complex rehabilitation tasks. One of which may be running, and this was another area commented on by Luke. If we are going to start the player with a running based program, whether that be on an Alter G or outdoor it is really important that we have confidence that they can tolerate this. The psychological impact that regressing someone back from running should not be underestimated.


The final point towards the end of this talk from Luke was the principle of rehabilitating players to “thrive and not survive”. Luke picked up on the common pattern seen within players who have returned from ACL injury in that they are able to make a good impact to the team immediately upon return to a match day setting, but they may start to suffer a dip in form after four or five games as they start to become fatigued. This means that the inclusion of a maintenance program within their weekly training routine is really important if we are going to breed an environment of “thriving and not just surviving”.


Taken From: @GoPerformUK


Common Injuries in Football, Doing the Basics Well- Jon Fearn


This was another top quality talk from a clinician who has many years experience in the field of elite football, and it was interesting to hear his reflections on his time in the sport. The first key message from this talk was “Do the basics well”!


Jon was keen to emphasise early on that in a department with so many nationalities and cultures it has become clear to his that there is no right or wrong way, merely different ways. It is important for us all to recognise this and utilise our colleagues different attributes in order to gain the best possible outcome for the players under our care. A challenge that we could all potentially set ourselves based upon this is to perform a joint assessment at least once a month. It is likely that we would gain knowledge from this joint assessment, and ultimately the player will then benefit, as will future cases.


Another consistent theme throughout the talk was the huge importance of a clear communication pathway. This is especially relevant within a large multi-disciplinary team such as the one in place at Chelsea, but is also important within smaller teams. Jon suggested that one of the strengths of the department is a clear communication within the department which is then distributed to the management staff by only one member of staff. This member of staff is a consistent and therefore if any information is required then people are always directed to them, and the department can be confident that the information they distribute is going to be consistent.


To Nordic? Or Not To Nordic? Adam Johnson


I wont be reviewing my own talk from yesterday evening!! But I will point you in the direction of my blog page which has discussion surrounding the specific sections from yesterdays talk.


A Performance Team: Reflection over 2 Successful FIFA World Cups- Jon Alty


An interesting aspect of this reflection was just how closely the key points overlapped with the points raised by Jon Fearn in his talk. In achieving two successful world cup trips Jon had to work with a range of different staff, including staff who had only just taken up roles at the organisation. This meant that all planning that had gone into the tournament was challenged as those people who had written the plans were not there to implement them. This meant that the processes and structures that were devised were challenged at the most vital competition time.


The key topic of communication again came up with all staff members assigned roles at the beginning of the tournament for which they took ownership. This meant that issues such as travel were well managed even again when challenged after a game was cancelled due to flash floods. As at Chelsea, the doctor on the trip was assigned as the point of contact for the coaching staff to ensure that the message delivered to them was consistent.


Finally one of the main points that I took from the talk was the influence of “marginal gains” on group dynamics over the course of a long trip away from home. The staff timetabled in opportunities for the players to call home when time difference made it appropriate to do so. They did this so that players weren’t tempted to wake up in the middle of the night in order to speak to relatives, and so disrupt their sleep. But not just this, it was to ensure that they did not feel isolated and were able to share the experience that they are having with their family and friends.


Thank you again as ever for reading. If there is any questions you have, or comments you want to make then please feel free to message me on twitter.




Walden et al. (2016). ACL injuries in men’s professional football: a 15-year prospective study on time trends and return-to-play rates reveals only 65% of players still play at the top level 3 years after ACL rupture

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: