How to train properly while injured
In this week’s Gaelic Life, Ciaran Woods spoke to a series of Physiotherapists about how their profession can help Gaelic Footballers stay at the top of their game for longer. Here’s an example
Brenda Cassidy (Brenda Cassidy Therapy Services)…
- What if you were able to train while you were injured?
Well now that situation has become a reality thanks to the introduction of the first anti-gravity treadmill in the North.
Over recent weeks, Tyrone defender Justin McMahon has been amongst those who have been making use of the Alter-G treadmill at Brenda Cassidy Therapy Services in Enniskillen as he strives to get back into competitive action.
Designed by NASA and also owned by all but two of the Premier League soccer clubs in England, the Alter-G treadmill allows sports men and women to continue training while they are injured. In short, it’s like being weightless. Like running on air, and according to Brenda, will revolutionise how GAA players go about their recovery from injury.
“This is the only way you can truly train through injury. The only condition is that you have been medically cleared for weight-bearing. The beauty of it is that it gives me the ability to unweigh a person by up to 80 percent of their body weight.
“If you’re in water, which is the closest comparison, you can only unweigh up to 50 percent of body weight, plus you still have the resistance of the water. You’re not walking or running at a normal gait.
“With the machine, you are fully supported and enclosed. You can’t fall off it and you can’t go anywhere, so you are in a very controlled environment. It lifts the whole weight off the lower lumber spine for those who have ongoing back problems.”
Brenda’s own background is an extensive one in the area of rehabilitation. It is her clinical experience which allows her to fully assess the capabilities and progress of the player, and at what rate to take their rehabilitation forward in conjunction with the player’s physiotherapists.
Although the clinic has only been open for a few weeks, it has already caused quite a stir, and Brenda believes wholeheartedly in the revolutionary new approach.
“When Justin McMahon came to me first, he was unweighed to 50 percent of his body weight. Since then, we’ve built it up to a point where on his last session he was running at 12 kilometres per hour for most of his half hour session. The machine also allows the player to run in reverse up to a speed of three km/h, meaning they are getting a full lower body and cardiovascular workout.
“I can keep bringing down the unweighting stage by stage, while they are still able to maintain the same pace, to a point where they are able to support their full body weight and are ready for a return to competitive action. I believe that this will quickly become the gold standard in rehabilitation.”
The full story is in the current issue of Gaelic Life, published on Thursday July 5. Buy your copy now in your local newsagent, or you can purchase the online version – for only 90p – by clicking here