I’m calling your bluff!

By Andy Rolls*
Arsenal Football Club, Medical team

(*views are my own) 

It’s hard to believe that it is almost 12 months ago that I wrote and published the BJSM Blog No more poker face, it is time to finally lay our cards on the table’. The whole idea for writing the blog was to encourage other sports clinicians to open up and share their experiences, thoughts and work. Why?  Because, we are constantly pushed to follow an evidence-led approach in our rehabilitation work. An evidence led approach to practice is recommended as the gold standard to servicing athletes and players in high performance sports. Such an approach is a combination of the research evidence with our practical experience.  Unfortunately, there is both a lack of research evidence and sharing of our practical experiences to really guide such an approach. While research can be months to years away, what we do have instantly at our fingertips is – our own experience, however, we need to share in order to learn from each other!

This is exactly why I lay my cards on the table, by providing my full approach to a hamstring rehabilitation program and opened it up to critique and appraisal with a specific call for action, for others to share too! While the feedback and praise from the blog and my courage to share all without hiding anything was clear, no one came back and really critiqued and certainly no one shared any of their own work (to my knowledge).   With the exception of peers such as Jurdan Mendiguchia (Spain) and Aspetar’s Nicol van Dyk, Rod Whiteley et al who were already among the minority of those actually sharing what they do (even before my blog), most people seem to still be holding onto their poker face.

I appreciate, and know first-hand that working as a clinician in a high performance sports team, that we are all very busy, but I sincerely believe we can spare some time to share our experiences and try to learn from each other.  Imagine if even two or three clinicians had shared their programs over the past 12 months; it could only have benefited our outlook on hamstring rehabilitation (or any rehabilitation for that matter).

So, almost a year on I am putting out another call for action to share what we are doing so we can enhance our evidence led approach to rehab, by improving the ‘practical experience’ component of such a strategy. As added motivation, I have collated a video summary of my original hamstring program (with the expert help of Sophie Curthoys). And watch out in the coming month/s for another example from my practice!  Here’s hoping we get some sharing this time round and don’t look back another year on, still asking myself ‘why is no one sharing’?

Andy Rolls, Arsenal Football Club, Email: arolls@arsenal.co.uk

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