Most amateur clubs don’t have the luxury of having a physiotherapist at their matches or at training nights so the responsibility falls on the coaches or managers to deal with any injuries that players may suffer.
Personally I have no medical knowledge or experience other than treatment that I have received in my playing days but here I am finding myself running onto the park to treat my injured players armed with only a medical bag stocked from Boots the chemist and a lot of guess work. I’ve found myself in situations where I’ve been surrounded by players telling me “put heat spray on that” quickly followed by “nah that needs a cold spray.” To be honest nobody is really sure, you just get the player back on his feet, give him a drink of water and hope that he continue without any further pain. There have been times when the opposition have had a physio in their back room team and credit to these guys, when one of my players has been on the end of a bad tackle they have been straight onto the park to provide care. I suppose that’s the nature of their job and the instinct in them to help someone’s injury. Sometimes I wonder if I am doing more harm than good though when trying to provide my own treatment. I am a qualified first aider, as the rules say each club must have one but a first aid course doesn’t cover a dead leg or a hamstring tear which of course are the type of injuries we are most likely to see.
Ultimately the player has the say on if he can continue or not. If a player tells me he is OK to continue then I’ll take his word for it. If I can see he is struggling then I’ll take him off straight away. I have no doubt that players lie about whether they are in pain or not, especially in big games but without someone’s expert knowledge what can we do as amateur managers. If I am over cautious I would run out of subs with the amount of knocks and niggles players suffer and if I am under cautious I put my players at risk. It’s a bit of a tightrope and a dangerous one at that.
I’ve used the services of physios before, and still do if I have a player who will be out for a few weeks or longer. It’s actually relatively cheap to send a player for a consultation and use the club funds to cover it. I always make sure I phone the physio afterwards too, to find out how long exactly the player should rest for as it wouldn’t be the first time I was told 2 weeks when the player has been told 6-8 weeks. Guys just want to play, I totally understand that but is it really worth the risk to do serious damage to yourself for a few games of football? To use the age old line “we have all got work in the morning.”
Again this is another issue that comes down to funding and what your club can afford. I’ve always thought it would be a good idea if the associations could tie in a deal with a physio that would see a reduction in price for clubs to send players for treatment. It would be win/win for both in my opinion. The physio would get regular business and the clubs would have a physio that they knew and could trust. Maybe it’s a bit of food for thought for any committee men reading this.
Don’t take the risk