Attention all athletes… Please check your medications

No matter what sport, it is very important that all athletes subject to drug testing check the status of any medications they take. Some medications for common medical conditions, such as cold & flu, asthma or hayfever, may contain prohibited substances.

Athletes should remember to check medications carefully before using them, regardless of how familiar they are with the product. Players, clubs, coaches, and support staff can all check the status of licensed medication or constituent ingredient using the Global DRO website.

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Please note that Global DRO cannot provide information on the status of any supplements. For all supplements, Informed-Sport is a quality assurance programme for sports nutrition products, suppliers to the sports nutrition industry, and supplement manufacturing facilities.

The programme certifies that all nutritional supplements and/or ingredients that bear the Informed-Sport logo have been tested for banned substances. All athletes choosing to use supplements are encouraged to use the search function on the Informed-Sport website to find products that have been through this rigorous certification process.

Remember… Ignorance is not a defence!!

 

Informed sport logo

Confused by concussion??

Over the past few months concussion has become a very hot topic, not only in elite sport but also among amateur sports people. People often approach me and ask, how are we supposed to recognise concussion? How should we manage concussion??

The aim of this blog is not to enter into the debate of the right and the wrongs of previous management of concussion, but to provide a guide for the masses toward the resources that are available to help people recognise the signs and symptoms of a suspected concussion, and how to best manage the injury.

Safety first when managing concussion

Safety first when managing concussion

With my background in professional rugby, I have found a number of very useful resources from the International Rugby Board (IRB) and also the (English) Rugby Football Union (RFU).

Focussing on the amateur game the IRB have a very clear, ‘safety-first’ policy when managing concussion. This is a policy that I would encourage all parents, young athletes, coaches, teachers and any other responsible person involved in junior or amateur sport to employ…. The message is simple –  ‘Recognise and Remove’.

IRB poster outlining the signs and symptoms of concussion. The clear message is 'Recognise & Remove'

IRB poster outlining the signs and symptoms of concussion.
The clear message is ‘Recognise & Remove’

The IRB Recognise and Remove
message incorporates the 6 Rs

Recognise – Learn the signs and symptoms of a concussion so you understand when an athlete might have a suspected concussion.

Remove – If an athlete has a concussion or even a suspected concussion he or she must be removed from play immediately.

Refer – Once removed from play, the player should be referred immediately to a qualified healthcare professional who is trained in evaluating and treating concussions.

Rest – Players must rest from exercise until symptom-free and then start a Graduated Return to Play. The IRB recommends minimum rest periods for different ages (U/6 to U/15 – 2 weeks minimum rest, U/16-U/19 – 1 week minimum rest.

Recover – Full recovery from the concussion is required before return to play is authorized. This includes being symptom-free. Rest and specific treatment options are critical for the health of the injured participant.

Return – In order for safe return to play in Rugby, the athlete must be symptom-free and cleared in writing by a qualified healthcare professional who is trained in evaluating and treating concussions. The athlete completes the GRTP (Graduated Return to Play) protocol.

In addition to the IRB concussion poster, there are a number of useful education modules that the IRB player welfare website provides. One very informative module is the Concussion management module. In addition there is extensive information available for all to read in the IRB Concussion Risk Management Strategy. The RFU Head case campaign is also a very useful resource for coaches, players, parents, referees, schools and colleges and healthcare professionals alike.

My over-riding message to all who read this blog is to use the information provided to improve your knowledge and skill in managing concussion, approaching the subject with a ‘safety first’ attitude. No game, no race, no competition is more important than the athlete’s wellbeing….

In the professional game, Rugby Union has drawn massive media attention over the past few months due to the experimental law variation – The Pitch Side Concussion Assessment (PSCA) tool trial. To enter into a full detailed debate on this subject is beyond this blog, but having used the PSCA in competition both on the IRB sevens series and in the 15-a-side game – my general feel is one of support for the PSCA (views are my own and not representative of any organisation!!).

My personal view is that there is a general public mis-conception (maybe due to media mis-representation) that the PSCA is a tool used to keep players on the field. The reality is that the PSCA is a tool to allow players to be safely removed from play, to be assessed in an optimised clinical environment. Something that I feel allows more accurate diagnosis, than running alongside an athlete in the heat of battle!!

I hope this blog has helped widen your knowledge on the subject and hopefully it will help support players, coaches and parents at your club or organisation. Please share, tweet / re-tweet or promote this blog to raise awareness for managing concussion whatever your sport…

Daniel Jones MCSP
Chartered Physiotherapist

CrossFit – Love it or hate it?

I recently wrote a tweet sharing my opinion that I feel that Olympic lifting (Snatch / Clean) under fatigue against time or for as many reps as possible places people at increased risk of injury. As the title suggests I am referring to the fitness training craze that is CrossFit. So…..Am I a hater?? Absolutely not! Am I worried for those participating?? Absolutely so!!

There is no doubt that the CrossFit movement has increased activity levels, drawing millions of people into gyms (boxes in CrossFit code) around the world. As a physiotherapist I see this as a very positive short-term effect and must admit to enjoying the intensity and competition of some of the sessions designed. It must also be said that the phenomenal success of the ‘CrossFit’ brand is not a reason to hold a grudge against it….they must be doing something right? At the end of the day people vote with their feet!

So what am I banging on about you may ask?? My concern is for the long term musculoskeletal health of CrossFit ‘athletes’ the world over. I have indulged in many CrossFit sessions and thankfully I have not suffered any major issues apart from tearing the skin from my hands and fingers (a CrossFit badge of honour!!).

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To my mind I have no doubt that high repetitions of Olympic lifts significantly increases risk of injury. In my opinion it is not possible to maintain correct form under such levels of fatigue. More to the point these are complex compound movements aimed at increasing athletes explosive power – so why perform such high reps???? Surely that’s developing endurance over power??

My main concern is the medium to long term effect that regular CrossFit training will have on athletes musculoskeletal health. At the clinic here in Cardiff we are already treating an increasing number of CrossFit participants presenting with injuries including acute back pain, shin splints, knee tendinopathy’s, elbow tendinopathy’s and a variety of shoulder issues….Should we really be seeing so many injuries from what is essentially a form of training?? I fear the effects of heavily loaded repeated movements into lumbar extension, with poor lifting technique may present us with significant degenerative lumbar spine and joint pathology in the long term.

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From my work with professional rugby I understand the risk of injury is part and parcel of sport. CrossFit has televised competitions at the elite end, but it’s for the millions of regular CrossFit folk I hold my concern. So what’s the answer? For me it’s find a gym or instructor that will program complex Olympic lifts appropriately – focussing on technique, for fewer reps…never against the clock. Less complex exercises and movements can be used to work on endurance for maximum reps against time.

I have enjoyed training and received excellent coaching at a number of CrossFit facilities over the past 2-3 years with @KFCrossfit and @Dragon_CrossFit being two of my favourites for quality of coaching and facilities. However, my underlying concern remains and only time (along with quality unbiased research) will tell if my worries are justified…

Thank you for reading and please share your views in the comments section below or contact us via twitter – @PhysioCardiff

Physio Diary (Day 7) – A week at the IRB Sevens Rugby World Cup

Day 7

The final day of the 2013 Sevens World Cup matched reining world champions Wales against a strong New Zealand side. Unfortunately we came up against an All Blacks team that was adamant on avenging for defeat at the hands of Wales the same stage in the 2009 competition. Early errors were punished by the clinical New Zealanders, who eventually ran out 26-10 victors.

Bryce Heem takes on the Welsh defence

Bryce Heem takes on the Welsh defence

Following the free flowing rugby of the quarter finals, the tournament suffered at hands of mother nature with a huge electrical storm hitting the city. A deluge of rainfall resulted in the pitch turning into a lake and the international television feed failing. The semi-final match between New Zealand and Fiji was abandoned early in the first half due to dangerous weather conditions – a disastrous situation for all involved.

Poor weather conditions put a dampener on day 3 of the IRB Sevens Rugby World Cup

Poor weather conditions put a dampener on day 3 of the IRB Sevens Rugby World Cup

Once the extreme stormy weather settled, play resumed with NZ comfortably defeating Fiji and England edging Kenya in what can only be described as impossible conditions. To their credit the tournament organisers endeavoured to complete the fixtures and true to form New Zealand took both the women’s and men’s titles in a completely dominant display. All in all this was a fair outcome with undoubtedly the two best teams of the weekend taking the spoils.

As for my experience it is one I am extremely proud of and although we did not retain the title, the squad gave it their best shot, only to be beaten by a world beating New Zealand outfit. Time now for a well earned break over the off-season, before looking ahead to what next season will bring…

A clean sweep for New Zealand as they take both the Womens and Mens world cup crowns

A clean sweep for New Zealand as they take both the Womens and Mens world cup crowns

Physio diary (Day 6) – A week at the IRB Sevens Rugby World Cup

Day 6

What a day! Our second game of the tournament was against a spirited Tonga side, who proved stiff opposition in the morning heat. Wales raced into an early lead, but Tonga rallied and replied with two scores of their own. In the close the boys pulled through, extending their lead in the second half to book a ‘winner takes all’ pool decider against the Flying Fijians.

Wales 7s changing room before they play Tonga at Sevens Rugby World Cup

Wales 7s changing room before they play Tonga at Sevens Rugby World Cup

Game three proved to be one of the best performances that I have witnessed in my time with Wales 7s. The intensity and commitment that the players delivered to unsettle an enormous Fijian side was truly impressive. Second half scores from Alex Webber and Lee Williams added to a first half try by Gareth Davies dispatched a strong Fijian outfit.

Wales 7s reflect on an excellent second day at the Sevens Rugby World Cup

Wales 7s reflect on an excellent second day at the Sevens Rugby World Cup

Now the squad move on to day 3, where they meet New Zealand for a spot in the semi-finals. Every one of the teams in the last eight are quality outfits, so there are no easy fixtures to be found in the quarter finals of this tournament. The squad will sleep easy tonight knowing that they have performed very well so far, however the job is not complete and day 3 brings a new challenge…

Russian military arrive early to enjoy the sevens action

Russian military arrive early to enjoy the sevens action

Physio Diary – A week at the IRB Sevens Rugby World Cup (Day 5)

Day 5

Game day!!.. There is a air of anticipation to the squad at breakfast this morning, with the opening game of Wales 7s world cup tittle defence looming. Uruguay the opponents for the afternoon fixture have proven tough opponents during the IRB World Series, with a dogged determination akin to their Argentinian neighbours.

Wales 7s at breakfast ahead of day 1

Wales 7s at breakfast ahead of day 1

Today’s game was no exception and Uruguay fought from start to finish but the Wales 7s boys proved too strong in the close. Chris Knight continued his fine form scoring a brace, with Gareth Davies pulling the strings in midfield. James Davies was lively picking up a length of the field try, backed up by solid centre Adam Warren and twinkle toes Alex Webber. The final score of 33-5 will satisfy the squad ahead of tough challenges ahead of the Pacific Islanders Tonga and Fiji respectively.

Gareth Davies takes on the Uruguay defence on day 1 of the IRB Sevens Rugby World Cup

Gareth Davies takes on the Uruguay defence on day 1 of the IRB Sevens Rugby World Cup

The latest behind the scenes video released today on the WRU website is with Simon Wright offering an insight into the duties of an analyst on the international sevens circuit. Simon has a massive month ahead of his as once his sevens duties are over he travels to Leeds to play for Wales Students Rugby League in the Student World Cup.

Physio diary – A week at the IRB Sevens Rugby World Cup (Day 4)

Day 4

Rest day…..Not a great deal to report, so it’s a good opportunity to introduce the Women’s Sevens Rugby World Cup that will run alongside the mens tournament here in Moscow. The women’s tournament consists of 16 teams from around the globe including Africa, North & South America, Asia, Oceania and Europe. Australia are the current world champions and will face stern challenges from England, Netherlands, Canada and IRB Series winners New Zealand.

The Womens game is constantly growing and the level of rugby on the IRB series has seen some extremely physical and intense matches between the worlds top teams. It promises to be an exciting tournament…

IRB Womens Sevens Rugby World Cup captains photo - Red Square, Moscow

IRB Womens Sevens Rugby World Cup captains photo – Red Square, Moscow

WRU reporter Graeme Gillespie has today joined the squad here at the team hotel in Moscow. Graeme is the man behind the camera conducting all the interviews and reports, keeping the WRU website up to date with the latest news and events. As professional rugby players even though the day is listed as a day off, they do have duties to fulfil. Today, skipper Adam Thomas has been answering fans’ questions on twitter, followed by an interview ahead of the tournament opener tomorrow against Uruguay.

Not only do the players have media duties, but also the management group are in high demand with Head Coach Paul John and Team manager David Jenkins providing their comments on a regular basis. Not so regular is the opportunity for the back room staff to get their ‘mugs’ on the big screen. This week has been quite a change, with Graeame filming a behind the scenes series with Analyst Simon Wright, S&C Coach Wayne Proctor and myself…

 

The remainder of the day will entail pre-tournament ‘one to ones’ with players meeting the coaches for a final round up on rugby detail, alongside a treatment clinic where players iron out any minor soft tissue niggles. The bulk of the work is done, so it’s time to relax, re-fuel and rest ready to hit the ground running on Day 1 of competition.

Wales 7s final preparations ahead of Day 1 in Moscow

Wales 7s final preparations ahead of Day 1 in Moscow

Physio diary – A week at the IRB Sevens Rugby World Cup (Day 3)

Day 3

Today has been a lighter day for the group, with a morning of meetings for the management and media duties for the players. Team coaches are briefed on the tournament procedures and referee directives, whilst the analysts and medical staff convene to run through their respective protocol.

 

Wales 7s captain Adam Thomas joins the team captains for a photo on the Red Square

Wales 7s captain Adam Thomas joins the team captains for a photo on the Red Square

 

Following the morning duties the squad enjoy a bit of down time by visiting the famous ‘Red Square’ in the centre of Moscow. The outing to the square was memorable for the amazing architecture, but the experience of attending the eerie tomb displaying Lenin at rest was one we will remember for some time.

For the players it is a welcome break from the intensity of training and an opportunity to take in the culture of such a fascinating country…

 

Wales 7s players and management visit 'Red Square' in Moscow

Wales 7s players and management visit ‘Red Square’ in Moscow

 

This afternoon the players completed their final training session ahead of the captains run on Friday. Following the session the squad visited the impressive Luzhniki Stadium to absorb the surroundings and familiarise themselves with the pitch where they will defend their 2009 World Cup Title.

 

Wales 7s players visit the Luzhniki Stadium

Wales 7s players visit the Luzhniki Stadium

Physio diary – A week at the IRB Sevens Rugby World Cup (Day 2)

Day 2

Today sees the release of the new Wales Sevens jersey with its unique poison coloured panels, specifically designed for the fast paced WRU Sevens team. This will be the first time a Wales Sevens shirt has been available for fans to purchase and will be available to buy from the end of September 2013.  You can be pre-order via https://store.wru.co.uk or visit the WRU store.

The new Wales 7s jersey available soon...

The new Wales 7s jersey available to pre-order now

Big tournaments such as the Sevens Rugby World Cup are not possible without the number of volunteers that give their time to ensure the tournament runs smoothly. This week we have had the pleasure of Aleksei Solovyev and Aleksandr Yemshanov taking care of all our requirements at the training ground…A fine pair of young men, with a great work ethic.

IRB Sevens Rugby World Cup 2013 Volunteers - Aleksei Solovyev and Aleksandr Yemshanov

IRB Sevens Rugby World Cup 2013 Volunteers –
Aleksei Solovyev and Aleksandr Yemshanov

The squad have trained twice again today, working hard on fine tuning the small elements of the game that can made a huge difference come game day. It was also a great opportunity to continue the acclimatisation process, with temperatures reaching 35*c this afternoon!! One of the key elements of the training schedule is the post exercise recovery process. Having endured the extreme heat… it is vital that players undertake the routines of supplementation, ICE baths and re-hydration to guarantee that they optimise their recovery ready for the week ahead…

Alex Walker and James 'Cubby' Davies link during training in the heat of the Moscow sun

Alex Walker and James ‘Cubby’ Davies link during training in the heat of the Moscow sun

Physio diary – A week at the IRB Sevens Rugby World Cup (Day 1)

Welcome to our second blog of this nature, providing an insight into the week of a Physio on the international sevens circuit. On this occasion I will be sharing the daily events of what is a very special tournament – the IRB Sevens World Cup.

Day 1

To begin, I must state how fortunate I feel and how great an honour it is to be part of the group representing Wales at the 2013 Sevens World Cup. The players deserve particular acknowledgement for all the hard work and commitment that they have delivered, to make selection for the final squad of 12… Sadly a number of top quality players have missed out, highlighting how intense the competition for places has been.

Wales 7s - IRB World Cup Squad 2013 Standing Lt to Rt: Simon Wright (Analyst), Gareth Williams (Coach), Paul John (Head Coach), Adam Warren, Alex Webber, Jason Harries, Craig Price, Alex Walker, Rhys Shellard, James Davies, Wayne Proctor (S&C Coach), Dan Jones (Physio), David Jenkins (Team Manager). Seated Lt to Rt: Chris Knight, Gareth Davies, John Griffiths (Minister for Culture & Sport), Adam Thomas (Captain), Richard Parks, Rhys Jones, Lee Williams

Wales 7s – IRB World Cup Squad 2013
Standing Lt to Rt: Simon Wright (Analyst), Gareth Williams (Assistant Coach), Paul John (Head Coach), Adam Warren, Alex Webber, Jason Harries, Craig Price, Alex Walker, Rhys Shellard, James Davies, Wayne Proctor (S&C Coach), Dan Jones (Physiotherapist), David Jenkins (Team Manager).
Seated Lt to Rt: Chris Knight, Gareth Davies, John Griffiths (Minister for Culture & Sport), Adam Thomas (Captain), Richard Parks (737 Challenge), Rhys Jones, Lee Williams


Having arrived from the UK on a relatively short flight, the squad are transported to the impressive 
World Trade Centre Hotel, in the centre of Moscow. Once settled, we train twice on day 1 fine tuning our game plays and set-pieces whilst acclimatising to the 30 degree heat. There is a unique ‘community’ shared by all the teams on the IRB sevens circuit, which again was demonstrated when the Australian 7s squad joined us at the end of their session to run through some ‘live’ line-outs and scrummages. 

The facilities the Russian Rugby Union have organised for the event are impressive, with all the teams training in the ‘world class’ surrounds of the Luzhniki Stadium, where the tournament will be held between 28th-30th June. This is the home of famous football club Spartak Moscow and chief venue for the 1980 summer olympics, holding a capacity of over 89,000 fans!! Lets hope we get close to that during the tournament…

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Wales 7s squad huddle prior to training at the grounds of the Luzhniki Stadium

It promises to be a great week here in Moscow, with the best 24 men’s and best 16 women’s sevens teams preparing to battle it out for the ultimate prize…the title of World Cup Champions. I’m sure all the teams will give it their best and continue to grow the global reputation sevens rugby is making for itself.

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