Partnering with the Gold Coast Suns

9 September 2018

As the AFL season draws to a close, our director, David Coles, reflects on another year with the Gold Coast Suns. 

With the mighty Blues taking out the wooden spoon and the Suns coming in second last again - my footy season didn't go as expected. Although it may not have been the Suns year on the field, off the field we had a few wins. Sports injuries at this level require medical teams to push the boundaries of rehab and recovery. It is why I love working with these guys. You need to have a perfect understanding of what the injury is and the biomechanics - get it or go home. Every splint is tweaked, every exercise is adapted and every decision must be justified. This is how we treat all our patients but with athletes our time frames are shorter. Every day off the field is money and deconditioning. How do we make these calls - well, I guess we just know our stuff. 

The most common AFL hand injury this year through our clinics has been the 'skiers thumb'. This is a mcp joint ulna collateral ligament rupture - or a ligament tear in your thumb. Players who come to us need early diagnosis to get best results. An X-ray can rule out fractures but an ultrasound is needed to confirm a torn ligament. It is quite rare for this to require surgery to disrupt a players season. Our rehab involves making a game day splint and a resting splint. The game day splint needs to take into account, ligament tearing, injury time, muscle strength and even what foot they kick with (for ball handling). This can get a player back on the field usually that week. A resting splint is more protective, sometimes larger and works with tailored exercises. These need to be what we call 'graded' to protect the joint while healing. You also need to work on strengthening exercises to prevent a re-injury. This finger injury occurs with a lot of ball sports, netball, basketball, NRL and of course skiing. Other patients can come in with a similar injury from a fall. Non athletes can protect the area for up to 4-6 weeks. But of course Active Hand Therapists can use different supports for whatever your thing is - weekend warrior, gym rat, workhorse or kid.

Professional athletes have many people coordinating their care. This means you have to learn the skills of working as a team and utilising these networks to get the best for your patients. The Suns have a cracking physio Lyndsay Bull and a specialist Sports Physician Dr Luke Eggleston. It isn't about only seeing us but about using each person to get the best for the players and patients. This is what Healthcare should be about and I think what makes our clinic stand out. 

The Sun's are in for another tough year in 2019 with Lynch looking at going back to Melbourne and Barlow on the out but anything can happen right?

Written by David Coles 

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