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Rehabilitation and top sports people

Media release – June 30, 2005

All Blacks issue highlights concerns for physiotherapists in the run up to national conference

The need to provide the best possible rehabilitation for top sports people and the general public will be the focus for manipulative physiotherapists at their national conference in Rotorua next month.

Recent events relating to the All Blacks have highlighted the difficulties facing the profession in trying to return players to the field of play in the shortest possible time frames, New Zealand Manipulative Physiotherapist Association (NZMPA) spokesman Duncan Reid said today.

All Black Anton Oliver’s calf injury and the rush to get him fit for the Lions tour was a good example where a six week time frame was initially suggested, but it took much longer than this and Oliver missed the Lions series altogether.

Muscle and tendon injuries may initially seem simple to treat but often are much more complex requiring longer periods of rehabilitation than first thought and the involvement of multidisciplinary teams to achieve the best outcomes, Reid said.

Physiotherapy though is the mainstay of the management of these types of injuries.

The NZMPA conference in Rotorua on July 29 to 31 will bring some of the world’s leading physiotherapy researchers to NZ to share their expertise in the management and treatment of muscle, tendon and bone injuries

Dr Jill Cook of Latrobe University in Melbourne will be a guest speaker at the conference talking about her extensive research on tendon injuries.

She has developed physiotherapy exercise protocols that have improved the length of time required to get elite sports people back on the playing field.

The other two key note speakers include Steve Edmondston from Curtin University in Perth and Meena Sran, a specialist from Vancouver.

Both investigated the thoracic spine, particularly the affects of aging and the affects of physiotherapy mobilisation on the spine. Dr Sran has a particular interest in osteoporosis.

This is a devastating bone weakening condition that affects women more than men causing fractures to the spine with trivial violence. With the aging population this is a major health problem. Exercise is of great benefit to reduce the effects of this condition, Dr Sran said.

Hundreds of experts and conference delegates from all over New Zealand will also hear the latest research in the areas of mechanical loading, bone quality, bone strength, exercise prescription and the clinical implications of the findings.


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