Triathlon Physiotherapist Paul Westwood shares his current thoughts are on the development of a model of best practice when it comes to Team & Athlete health:
- Don't pander to athletes pain/issues explain and reassure instead. Therefore possible mal adaptive behaviour is not rewarded and reinforced.
- Similarly limit the use of adjuncts / passive intervention (tape, ice, acupuncture, electro) anything that promotes the belief that 'this is something serious / more of a problem than it actually is'.
- Avoid the nocebo effect; athletes must believe that there is nothing inherently wrong with their bodies / ability.
- Therefore athletes become less sensitive / more resilient / more capable. This is spread throughout the team with athletes learning 'healthy pain behaviour' rather than mal adaptive behaviour.
- Once this culture is engendered an issue or expression of pain from an athlete can be taken more seriously as a sign of overloading / injury.
- By keeping the coaching / support staff to the limit of necessity and limiting the amount of 'shareholders' in the team allows this culture to be sustained.
- Progressive load management and therefore injury / over load prevention can be achieved from the coaching/support staff through consistent training and the layering effect of training over days, weeks, months, years. Athlete monitoring should be done on a daily basis regarding mood, behaviour, performance etc. "