The perception of Sports Therapy in Ireland varies from deep tissue massage to electrotherapy or exercise rehabilitation. Having been the resident club therapist for Monaghan Utd FC for 6 years before they ultimately re-entered the premier devision but subsequently left the league of Ireland, I can speak from experience. I’ve also worked at one time or another with almost every GAA club in Cavan and Monaghan both at club and county level and provided event massage at my fair share of 5Ks, 10Ks, Triathlon’s and Iron man competitions. In my time with Monaghan United I provided taping and strapping when needed before embarking on about an hour of pre-event massage for the entire team. This included the substitutes during pre and post warm up phases. During the warm up I provided treatment / assessment to the injured or benched players. When the match I provided first aid services in both halves, usually assisted by the civil defence where it all started for me. I also offered inter event massage during half time. It was a very physical job and great to feel part of the team. The essential skill sets included first aid, event massage, taping and strapping and physical therapy skills.
I’ve been at other set-ups for match day etc and i might get one or two players who would present for massage but usually only for spastic or hypertonic muscle. In contrast to Monaghan Utd FC where almost every player availed of the event massage services and felt ill-equipped for the task ahead without them. This was a sign to me that there is huge variation in the system in place for athletes in regards to sports therapy in general in match day. When working with athletes outside of match or event day the sports therapy focus is entirely different and a greater emphasis is put on prevention vs management of issues. No one therapy holds a monopoly on ‘sports therapy’ within the league of Ireland. Osteopaths, sports massage therapists, Doctors, athletic therapists, physical therapists and of course neuromuscular therapists all filled the role of resident club or senior team therapist for their respective team. And due to the fact that many players lived outside the county of the home ground, much trust was placed in therapists of other disciplines and football clubs to treat the club’s players. This led to an emersion in different treatment approaches and their benefits over other possible approaches that can’t be learnt in college.
It was a great learning experience that thought me there is no one or right way and to be very sceptical of anyone who preaches that they have all the answers as a therapist. The individual is a great variable and the more tools a therapist has or members in a multidisciplinary team the greater the treatment options. Book an consultation Book mentorship Find a Neuromuscular Therapist in your area