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I had both of my semi-final games this week for indoor football and oz tag. It was an exciting start to the week with a 10-3 win in my indoor football game, but this came crashing down in my oz tag game which was played less than 24 hours after the football match.

About 10 minutes into my oz tag game, I collided knees with an opposing player while going up for a run. The pain was excruciating, and I knew in those split moments that I had caused some damage that might put me out for both grand finals if our oz tag match ended up with a win. At that point in the game, we were ahead, winning 3-2. However, we faced two injuries mid-match, leaving us with only one substitution for the duration of the semi-final. 13v8 is a pretty tough contest, and our fitness could not compete with fresh legs coming on every set. Unfortunately, this led to a 7-5 loss and massive feelings of regret for both myself and the other fallen teammate.

The reason I work in the injury prevention space is to prevent these situations as much as possible while providing athletes with the confidence to bounce back stronger and better if this situation were to ever arise. Unfortunately, no amount of training, especially when focused on joint structure development, will completely prevent injury, especially in a complex sporting situation... (maybe don't run it straight and collide with another player...)

No amount of safety precaution will prevent injury, or the sport becomes pretty boring if you are constantly wary about your running form, foot placement, ball movement, and carries. There will always be some risk you undertake if you are in a competitive environment and may need to place your body on the line in situations to prevent or gain a score over your opponent. In a game of chess, you will be sacrificing pieces to gain an opening and an eventual edge position to take their king! While you do not want to sacrifice your joints in a similar fashion, that is where functional training comes into play to provide you with the ability to take more risks in your sport, knowing you can bounce back depending on the severity of the injury.

After my oz tag match, I received an X-ray and spent five hours in the emergency department. The X-ray showed that I did not completely rupture my ligaments; however, there is a risk that the ligament tear could be up to a 90% tear. My knee is functional, and I can bear weight; however, my range of motion is severely affected.

This provides me with enough information for the rehabilitation process to be undertaken. Week 1 should be focused on monitoring the possible increase in the injury, inflammation, and pain reduction.

The RICER protocol will be followed in the first three days:

R - Rest

I - Ice

C - Compression

E - Elevation

R - Referral (only if symptoms of pain, inflammation, and immobility do not improve after the three days)

Week 2 should be focused on monitoring and testing joint ability. This can be done through single-leg balance tests, mobility and range of motion tests, and strength tests. Usually, in this phase, it is recommended only to work up to a range of 6/10 on the pain scale as pushing further will only result in possible damage increase.

These tests must be attempted on both the injured and non-injured side, and your goal following these tests should be to meet in the middle.

Over time, as inflammation/pain reduces, mobility should be the main goal and component completed week 2 onwards. Your goal should be to increase your range so both joints are at the same mobility level. At the same time, you should be completing some light




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