(SKNFA) Fitness and sports medicine is very important in sports for the athletes and the teams involved. That is why the St. Kitts and Nevis Football Association (SKNFA) this season has implemented a program where clubs participating in major football competitions locally, are given the opportunity to have a trained physio therapist to tend to their players who may receive an injury during games. Janae Guishard-Pine, Injury Specialist with the SKNFA, explained the essence of this SKNFA program.
“We started this initiative to support players to have a long career and support teams in making the right decision whether to continue with a player or the right recommendations to helping one to recover. I think it’s a really good incentive. It helps with players’ longevity. We go on (the field), we assess the damage, we decide whether a player can continue or not and we have them come off, treat and determine when to play,” Guishard-Pine said.
This initiative she said is available to all the SKNFA competitions; the Premier League Clubs will have a trained physio, a doctor and Red Cross officials always available, Division One Clubs get a trained physio and the youth leagues will have an official trained by physios to assist the players.
Ms. Guishard-Pine explained that some of the most common injuries that players suffer during matches are non-contact injuries, which she said can be avoided through nutrition and proper hydration. “Of course, you have the contact injuries as well like fractures, concussions, torn ligaments, but those aren’t the most common. Yes, they are the most severe but they are not the most common. The common injuries are the non-contact injuries which can be avoided with things like nutrition, proper hydration, landing mechanics…,” she explained. “Many training habits can help to prevent the common training injuries that are experienced in the leagues.”
Meanwhile, the SKNFA Injury Specialist explains the significance of the program and how she believes this can help improve the performance of players on the pitch. “Where teams fail is where they fail to consider all of the aspects required for the sport. You need to look at your speed, your agility, your muscular endurance, your cardio vascular endurance; you have to really take a whole rounded approach to facilitate reducing injury,” Guishard-Pine explained.
The SKNFA Injury Specialist disclosed that the Association continues to provide ongoing training to physios of the various clubs. “The training that we have implemented is really to help people identify an injured player, be able to assess commonly injured joints like foot rolls, to be able to apply appropriate recommendations for treatment and of course to be able render immediate care,” she said. Topics covered include basic life support, basic assessment of head and spinal injury, pitch side cover, injury prevention warmup and cool down protocols
Earlier this year, the SKNFA conducted its annual Fitness and Medical Course ahead of start of the 2021 football season. The course is offered free of cost to all physiotherapists, trainers and team medical personnel working in the SKNFA leagues. It is designed to help the participants from SKNFA member clubs learn how to diagnose and manage common football-related injuries and illnesses.