We get the behind the scenes information on how the team medical staff care for the Qantas Socceroos when they are in camp.
With the Qantas Socceroos about to embark on a three match jaunt over the course of ten days one thing they are going to need is the best medical treatment available, especially when it comes to managing knocks and keeping the players in top condition throughout long flights.
Dr Jeff Steinweg is part of the Socceroos medical team and leant his time to discuss the process the national team go through in the lead up to their matches, the truth is the medical team do more than just look after the players when they are in camp.
“When they-re at their clubs we monitor their minutes, whether they are substituted or rested and whether they have any injuries at all coming into camp, from then Head Physiotherapist Les Gilles manages the entire squad and their needs,” Steinweg said.
“He also needs to have open communication lines with the club medical staffs to make sure the players are being treated in the proper manner.
“Most of the time the clubs do the right thing but occasionally we have to intervene.”
With big clubs notoriously not too keen to let their players go, that might not always be easy, but when push comes to shove, according to Steinweg the decision can come down to the player.
“It-s often times, not the case that the clubs aren-t doing the right thing, but rather that sometimes and it-s more so with the players based in Asia, that if they are going to be out for a little while, they might fly home to Australia to get better treatment,” he said.
With the Socceroos having so many flights in a short period, managing injuries will become more difficult, especially between the game in Oman and then the game against Japan in Brisbane, when they take on a long flight and Dr. Steinweg was happy to take us through the process.
“Most of the team are pretty well used to flying around these days, the biggest challenge for us will be managing the relatively short turnaround between the match in Oman and then the match in Brisbane with Japan,” he said.
“With four days between matches and a long flight, that-s when managing injuries will be tougher.
“Naturally we do plenty of things like making sure the team are wearing compression garments and making sure they are sleeping when they should be and staying awake throughout the daylight hours, so their body clocks are right.”
Another challenge is if players get injured and how you get them ready for the game in a short space of time, particularly with issues such as corks.
“If that-s the case then we will put on a bit of extra compression gear and up the compression level, but sometimes there is little you can do for a cork, sometimes they even take up to two weeks to heal at sea level.”
So what will the players then do when they get back into camp to prepare for the next game?
“First thing every day the players check into the medical room and fill out a form letting us know how they are feeling and what their sleep has been like, then before breakfast we also check their hydration status and give them feedback, especially if they are not hydrated enough.”
“After breakfast we will check on any injuries the players might have or concerns and send them for scans if need be.
“After lunch we will strap them up and get them ready for training, then after the training session it-s a case of them going to the pool for recovery.”