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Indian Super League: My Season with Delhi Dynamos FC

Through this blog I am going to share my experience working as a Physiotherapist with Delhi Dynamos Football Club for the season 2018-2019. It all started in August with a pre-season camp held in Kolkata followed by an overseas trip to train in Qatar. Once back to our home city of Delhi we played a few friendly games before our first match of the season against Pune FC on 3rd Oct, 2018.

Pre-season

For a physiotherapist the pre-season time is the best period to get to know players and staff. It helped me a lot in understanding player’s demands and gave me time to assess and fix the issues before we start playing the tournament. It’s the best time to work on the strength and fitness aspect of the players however as we didn’t have a professional strength and conditioning coach for the entire season my colleague Abhijit and I took charge of this aspect plus the recovery sessions. Initially it took some time for us to understand exactly what the coaches wanted, and how we should communicate and commit in terms of the return to play of injured players, but after sometime everything started falling into place.

The best thing that happened was Qatar where we were training at the Aspire academy which is one of the best facilities in the world for footballers and athletes. Another prominent part of the journey happened when I visited Aspetar Sports Medicine Centre where I got to meet Nicol Van Dyk who is a sports physiotherapist world renowned for treating hamstring injuries. He showed us the entire facility which included an artificial set up equivalent to an altitude of 14000 ft above sea level and many more fascinating parts of the centre.

Competitive Season

The entire season was split into the following days:

  1. Training Day
  2. Match Day
  3. Recovery Day

Indian Super League: My Season with Delhi Dynamos FC Indian Super League: My Season with Delhi Dynamos FC Indian Super League: My Season with Delhi Dynamos FC

Training Days: training was done in the morning where we would start with strapping and giving quick fixes of any issues players had so they should be fine and give their 100% in the session. On the pitch we started with prehab and mobility work before they started the football specific training, and the intensity could be hard, moderate or low depending on the next game. The basic rule we were following was to keep hard training session almost 3-4 before the game and low intensity a day before the game. Once the training is over we did the cool down and static stretching of the entire team followed by an ice-bath for 5-7 minutes for better recovery. During the ice-bath we asked each player if they have any issues and accordingly set up evening appointments for treatment, and massage sessions with our team masseurs.

Match Day: On this day there was no training session and the players had an easy, relaxed schedule. We used to give treatment in the morning if anyone had any issues.

Recovery Day: Following the match we had a recovery day for all players which included a pool session and massage, with the rest of the day off.

We played in nine different cities during the entire season and sometimes it was quite challenging because we had played 7 matches in just 18 days so couldn’t get proper recovery sessions in because of extensive travel, however we managed to do well.

The common injuries that we came across during the season are as follows:

  1. Ankle sprain
  2. Hamstring strain
  3. Adductor strain (inner thigh)
  4. Low back pain

Some injuries are difficult to prevent during a match such as tackling the ball with opposition players and taking a header however there are ways to prevent injuries which don’t involve player contact like hamstring pull from a sudden sprint or changing direction, and single leg landing that can lead to ankle sprains.

Injury prevention tips:

  • Perform proper warm-up and cool-down routines
  • Consistently incorporate strength training and stretching
  • Hydrate adequately to maintain health and minimize cramps
  • Have a pre-season health and wellness evaluation

Overall it was a great experience as I got the chance to meet and treat players from various countries and learn from each of them. I am really happy and proud to be a part of Prohealth Asia who has given me this opportunity to travel and fulfil my passion for working as a Sports Physiotherapist.

Author by Ankush Sekhri, Jul 5, 2019,

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