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Jul 8, 2012

How to stay injury free this ski season

Winter is well and truly upon us, for many this means packing your thermals and woollen socks and heading for the ski slopes. Whether you’re a first timer, seasonal partaker or expert skier, and no matter how good your knowledge of the mountain is, chances are you will stack it at least once this season (thats at least once a day for me). Most are forgettable, but all it takes is one minor incident to wind you up in the waiting room of ski patrol with a pretty nasty injury...especially when it comes to your knees.  Admittedly some incidents are out of our control and just plain unlucky, but some can potentially be avoided by doing a little preparation  before hitting the slopes!

  1. Check your equipment: Make sure your skis/snowboard has been serviced/tuned and that the bindings are adjusted properly. If you’re renting make sure your binding release suits your skill level. Your ski technician will help you with this one, but the lower your skill level the lower the release setting.
  2. Have good protective ski gear: Borrowed, hired or lucky enough to have your own you always have to make sure your protective clothing is in good condition. Rookie snowboarders wrist guards are a good idea and I personally wouldn’t ski/snowboard on Australian slopes without a helmet, way too many of natures obstacles..and it just might save your life.
  3. Don’t overestimate your abilities: Just because you conquered the double black diamond last season doesn’t mean it’s the first run you attempt this year. Start on a gentle slope, get your bearings then head for the moguls and powder if you dare.
  4. Warm up: skiing is an exceptionally gruelling sport on the legs, make sure your stretch your hamstrings, hip flexors and quads each morning before your first run.
  5. Condition your body before the season: skiing is a high intensity, physically demanding sport that requires a certain level of cardiovascular fitness and strength. If you want to get the most out of your holiday ensure your fitness is up to scratch before you go!!!
  6. Pay attention to trail signs and weather forecast. Don’t ski tree runs alone or off piste without a guide.
  7. Know when its time to call it a day: Alot of injuries occur on the last run of the day, your quads are trembling and your technique has gone out the window. Stop when you’re ahead, and don’t forget to order a delicious creamy hot chocolate with fluffy marshmallows on your way off the mountain!

If you were unlucky enough to sustain an injury on your ski holiday, make sure you get it properly assessed to ensure there is no structural damage. EastSports Physiotherapy specialises in sports injuries. If you would like to make an appointment please contact us on (02) 9328 3822

Categories General Issues Tags Skiing Snowboarding Injury

Jun 17, 2012

A minute with Matt Toomua.. Brumbies flyhalf talks about his season ending knee injury

Matt Toomua is a gifted goal-kicking flyhalf contracted with the CA Brumbies Super 15 team. 2012 was meant to be a year of opportunity for Toomua, hoping to finally put his stamp on the number 10 jersey after switching between 10 and 15 throughout 2011. This all came to a bitter end when Toomua ruptured his ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) during the Brumbies 29-26 loss to the Sharks earlier this season causing him to be sidelined for the entire season.

I caught up with Matt last week to ask him a few questions about how he was coping with his injury and rehabilitation.

 What were your first thoughts when you injured your knee?

 "I was devastated when I first injured my knee. I knew something wasn’t right as soon as I did it. I have injured most parts of my knee but this felt far worse"

 Is this the worst injury you have suffered in your career? If so Why?

 "Yeah this is the biggest injury I have had. It has caused me to miss pretty much the whole season. I broke my jaw in a couple places before, but it happened in the last game of the year and I didn’t have to miss any games"


Why did you choose to go with the traditional surgery method over the new LARS method which would have had you back playing sooner?

"The way our season is structured the LARS option would still have meant I would miss the entire season, so there wasn’t any benefit in choosing that option. Also the traditional surgery is far more tried and tested and because I am still only 22 years old, it seemed like the smartest option. My surgery was a little unique also. I injured my left knee and so traditionally the surgeon will take the hamstring out from the left knee and put it in the knee. However when the surgeon was operating he discovered my left hamstring was damaged, probably from an old injury, and wouldn't provide an adequate graft so he had to take the hamstring out of my right leg. So I got a big shock when I woke up and saw both my knees strapped. I thought they had operated on the wrong leg! The surgeon had to calm me down and tell me what had happened

 What stage of your rehabilitation are you in now?

 "I’m in the 9th week of rehab now. I have just begun movement patterns in the gymnastics centre with the padded floors and trampolines"

 What motivates you to do your rehabilitation every day?

 "Yeah this is a tough one. With such a long rehab time it’s hard to be motivated daily. I think having small goals helps you get through, with the bigger picture in mind. Because rugby is my profession I am constantly reminded that I am not on the field, but having other hobbies or things to do does help. I have my Uni work that keeps me busy and I am doing some barista courses also. I think having these other things helps keep me fresh and not dwell on the fact that it’s a long road"

Has there been one particular person that has been instrumental in helping you mentally deal with your injury?

 "Our physio Hamish McCauley has been great. I work with him pretty much every day and he has been great for my physical rehab. Otherwise I have been lucky enough to have great friends and family who have supported me. Other players who have been through an ACL rupture have given me advice. Just yesterday Jeremy Paul (former wallaby) made the effort to give me some advice as he also tore his ACL in his playing days"

 What is one thing you have learnt about yourself from suffering this injury?

 "That I am a very impatient person! There's a slight humorous aspect to the fact that I am very impatient and I get an injury that causes me to sit on the sidelines for 9months! But I think it is character building. I am forced to pull the reigns in, so to speak, on many things. Currently I am in a danger period for my rehab where the hamstring graft is in its weakest point, but coupled with that I am getting increased range and feel pretty good. So it’s tough to have to hold back on a few things and just remember that it’s not worth risking anything

What are your plans for next year?

"I have re signed for the Brumbies for another 2 years so I will be back in Canberra again next year."

When are you coming back to play for the Beasties?

"I don’t know! I hope it is sooner rather than later. I always enjoy coming back and seeing everyone at the club. I will be back this week for ladies day against Sydney uni, so I’m looking forward to that!!"

Do you have any advice for other players that suffer this injury?

 "It's kind of tough to answer this question because I feel I am not qualified to do so yet. Being that I am still only 9 weeks post surgery I have a long way to go. I guess what I have learnt in that time is the importance of a good physio and setting small goals. Having those goals in sight allows me keep motivated and know that I am working towards something and not just training for the sake of it."

Check out the injury information section to find out more about ACL injuries.


Categories General Issues Tags Matt Toomua ACL Knee Injury LARS Brumbies Knee Reconstruction