We have arrived at the pointy end of our winter sports season and plenty of focus now comes to player availability for Preliminary and Grand Finals, especially where the Sydney Swans are concerned. So why do injuries that are managed so cautiously and carefully throughout the year become subject to miracles when silverware comes up for grabs.
It all comes down to next week, with a Grand Final there is no next week. Very few people have ever been ruled out of a cracking Mad Monday with a hamstring strain or ankle tweak but the pain of missing a potential winning Grand Final can bring even the toughest of Gladiators to tears.
A medical team at a football club has to work closely with the coaching staff and a player to determine the risk and potential upside of each individual injury. If a player is unlikely to withstand the rigours of the battle then not only is it placing them at risk but it is detrimental to the teams chances of success.
At the end of the day the concept of "If it was a grand final you'd play" all comes down to acceptable risk, for the player, for the team, for the coaches and for the medical team. A torn hamstring in season can cost 3 weeks, but there is no games after a grand final. A broken rib will take 6 weeks to stop feeling sore but that will be right by pre-season. A missed game in season will cost you a match payment, but a missed Grand Final will cost you football immortality.
So what is in the medical team kit bag to help players get right for Grand Finals. Physiotherapists have access to solid rehabilitation programs, ensuring the player has appropriate loading and recovery, as well as tape and prophylactic bracing. The club doctor has a range of injections and medications that will help the player to perform without the hindrance of pain. But beyond anything else it is the players belief and determination to succeed that is the greatest ingredient in this complex recipe (aka Dermott Brereton playing on in 1989 GF with broken ribs and a bruised kidney).
This weekend LifeCare Cottesloe and Claremont are excited to help the Claremont Football Club colts and reserves teams in their pursuit of WAFL premierships. Can't wait to get back in the Big Show! Go The Tiges!!