Physioworks Health Group
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Australian Physiotherapy Association
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Physioworks Health Group

Avoiding Injury on Return to Sport is a challenge facing all athletes post the COVID-19 ISO period, no matter the sport or the level of competition.

Physioworks Health Group Centre has long standing relationships with numerous local community clubs. Physioworks Mulgrave (Waverley Park Physiotherapy Centre) is a sponsor of the Waverley Park Hawk Junior Football Club with a focus on education in injury prevention & management for players, coaches & parents.

Recently Physioworks Director & Specialist Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist Andrew Dalwood (FACP) spoke to the Hawk community about injury prevention in the return to football post the COVID-19 ISO period, with the aim of assisting coaches & parents to best prepare the boys & girls to be ready for a return to playing football.

PWG Return to Play

With 30+ years of physiotherapy experience, Andrew Dalwood discussed & questioned:

Are you ready to play?  The ISO shutdown has meant most could only do light exercise… and there has been plenty of in-activity.

Due to the rapid decline, and now rapid incline in activity, injury will occur – soft tissue is a major risk especially in young, growing bodies, as you are putting bone & muscle stress on the body, reducing flexibility.

All need a solid fitness base. Running sessions are key, complemented by Strength & Conditioning Exercises.

With current restrictions, there is only one training session per team presently – so ball skills, team work & quick reflex skills will be the focus of team training. Therefore, individuals will need to do extra running & fitness training.

Likely niggles & soreness to watch for in young players, due to the lack of flexibility are:

  • Front of Knee and Heel (Severs Disease) – which the PHG physio team typically see at the start of each season (but softer ground now in June may assist in reducing this).
  • Muscle Strains – high quad & high hamstring.
  • Teenage growth – combined with less activity in life (no school, playground, general sport or play, no PE plus no footy training) – may cause muscle flexibility issues.

How can we best prevent injury?

Slow transition is required for 6+ weeks.

For younger players as well as the youth/teenage aged teams we need to re-build. – as normally all wold be doing 2 x training plus a match each week, plus other sports & activity – and this has not, and will not occur.

 PWG Return to Play


Suggested additional “rebuild” training for Under 13-17 players:

  • Extra Running program is essential – extra session/s – each week
    • 8 x 25m, 6 x100m, 4×200 and 3x400m; plus general kick (and other sport activity)
  • Strength & Conditioning Exercise session – 2 extra session per week for 15 minutes per sessions
    • Push ups, squats, lunges planks – front and side on- calf raises (30); glute bridges
    • Touchdowns (straight leg bends to the ground) on one leg – great for hamstrings – so do both legs.

Suggested additional “rebuild” training for players in teams Under 12:

  • Younger athletes will need parent support – mix it up to ensure fun & enjoyment – to help build fitness & flexibility.
    • Retrieval drills with the ball, chase, jump, mark, pick up, bounce, roll on the ground – handballs & kicks for 20-30 minutes twice per week

 PWG Return to Play


Can the Physioworks Health Group team at assist you and/or your club in returning to your chosen sport post COVID-19? Contact your preferred clinic.

Listen to the full transcript of AVOID INJURY ON RETURNING TO SPORT with Andrew Dalwood on the Hawk podcast “Hawk Talk”Listen to the Waverley Park Hawks Podcast here.