Physioworks Health Group
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Australian Physiotherapy Association
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Physioworks Health Group

Physioworks Health Group

AFL Finals is an exciting time of year in Melbourne, with all competing clubs looking to achieve optimum performance following a very long season.

The importance of sports science in AFL team success is well-documented, given the dynamic pace at which the game is now played the need for management of the players health, well-being and output is paramount.

Numerous members of the team at Physioworks Health Group had a busy 2019 AFL Finals series working with the Collingwood Football Club. Senior Physiotherapist David Francis and other members providing their physiotherapy and massage therapy experience to the Collingwood Magpies as the club again competed in the AFL Finals.

 Collingwood 2019 Finals

As a Specialist Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist* & Head Physiotherapist at the club since 1995, David Francis has advised elements of the training and match day preparation of the CFC playing squad to help minimise injury and maximise output. David discusses some key challenges to have elite AFL footballers prepared for the intensity of a AFL finals campaign after a long home and away season:

Player welfare is critical during a finals campaign to help optimise output and performance.

There are many challenges, both physical and mental, for the physiotherapy and allied health care team to closely monitor at the club, including:

  • Playing Injury Free – this is hard to achieve so we aim to minimise over-use and manage niggles & general soreness
  • Manage the ability for players to maintain fitness & strength
  • Keep both players and staff calm; controlled.
  • Don’t be overawed; “play your role”
  • Controlling nervous energy, as it can quickly leads to fatigue – physical & mental.
  • Watch for signs and cues in each individual – in decision making, in mood, in approach – our team need to be smart in addressing this with each individual
  • Help to block out “external noise” – focus and do “the same as we have all year”
  • Encourage individuals & the team to enjoy the opportunity presented.

While some of these challenges maybe unique to an elite AFL club environment, the majority remain true across multiple sports – be it cricket, basketball, netball, soccer – and across any level of competitive sport – local sport, community sport – no matter what the level or grade of competition.

To find out more about working in Sports Physiotherapy and what goes on behind the goal posts in preparing elite athletes in the highly competitive AFL club environment, listen to this APA “Talking Physio” Podcast featuring Collingwood Head Physiotherapist David Francis.

Physioworks David Francis talks Sports Physiotherapy at the Collingwood Football Club  


*As awarded by the Australian College of Physiotherapy in 2009.

Images courtesy of the Collingwood Football Club: