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Student athletes on speedy track to recovery

Published: 11th October 2016

The success of the sports medicine pilot programme, launched last year to provide a pathway of care for injured scholarship and focus sport athletes, looks set to continue, with the addition of insurance cover now available to all students registered to sports clubs.

The programme is a collaborative project between the Trinity Sport, the Department of Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine and the Student Health Centre.

The sports medicine programme set out to reduce the risk of injury while also taking a proactive approach to any injuries when they did occur. The students involved in the pilot benefited from speedy access to a range of sports medicine services and this also facilitated research on injury prevention and management.

This latter aspect makes it unique within an Irish university setting, focusing as it does on research, education and clinical care in the field of sports and soft tissue injuries.

Professor of Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Cathal Moran, who is also medical director of the programme, holds a dual role across Trinity and Sports Surgery Clinic (SSC). Such a direct link in to SSC means instant access to a world-class clinical centre for the investigation and management of musculoskeletal conditions.

Participants on the pilot programme provided enthusiastic feedback. Hockey development officer Simon Filgas commented: “Very fast diagnosis and correct treatment ensured players returned to playing competitively without any recurring problems.”

Tiarnán Daly, one of last year’s Gaelic football sports scholars and senior inter-county player for Fermanagh, suffered an ACL injury that the sports medicine programme was promptly able to deal with.

Tiarnán commented: “Knowing that the sports medicine staff were from SSC, I knew I would be receiving the best care available. This also allowed me to avail of facilities including the 2D and 3D biomechanical screening, which let me gauge how well my rehab was going and what areas I needed to focus on.

“Also having the team based on campus several days a week made my rehab much easier, and they were always accommodating to a busy college schedule. The care and support I received and continue to receive has been of great benefit and it is allowing myself to return to playing inter-county football with Fermanagh.”

The high-impact nature of rugby means that injuries are not uncommon. Ciaran Wade, team physio with DUFC said that the sports medicine programme has been a highly valuable addition for student athletes.

“While we are an amateur club in status, we strive to ensure professional standards with regard to every aspect of the club, especially in relation to the medical treatment offered to the players. The pathway has enabled us to have quick access to scans and orthopaedic assessments which we would otherwise be waiting weeks and months for, allowing fast and accurate diagnosis and treatment of injuries.”

As part of the progression to phase two, the plan now is to make insurance cover available to all students registered to Trinity sports clubs in 2016-2017. For more information contact programme manager Laura McCague mccaguel@tcd.ie

*The second Sports Medicine Conference, hosted by Trinity Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine and Sports Surgery Clinic, Dublin, will be held in TBSI on Friday October 21. The focus of this year’s event is modern management of ACL injuries. For further details email conference@sportssurgeryclinic.com