Fitness and sports medicine is very important in sports for the athletes and the teams involved.
That is why the St. Kitts and Nevis Football Association (SKNFA) this season has implemented
a program where clubs participating in major football competitions locally, are given the
opportunity to have a trained physio therapist to tend to their players who may receive an injury
during games. Janae Guishard-Pine, Injury Specialist with the SKNFA, explained the essence of
this SKNFA program.
“We started this initiative to support players to have a long career and support teams in making
the right decision whether to continue with a player or the right recommendations to helping one
to recover. I think it’s a really good incentive. It helps with players’ longevity. We go on (the
field), we assess the damage, we decide whether a player can continue or not and we have them
come off, treat and determine when to play,” Guishard-Pine said.
This initiative she said is available to all the SKNFA competitions; the Premier League Clubs
will have a trained physio, a doctor and Red Cross officials always available, Division One
Clubs get a trained physio and the youth leagues will have an official trained by physios to assist
Ms. Guishard-Pine explained that some of the most common injuries that players suffer during
matches are non-contact injuries, which she said can be avoided through nutrition and proper
hydration. “Of course, you have the contact injuries as well like fractures, concussions, torn
ligaments, but those aren’t the most common. Yes, they are the most severe but they are not the
most common. The common injuries are the non-contact injuries which can be avoided with
things like nutrition, proper hydration, landing mechanics…,” she explained. “Many training
habits can help to prevent the common training injuries that are experienced in the leagues.”
Meanwhile, the SKNFA Injury Specialist explains the significance of the program and how she
believes this can help improve the performance of players on the pitch. “Where teams fail is
where they fail to consider all of the aspects required for the sport. You need to look at your
speed, your agility, your muscular endurance, your cardio vascular endurance; you have to really
take a whole rounded approach to facilitate reducing injury,” Guishard-Pine explained.
The SKNFA Injury Specialist disclosed that the Association continues to provide ongoing
training to physios of the various clubs. “The training that we have implemented is really to help
people identify an injured player, be able to assess commonly injured joints like foot rolls, to be
able to apply appropriate recommendations for treatment and of course to be able render
immediate care,” she said. Topics covered include basic life support, basic assessment of head
and spinal injury, pitch side cover, injury prevention warmup and cool down protocols.
Earlier this year, the SKNFA conducted its annual Fitness and Medical Course ahead of start of
the 2021 football season. The course is offered free of cost to all physiotherapists, trainers and
team medical personnel working in the SKNFA leagues. It is designed to help the participants
from SKNFA member clubs learn how to diagnose and manage common football-related injuries
Caption: A Garden Hotspurs player being tended to by a physio during a Premier League match
at the Warner Park. (SKNFA Photo)