Last update: 12-Dec-2013 4:50 am
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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CPL T20—a rich, rewarding experience
Some of you may have realised that I am currently working with our CPLT20 T&T Red Steel team as the team therapist. My role with the team is to manage any injuries that may arise. However, as is expected with any new experience, being part of a team like this has lent itself to my development in unique ways beyond that of a therapist, by simply looking and learning.
As everyone is well aware, Red Steel started off on a losing streak for three consecutive games, losing to Guyana then Barbados and Jamaica before things changed and we earned ourselves three straight victories. Jamaica is the one team that has stung us twice to losses in this tournament, first in our own yard and then in theirs. With losses usually accompany negative sentiments much of which has been expressed towards the CPL format which does not structure the teams based on countries, but as franchises. All the athletes within the region have been selected by the different icon athletes to represent their particular franchise regardless of their country of origin. International players from outside of the Caribbean have also been brought in creating a very dynamic environment, very different to anything else that has been done within the region before.
On most other teams that I have worked with both locally and in the States, the athletes are familiar with their team mates long before a tournament starts. In this scenario the cricketers were not already familiar with their teammates much before the tournament began. As such, learning the different personalities and understanding each other’s strengths and quirks was very important to jelling the team so that performance on the field would also be good. For one month these athletes learn to be teammates and play on a field together whereas in most cases prior they may have been rivals.
Putting aside the true “T&T Red Force" team will take some time. Many of our strong local cricketers are playing for other teams in this tournament. While I completely understand the negative sentiment surrounding this (even some of the athletes playing against Red Steel have commented about how strange it can feel) I see much to be gained with the way things are structured in this CPL at the moment.
* Good exposure of the younger talent.
* Regional opportunities to experience cricket in a professional capacity.
* Intensify the competitiveness between players within the region.
* Bridging relations between the islands.
* An increase in the number of opportunities for the sports medicine professionals in the region.
Currently, the Red Steel team has athletes on it from St. Vincent, Barbados, South Africa, Ireland, New Zealand and Sri Lanka. The youngest athlete is 17 years of age (the youngest in the tournament) while the oldest is 32 years. On the technical team there are two females which is more than on any other CPL team at the moment and atypical for even a West Indies technical team. So, in terms of diversity, a lot of it could be found on the Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel team. This sort of exposure can afford athletes, particularly the younger ones, lessons in adaptability and communication when placed outside of their comfort zone, improving them as professional athletes.
As a therapist, the challenge working with a team sport on a short term basis like this, as also happens with Pan Am Games or the Olympics, is the ability to manage injury efficiently and effectively. Reason being, there is limited familiarity with the athlete—his/her medical history and how they respond to injury management. It is a bit like trying to build a puzzle without having the picture to guide you, so you are forced out of your comfort zone quite a bit.
In these situations, starting with making sure that all medico-legal concerns are addressed becomes very important. From there, ensuring proper documentation concerning any injury management is put in place. Little by little, the picture of the team starts to form and eventually you get your footing with where the team sits medically.
My experience with the Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel team has been a very rewarding one. I have enjoyed the challenge of stepping away from my clinical practice for four weeks and for being part of a technical team, the sole purpose of which is to bring out the best from the team.
I hope that opportunities like this will continue to increase in the region.
Asha De Freitas-Moseley is a certified athletic trainer with the National Athletic Trainers’ Association of the USA. She has over 10 years of experience rehabilitating athletes and members of the active population from injury to full play. She can be reached at Pulse Performance Ltd., located at #17 Henry Pierre St., St James. Tel: 221-2437.
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