Get to Know the ‘NRL Physio’

Get to Know the ‘NRL Physio’

Sport scientists and physiotherapists usually don’t get the acknowledgement they deserve for the work they do behind the scenes in sport. The rise of fantasy sport and media coverage around player injuries in recent years has changed that. We chat to the ‘NRL Physio‘ who has done a great job in improving fans’ understanding of injuries which has seen him enter the ‘mainstream media’.

Tell us about your background

I have a Bachelor of Physiotherapy from the University of Queensland. I work in a sports and musculoskeletal physiotherapy private practice called Active Care Physio in Brisbane.

I’ve noticed your work on Twitter and on several sites in the last couple of years. When did it start getting noticed in ‘mainstream media’?

It wasn’t long after I started the account which was quite surprising. Within a month or two my analysis on in game injuries and possible recovery times was popping up in match report articles. I didn’t start doing anything directly in the media until around 12 months after I hopped on Twitter. 

What drove you to start looking into injuries for NRL players?

It was just the combination of 2 areas of interest for me. Being a physio I work with sporting injuries every day, and I’m obviously a big rugby league fan so the two combine fairly easily. I started the analysis more as a hobby, there was a gap in the information market there so it was more give it a go and see how it was received by fans.

I think this would be a fascinating topic in the NRL but unfortunately player salaries aren’t public knowledge. It would shine a light on just how valuable good medical teams and sports science programs are to team success.

You’ve worked with Fox League & the Daily Telegraph. How did those opportunities come about and what has the experience been like?

Twitter direct messages if you can believe it. I found journalists and reporters started to appreciate the information I was providing and from that a few surprise DM’s came through to start some work. Doing written and video work in the media is quite overwhelming (in a good way), I never imagined creating a twitter account would end up here. It’s an area that isn’t my natural habitat, but I’m getting more comfortable as I gain more exposure to it. I’m just stoked the information I provide is so well received.

How have the fans reacted to your posts and do you think the understanding of the injuries sustained by players is improving amongst the fans and the media?

The response from fans has been overwhelmingly positive. It’s the footy fan response that keeps me jumping on my phone every weekend to keep people updated. Like everything on the internet there’s always people who don’t like what you are trying to do and let you know about it, but it thankfully doesn’t come up too often. Raising awareness and understanding of injuries and rehab in the NRL for fans is probably the thing I’m most proud of. Across the game there’s more injury reporting from clubs and media outlets, the sideline injury reports are much more specific during games and the accuracy of information surrounding injuries is improving too. I hope I’ve been able to play a small role in that.

What are some areas you’d be most interested to look into further if you were doing a PhD (or simply had more time) in sport science and analysis of injuries around rugby league?

A PHD isn’t something that’s on my radar at this stage, but a topic I’ve always wanted to look further into is the cost of injury on team performance. I’ve seen some great studies in the NFL & EPL looking at the value of injured players (based on salary $) missing each week and the correlation with wins/losses to find out if this has an impact on team success. I think this would be a fascinating topic in the NRL but unfortunately player salaries aren’t public knowledge. It would shine a light on just how valuable good medical teams and sports science programs are to team success.

You’ve racked up around 16,000 tweets and coincidentally a similar amount of followers. What are your plans longer term?

At this stage I want to keep finding new ways to educate fans and grow my audience, whether that just be on social media or other media opportunities. Between running 2 physio practices and an 11 month old at home, life is fairly full at the moment. I just want to keep enjoying the NRL Physio side of things.

How long have you been a physio for and would you be open to/able to work in the NRL one day?

I’ve been a physio for around 10 years now. Working for an NRL club isn’t something I’m looking at transitioning to, my current position is pretty much my ideal job and I love going to work every day.

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