An exploration of the perspectives of elite Irish rowers on the role of the sports physiotherapist

Aidan Woods, Catherine B Woods
Physical Therapy in Sport 2012, 13 (1): 16-21

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to (i) explore the perceptions of elite Irish rowers on the role of sports physiotherapy during their sports career, (ii) to compare their information to the International Federation of Sports Physiotherapists (IFSP) competencies and standards and (iii) to use the information gathered to highlight issues regarding quality of sports physiotherapy services, and how these services could be enhanced.

DESIGN: Participants completed a short open-ended questionnaire that evaluated the service provided by sports physiotherapists. Participant anonymity was protected and they were encouraged to be honest and critical of their experiences.

RESULTS: Thirteen Irish rowers preparing for the 2008 world championships or the 2008 Olympic Games, with a minimum of nine years rowing experience and participation in international competitions within the 12 months prior to the study beginning participated in the study. Against the competencies and standards of the IFSP this elite group of athletes had a clear understanding of the role of the sports physiotherapist. They identified nine of the eleven competencies recommended by the IFSP for auditing a sports physiotherapist, and advocated the use of sports physiotherapists in all areas that could improve their performance. Reasons as to why the athletes missed two of the competencies are discussed.

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