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  • Writer's pictureThe Chief

Trainers To Stand Tall

Updated: Mar 13, 2020

One of the go to clichéd lines football clubs roll out when questioned about where it may have gone wrong and who bears the blame is, “There’ll be a full review from the ground up at the end of the year.” Everyone is under eternal review and probably rightly so. We’re routinely told the review begins with the boot-studder, ends with the president and misses no one in between and in this day and age, with professionalism ruling the roost, reviews are paramount and acting on them is imperative. Sure it’s a ruthless culling at times but the spoils are potentially valuable advantageous edges a club can get. Nothing is off limits in tidying up any area aiding the endless pursuit for competitive supremacy.

So, with that being the case, how is it at all possible we’re on the eve of another long, exciting and grueling season, yet every single club is still making the same glaringly obvious mistake?

Trainers and runners! How do they seemingly continue to avoid the apparent rigorous annual reviews? How is the science not being adhered to? Make no mistake about it, football clubs should be seeking out seven foot trainers and runners if they wish to reach the glorious heights and if they don’t they’ll inevitably fall short.

From this day on football clubs should only employ reasonably mobile seven foot tall trainers that can actually be of benefit when they're assisting players with injured knees or ankles from the ground. Now straight off the bat it sounds horribly discriminatory and completely absurd but the fictitious research doesn’t lie.

Currently when a player is injured during a game and requires assistance to leave the field they attempt to protect the injured limb, keeping it airborne by awkwardly trying to lean on people, comparatively speaking, the size of Smurfs. It's not only substantially unproductive but downright unsightly.

I recall an incident when Aaron Sandilands required such assistance after suffering his second bout of turf toe. It was a complete debacle! After several attempts and fails, big Aaron hopped all the way to the bench with the equivalent of a Scotty Watters hanging off each of his arms, as if they were kids swinging on the old hills hoist in the back yard!

It energised me to look into the studies and the science on this and what it has uncovered is nothing short of alarming. I'm quoting a recently completed long term peerless reviewed study done by German scientist, a professor of bio-mechanics, Dr Bungankleny.

“Internationally in all sports and codes where injuries occur and individuals require non-stretchered assistance from the ground, undersized trainers fulfilling the role are proving counterproductive. Conservative estimates based on the data are producing an additional 1.75 weeks on average to the subsequent sideline stint of the injured player.”

Now you may find this difficult to believe, as I initially did but the science, pseudo or potentially but probably not otherwise, doesn't lie. In fact if you read further through the study it finds that 1.75 weeks climbs to almost 2.5 weeks if the injured player has two trainers walking on either side of him or her who are vastly different heights. This can vary greatly depending on where the injury occurred in relation to the distance required to be traveled to the bench. The further the distance, the greater the chance for further damage.

Even more startling is that Dr Bungankleny concludes by saying that it's quite possible and often probable that any necessary two week sideline recovery period could actually be caused by the act of being assisted from the ground in that manner rather than the supposed injury sustained on the field.

This ground breaking study will no doubt revolutionise the area of a club’s trainers, runners and numerous game day health practitioners. With all due respect to the current trainers and runners their roles weren’t really held in in extremely high regard, in relation to the scale of importance. However, if they are suddenly reducing the amount of time players spend off the field then they become paramount to any team’s potential success. It’s probably appropriate to say those positions in the very near future will suddenly be of the highest priority, in more ways than one.

Now, as always in today’s easily offended and overly litigious society, we have to claim that this isn't a personal or professional attack on the vertically challenged. Well, then again, it probably is but not an intentional one. However, if those that are unable to stand tall are culled in the process of striving for greatness then that's an unfortunate but necessary outcome

The professionalism of the game has simply gone past not paying attention to every potentially beneficial detail. Subsequently, upon the release of this tenuous study, the days of clubs employing trainers that require a ladder to pick strawberries must indeed be over.

1.75 weeks! That could be the difference in making the top eight, winning a final or even a premiership. That could cost a coach or a player his career! It’s now far too important to be concerned about the potential discriminatory nature of the policy. It might sound harsh to the short people out there that are suddenly feeling aggrieved, but quite simply, for the betterment of the team, they need to grow up.

Disclaimer – Unfortunately similar to how NASSA “lost” the technology to get us back to the moon; I’ve currently lost the link to Dr. Bungankleny’s study.

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