Andrew-flintoff_1423409cIt’s been a sad week for English cricket, with the retirement of the most exciting player since the days of Botham in the 1970’s and 80’s.

Sadly, Andrew ‘Freddy’ Flintoff has been forced to retire due to recurring injury problems. ‘Freddy’, at 32 years old, standing at six foot four and largely built bowling at over 90mph has suffered a series of injuries during his career including knee, back, and foot injuries.

Make no mistake, bowling a cricket ball at 90 mph puts enormous stresses on the body. Adding to that, the fact that the cricket schedule is very brutal, makes it extremely challenging (if not impossible) to dedicate adequate time to the gym to prepare the body for those stresses.

Indeed, I remember my time as a fast (I use the term ‘fast’ loosely) bowler and it is probably the most physically demanding sport I have ever played (and there’s not many I haven’t played).

I can’t help ponder however, whether ‘Freddy’s’ career could have been prolonged. I know from following Freddy’s career that most of his rehab was done with the England team physiotherapist and he also had a number of surgeries along the way.

My own feelings towards the majority of injury prevention and rehabilitation and optimal performance in elite sport could be improved. Some areas of weakness that I see that I feel could be improved are:

  • The use of fixed resistance (strength) machines
  • Lack of understanding of the mechanisms of the core
  • Overuse of training individual muscles rather than training sport specific Primal Pattern® Movements
  • A bias towards the treatment of injuries rather than finding the causes of injuries
  • Poor nutritional advice and use of sponsors ‘nutritional’ products
  • Lack of understanding between the gap between being pain free and end-stage rehabilitation to avoid future injury. This often leads to a return to strength and conditioning and/or competition too early.

I’m not criticising anyone involved in Freddy’s conditioning. I know how much stress his large body has gone through and how little time during the in-season there is to condition the body.

Tune in next time to see what I believe should be considered when rehabilitating sports injuries.