Are England ready to bring it home?
The England football team will play their first tournament final in over 50 years with an expected TV audience of 26 million people. But after a physically and mentally exhausting 120-minute game on Wednesday, is four days enough time for players to fully recover?
Clinic Lead and Physiotherapy lecturer at the University of Bradford, Jamie Moseley who has worked with elite sports teams, explains what the last few days may have looked like for players and what they will need to do to get their bodies into the best shape possible for Sunday’s game.
“The days after the game the goal is to optimise recovery of the neuromuscular skeletal system and reduce inflammation, soreness and delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Recovery time is normally 48 – 72 hours so there is a constant balance of recovery versus preparation.
“To help this, immediately after Wednesday’s match, we would expect the players to take ice baths, have weigh-ins, use compression machines or garments and have as much sleep to aid recovery as possible. Then Thursday they would undergo post-game medical checks, wellness questionnaires, massages and some active recovery just as swimming or light jogs/field work. Training for those who played and did not play would involve different activities.
“Today (Friday) medical checks and tracking of injuries will inform training and game day selections. You would expect there to be some play on the field but with controlled and limited high-speed movements and accelerations to avoid injuries. There will be more video analysis and a team of chefs will be ensuring their diets and hydration levels are on track with regular weigh-ins.
“Huge amounts of data on each player informs how players have reacted to the stress of the game day and where they are on the recovery and readiness to perform.
“On game day the priority is for players to be as relaxed as possible and mentally in a good place, conserving their physical and mental energy. You are likely to see them go for a group walk together as well as having their own pre-match routine.
“Ultimately negative stress drains the body and takes energy away from muscles, so despite the huge amount of pressure, the support team will do everything they can to focus the players and ensure they are relaxed and as prepared as they can be.”
The medical and physiotherapy team play a crucial role in ensuring player’s minds and bodies are as prepared as they can be to hopefully bring it home!