Get to know Huddersfield Town’s First Team and Academy staff
- ‘Know Your Role’ series continues
- Today we speak to Injury Rehabilitation Lead Steve Humphries
- His role involves working with Town’s injured First Team players
With the coronavirus currently postponing Town’s fixture list, we’ve decided to introduce you to some of our First Team and Academy Staff – today we look at the Club’s Injury Rehabilitation Lead, Steve Humphries!
Steve joined Huddersfield Town in August 2018 after spending eight years with Leeds Rugby in physiotherapy roles.
He also has a first-class honours degree in Physiotherapy and has previously worked with the RFU, Samoa’s national rugby team and four-time Olympic snowboarder athlete Zoe Gillings-Brier.
Now at Town, his main responsibility, alongside his physiotherapy duties, is being the Club’s Injury Rehabilitation Lead.
“I work closely with the long-term injured players to oversee their programme’s timeline from acute injury to their return back to training, back to competition, and then as safe and as soon as possible back to performance.
“We want the rehabilitation continuum to be a smooth transition from start to finish so it means concurrent rehabilitation, strength and conditioning work, which requires some careful periodisation.
“We try and reverse engineer this process, so we work backwards from when we realistically want them to return and populate their program content accordingly.
“I’ll develop and evolve the pathways for this to occur as effectively, efficiently and robustly as possible, often with some collaboration, as the last thing we want is an injury to reoccur once they are back playing.”
So, what does an average day look like for Town’s Injury Rehabilitation Lead?
“First thing, the whole performance team has a meeting to run through the plans for the day, make sure there are no logistical concerns and assign accountability for key roles in the day.
“We’ll make sure the caseload of bumps, bruises and niggles are treated along with any strappings.
“Then when squad preparation for training is complete, I’ll generally break off and start working with a long-term injured player on his treatment, rehabilitation and conditioning.
“If we are lucky enough to have no injuries, we all have projects to complete which aids our own and the Club’s development.
“Come the end of the day once the players have gone home, I’ll catch up on my admin, write up any new rehabilitation programs required and reflect on the ones in progress; essentially planning for the next day.”
Steve works closely a range of people at the training ground on a daily basis, including physiotherapists, sports scientists and of course, the players!
“In relation to the players, it depends who has been unfortunate enough to be spending a significant amount of time injured.
“I’ve had a good stint with Collin Quaner recently, but at the moment, Tommy Elphick and myself are living in each other’s pockets!
“It’s been a great and productive few months and we’re starting to see some fantastic results.
“He’s a top guy and has really embraced the rehabilitation process, which is half the battle, so I’m excited to see what the next few months brings.”
Steve’s role, like any, also comes with its occasional challenges that he is faced with whilst working in the job.
“From an individual point of view, coming from a different sport it takes a while to gain the trust and buy-in from players, especially if you challenge their ‘philosophy’ on rehabilitation with different approaches.
“When I first joined, I almost immediately picked up Jon Stanković and Kasey Palmer for their respective long-term injuries, and they weren’t straightforward cases but both had successful outcomes, so I like to think they gained me some brownie points in the changing room!
“On a team level obviously last season as a whole was difficult to take; sport brings lots of highs and lots of lows, I personally hate losing, so last season was a challenge in itself.”
But for the challenges, there are plenty of pluses to working in the role for Town’s Injury Rehabilitation Lead!
“I think experiencing the ‘other side of the fence’ to what the general public does (is one of the biggest pluses).
“Once you’re in sport, I think you take certain aspects for granted.
“The majority of time its ‘just work’, but then occasionally you take a step back and you’re sat at Twickenham, or Wembley, you’re 2-1 up against Manchester United at home, or celebrating survival at Stamford Bridge, which was massive for the Club.
“The other part is seeing someone get back to doing what they love and being a key figure in that.
“Long-term injuries can be a dark place for a player, and we ride that wave with them, so to build a rapport, gain their trust and to oversee the process that ultimately takes them full circle to where they’re bouncing around the place and back playing with a smile on their face can be really rewarding.”
If getting into the injury rehabilitation or physiotherapy industries is something you’re looking at, Steve has some words of advice for you!
“The biggest thing I would say is find out, and I mean really find out, what the job entails.
“I lectured at university at couple of years back, and the biggest thing I illustrated was the sacrifices you make to your personal life; it’s not something that you realise until suddenly all your weekends for the next 48 weeks are taken up with travel or fixtures.
“So, speak to someone who has lived and breathed the industry.
“As well as that, it’s an obvious cliché but make sure you work hard as it’s a competitive industry so you have to set yourself above the rest of your peers; it requires a lot of motivation and discipline to self-learn and strive to improve.
“Every day is a school day but remember to filter out the social media trash that’s becoming more prevalent and build your own philosophy.”