Stathas I, Kalliakmanis A, Kekelekis A, et al. Effectiveness of an On-Field Rehabilitation Framework for Return to Sports in Injured Male Professional Football Players: a single-blinded, prospective, Rrandomised Controlled Trial.

The full article can be found here.


Tell us more about yourself and the author team.

I’ve been a sports physiotherapist for 17 years, specialising in therapeutic exercise, particularly field rehabilitation. Currently, I hold the position of Head of the Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Department at PAE OFI. I am grateful to the dedicated writing team of accomplished scientists for their invaluable assistance in this research.

Mr. Kalliakmanis, a seasoned Sports Physician, has extensive experience working with major Greek football teams, specialising in knee-related issues. Mr Kekelekis, with a longstanding career as a sports physiotherapist, also has an academic background. Mrs. Danassi, a Radiologist, brings years of musculoskeletal ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging expertise.

Furthermore, Mr. Tsepis, a professor at the University of Patras, is the head of the post-graduate program “Therapeutic Exercise.” My mentor and overseeing professor, Mr. Fousekis, is a sports physiotherapist engaged in scholarly activities and serves as a professor and the president of the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of Patras.

What is the story behind your study?

The existing gap in addressing the injuries of professional football players, specifically in the transition from treatment and gym rehabilitation to their return to team duties, prompted us to develop a comprehensive protocol for on-field rehabilitation. This protocol, which we had been employing at an elevated level for several years before this research, has consistently yielded excellent results.

In your own words, what did you find?

An on-field rehabilitation protocol was devised to address musculoskeletal injuries in the lower extremities. The study revealed that irrespective of the severity or nature of the injury, football players following this protocol experienced an earlier return to team training with minimal subsequent injuries. Notably, the research highlighted that initiating on-field rehabilitation at the earliest opportunity significantly hastens the player’s return to team training.

What was the main challenge you faced in your study?

The primary challenge encountered during the investigation was managing the substantial number of participants and the extensive time required to execute all rehabilitation programs. This encompassed the entire process, spanning from the initial instance of injury to the football player’s eventual return to team training.

If there is one take home message from your study, what would that be?

Initiate on-field rehabilitation as soon as possible during injury recovery.

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