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IRFU Medical Team Present at IOC Injury Prevention and Wellness Conference

IRFU Medical Team Present at IOC Injury Prevention and Wellness Conference

A delegation from the IRFU’s High Performance Medical Team made multiple presentations last week at the 6th IOC World Conference on Prevention of Injury and Illness in Sport held in Monaco.

The IRFU delegation included Rod McLoughlin (Medical Director), Phil Glasgow (Head of Rehabilitation & Physiotherapy), Nicol van Dyk (Medical Research Lead), Mairead Liston (Medical Manager, High Performance), Caithriona Yeomans (Medical Manager Developmental Game) and Stephen Mutch (Ireland Men Lead Physio).

The 2021 conference which was attended by over 1,200 delegates included 45 symposia, 5 keynote lectures, 132 invited speakers, 56 workshops, and 388 abstracts.   The conference programme presents evidence-based information on methods to prevent injuries, illness and other health problems associated with sports participation, from a multidisciplinary perspective.

Nicol van Dyk, the IRFU’s Medical Research Lead, presented three symposia at the Conference – Hamstring injury management, injury prevention and complexity in player care as well as hosting a workshop on managing on-field decision making in concussion, commented:

“This year’s IOC conference began by focusing on the concerns and research that has been completed on the impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on sport.  There was a renewed focus on all illness prevention, but many other current topics were covered including sleep, travel fatigue, screening to prevent cardiac sudden death and the protection of vulnerable communities such as youth athletes.”

“Some of the key themes identified at this year’s conference were greater support of athletes’ mental health, including the athlete’s voice in co-designing programmes, and the role of leadership in sport and exercise medicine. Many speakers emphasized the importance of performance, and how we can enable our players and staff to thrive on and off the field. This is a key focus for the IRFU, and our emphasis on robustness was well received  by the sports medicine community,” continued van Dyk.

Robustness is defined as how players are consistently able to engage in training and games with maximal efforts. This goal is not limited to our professional players, but at every level of competition and participation.”

Phil Glasgow, the IRFU’s Head of Rehabilitation and Physiotherapy presented a symposium on hamstring injury management, Mairead Liston (IRFU Medical Manager, High Performance) hosted a poster session on concussion with a focus on neck strength and Caithriona Yeomans delivered an abstract presentation on injury surveillance in the women’s development game citing the work of the IRIS project – the ongoing injury surveillance partnership with the University of Limerick.

“The diversity of IRFU projects to support player performance and welfare was evident, contributing to key areas such as the women’s game, concussion, injury prevention and hamstring injury management.  The conference allowed the IRFU medical team to connect with the global sports medicine community and will no doubt lead to future knowledge transfer and the collaborations,” said van Dyk.