Dave Fevre – Expert Chartered Sports Physiotherapist – Injury Rehab Network Event

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Sterosport were delighted to hold the sixth event of the Injury Rehab Network in partnership with the British Association of Sport Rehabilitators (BASRaT) on Thursday 3rd September 2020. The free event was hosted online by BASRaT and was joined by over 300 sports rehabilitators from the north-west, UK and around the world!

Dave Fevre – Expert Chartered Sports Physiotherapist

The event included a detailed presentation from expert guest speaker, Dave Fevre, the noted authority in physiotherapy and sports injury rehabilitation. Dave has a career in sports team physiotherapy spanning over 30 years.

Ole and Dave

David Fevre MSc MCSP SRP (pictured above with Ole Gunnar Solskjær of Manchester United) is currently working as a freelance clinician/ lecturer in physiotherapy and sports injury rehabilitation. He has consultancy roles with several European, Premiership and Championship football clubs and is on the teaching faculty for both the Football Association (FA) and Rugby Football League (RFL). He was Head of Sports Medicine for Blackburn Rovers FC until January 2017, having been in post since July 1999. Prior to this, he was previously Chartered Physiotherapist for Wales (2002-2005), Manchester United FC (1994-1999), Great Britain Rugby League (1990-1994), Wigan RL (1989-1994) and Leigh RL (1984-1989). He worked in the NHS and within several Sports Injury Clinics based within the private hospital sector prior to these full-time posts in elite sport.

He lectures extensively internationally and in the UK on subjects related to sports injury rehabilitation, has had articles/ research papers published in several rehabilitation related journals and is the author of the book ‘Collision Sports Injury and Repair.’ He is also an honorary lecturer at both Salford and Manchester University and was awarded the ‘Outstanding Contribution to Professional Football’ award in 2014 by the Football Medical Association (FMA) and ‘The Fabrice Muamba Outstanding Contribution to Professional Football Award in the NW of England’ in 2015.


The Importance of Clinical Skills in the Modern Technological World

Dave’s presentation provided a fascinating insight into the importance of clinical skills for sports injury professionals (rehabilitators, therapists, and physios) and how these skills should be complementary to new technologies and techniques.

Core Skills

Dave described the three core skills of sports rehabilitators as:

  1. Assessing players
  2. Managing injuries
  3. Protecting players

Assessing Players and Athletes

Dave’s talk focused on the skill of sports rehabilitators in assessing players and athletes. This skill is vital in a pitchside match or training environment where the rehabilitator/ physio needs to know what to look out for and how to respond in the event of an injury or trauma. The physio’s role is to take control of the medical team, prevent worsening of injury and to facilitate extrication when needed too.

Visual assessment skills are therefore vital in any physio’s toolbox and extend to the physio room and gym where professionals should make visual assessments of clinical tests and may use images and video footage to aid assessment and inform rehabilitation practices.

Training Culture – Understanding the ‘Type’ of Player You Are Working With

Dave’s described the training culture of different athletes and the need for rehabilitators to understand the type of player. Highly motivated and professional athletes are more likely to commit to rehabilitation, with an awareness of their capability to perform. Conversely, athletes with low motivation are unlikely to respond well to a rigorous rehabilitation programme and may have little commitment to return to play. These two types of athletes have been described by Sir Clive Woodward OBE as “Energisers” and “Energy Sappers”. Part of a physio’s role is to foster a culture of energisers and to convert energy sappers to energisers (or to at least move energy sappers on from the physio room)!

Know Your Anatomy!

Academic studies teach students the various part of the anatomy. Dave described how it is especially important for rehabilitators to learn on the job, to have a strong understanding of myofascial anatomy and to understand how the whole body is interconnected by anatomy trains. Different injuries may therefore impact on various areas of the body.

Handling and Testing Skills

Dave highlighted the need for rehabilitators to have good manual therapy and handling skills for the assessment of injuries and to have a bank of clinical tests to use as baselines and for monitoring different types of injury. As part of any assessment, the physio should also use their investigation skills to assess the patient’s history.

Building a Full Picture About Each Patient to Inform Rehabilitation

Whilst clinical skills are clearly important, Dave discussed how technology can play a role in assessments and informing rehabilitation. For example, an ultrasound with analysis from an experienced radiologist can provide vital data in relation to the extent and type of injury and may reaffirm diagnosis from the physio’s clinical assessment.

Physios need to know players history to make an informed diagnosis based on acute and chronic injuries which may be recent or historical. To build a full picture, physios should therefore use a combination of visual assessments, tests, patient history and data from tests to make an effective plan for rehabilitation. How a player feels can also have a significant impact on their recovery so good communication is key to ensure rehabilitation and return to play is aligned to players personal capabilities.

Leadership and Communication Skills

Leadership and communication skills

Dave described how a sport rehabilitator should be a central member of the team and needs to build rapport with managers, staff, and players. When working with players, physios should understand what makes them tick and to then communicate accordingly. When working with a team, Dave recommended that physios should identify 5 key players who are the influencers in the team. If a physio can win over these 5 players, then the others are highly likely to follow. For example, players may be more receptive to new training techniques and treatments and can be more motivated to become self-organising and to take responsibility for injury prevention and rehabilitation practices.

Key Points/ Overall Message

The overall message from Dave Fevre’s inspirational talk is to continuously learn and develop clinical skills. Each physio or sports rehabilitator should have a toolbox of knowledge, assessment skills, handling skills, leadership, and communication skills. As more technology becomes available, there is always a place to innovate and improve but at the core of all physio’s work should be their clinical skills.

The 7 top tips from Dave’s experience are:

  • The importance of the pitchside role of physios
  • Developing good visual assessment skills
  • Develop a toolbox of skills and assessments
  • Learn – myofascial anatomy, from other sports, pitchside trauma, manual therapy
  • Get a mentor
  • Develop good leadership skills to effectively communicate and influence
  • Consider which 5 words best describe you

After speaking at the event Dave said, “I really enjoyed presenting for the Steroplast Injury Rehab Network which hopefully came across in my delivery. A good mixture of questions at the end shows the interest and level of delegates who are subscribing to these types of webinars and only bodes well for future events. Always happy to help out.”

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