Friday, February 14, 2014

A curling physio: bad backs and hangovers

Only two curling teams at the Olympics have full time physio/trainers working with them -- the U.S. and Great Britain. And according to the American trainer, Brian McWilliams a lot of folks wonder if two is two too many. 

In a story in the New York Times, McWilliams -- who knew nothing about curling when he took the job -- said curlers go through a lot of wear and tear on their bodies during the course of a competition 

I said, ‘What the heck is curling?'” McWilliams recalled. 
He immersed himself in the sport and now considers himself an expert in all things brooms and bonspiels. He is paid through a small daily stipend, but began as a volunteer with USA Curling. 
Sweeping, he says, can be difficult on the upper arms, back and shoulders. Backs ache from being bent over so much. Athletes are in better shape, he said, than when he started, creating a greater demand for postworkout massages. (McWilliams will be aided in Sochi by a massage therapist for the men’s and women’s curling teams.)
McWilliams, who is in charge of ensuring the American curlers don't take anything that's on the banned substance list, said he doesn't have to worry too much about doping or EPO as in other sports, but he does treat the curlers for an age-old curling ailment. 

The bigger concern for McWilliams is hangovers. Curling tradition dictates that the winning team buy the losers a round of drinks once they put down their brooms and leave the ice. Though postgame revelry at the Olympics may be muted, McWilliams said he was ready. 
“The teams like to have a good time,” he said.

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