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A day in the life of a travelling ski physiotherapist

Our own Ben Bond has been travelling physiotherapist with the Australian X-country Ski Team before the upcoming Winter Olympics in February. Ben has been travelling through Switzerland, Italy, Slovenia and Austria preparing the team for their World Cup Races.

Here he gives us an insight into a typical day as a physiotherapist with the team.

6:30 am: Alarm goes off, hit the snooze button for 20 minutes.  On most occasions, I am woken from the Avalanche guns on the nearby ski resorts!

6:50 am: Coffee to get the day started. Check emails/correspondence from athletes, coaches, team doctor. Reply to any messages from Australia – it is usually nearly night time back at home.

7:30am – 8:30am: Check in with athletes regarding any pre-training needs. Pre-session strapping, treatment if needed. Breakfast in here somewhere too.

8:30am – 10:30am: Athletes head out for first training session of the day which is generally on snow except for 1 day a week which is in the gym. This is a good opportunity for me to catch up on admin from the day before if needed. All athlete management is recorded in an online database accessible by all national team physiotherapists/medical staff in real time.

If all is in order I will head out on snow for a ski or into the gym with the team. The scenery is fantastic in Switzerland, particularly in Davos where we are primarily based. It’s great to see the athletes out training on the snow, it gives a great appreciation for the movements/strength/balance needed for the sport but also helps me identify things which may be potential cause of injury down the track.

10:30am – 11:00am: Post-session snack. The physio timetable is then developed for the day. Priority going to any currently injured athletes, followed by injury maintenance then recovery treatment.

11:00am – 2-3pm: Treatment! Here is where I am best put to use. My main role is treating any ongoing issues with the athletes, working on rehabilitative exercises/stretching or giving advice in general for self-management when I am not around. Generally, I will spend about 30 minutes with each athlete needing treatment, longer if there are multiple treatment areas/complexity involved.

The athletes use this time to relax, have lunch or have a nap if the morning session was a tough one. The team vibe is generally upbeat and there are always plenty of jokes being thrown around.

3:00 – 4:30pm: Afternoon training session for the athletes. This will generally consist of an on snow session or a run. I will generally use this time to catch up on admin and escalate any concerns re-injury/medical management to team coaches/doctors. I will try to get out for a run with the athletes when I can, there’s nothing more peaceful than heading out for a run with the snow squeaking underneath your feet.

4:30pm-6:00pm: Relax or further treatment as needed if there was anyone who I didn’t manage to see during the day.

6:00pm – 8:00pm: Dinner. Depending on where we are staying we either cook for ourselves when at our base in Switzerland, or if we happen to be on the road for World Cup Races we tend to have a buffet at the hotel. Plenty of carbs for the athletes…

10:00pm: Plan for tomorrow –> Bed zzzz

All in all, things can be busy when travelling with the team yet the group is such fun to work with. Being able to travel, ski and see some of the best parts of the world as part of my job is something I would never pass up!

Cheers, Ben