Team Namibia’s physiotherapist on their European Grand Prix Tour of Jesolo, Italy and Nottwil, Switzerland, Ruan Mocke says he is humbled by the para-athletes’ dedication and drive despite their impairments.

Mocke who is co-owner of the Ruan Mocke & Marieke Kirchner Physiotherapy has been a physio for several sports teams nationally.

In an interview with Nampa on Saturday, Mocke said working with athletes living with a disability has challenged him to bring fields together that he previously saw separately.

“I have enjoyed growing as a physiotherapist through being exposed to high-performance athletes with disabilities. Simultaneously, I have been humbled by the dedication and drive of these athletes despite their impairments. They are truly ambassadors for the Land of the Brave,” he said.

He added that he enjoys the challenge of combining these fields, which he has experience in, to try and achieve optimal movement efficiencies which can help the athletes to perform at their best.

Mocke stated that on his journey with the National Paralympic Committee (NPC), he has learned that due to hard training schedules and a natural desire to perform it’s important for athletes to be well cared for.

“Athletes are exposed to high levels of physical and mental stress. Mental health is very important as other factors, external to the track and field have the potential to influence athletes negatively. This includes being away from home, not always travelling with your coach and having less contact with your support network. In these instances, having someone to assist with mental coping mechanisms is important,” Mocke said.

He also said the importance of having a physiotherapist in the team is to avoid common injuries that athletes pick up during training.

“The last two trips that I travelled with [NPC] to Morocco and Italy we saw athletes picking up hamstring, groin and lumbar spine related injuries. Physiotherapists have the knowledge and ability to treat and manage injuries, implement rehabilitation exercises and assist with recovery,” he said adding that physiotherapists can also indicate to coaches what training and intensity is safe to do with the injured athlete.

Mocke said he is grateful to have seen very good outcomes from different interventions during his trip with the Para-athletes who had hamstring strains and acute severe low back pain, but it was managed in such a manner that the athletes could perform on the field the next day instead of withdrawing.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency

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