With the 2021 AFL season now complete, we chatted with one of our Massage Therapists, Brooke Skaf, about her involvement in the AFL with the Carlton Football Club (Blues).
How and when did you become involved with the AFL and the Blues?
I became involved with the Carlton Football Club in 2017. For the first 3 years, I was only working during the week for their training sessions but in 2020 I also became a game day trainer as well.
What do your roles with the club involve?
My main role with the club involves providing soft/deep tissue treatments to the players incorporating different techniques to target their needs during our treatment blocks.
There may be times before a training session where I assist in taping the players or getting certain things ready for the session.
As a game day trainer, the role is quite similar to during the week. It requires getting the players ready for competition whether it be through light pre-game treatments or taping.
What do you find most enjoyable and the most challenging?
What I find most enjoyable is providing help to and seeing the positive effect felt within the playing group, and in sense, the correlation with treatment and performance.
We’ve got a great connection within the group as a whole so it’s always fun to go to work.
To be honest, I don’t find anything challenging working with Carlton and the AFL.
How does this differ from other sports you are involved in / athletes you have worked with?
I’ve been lucky to work with a number of other sporting codes.
So, I worked for Melbourne Victory and Melbourne Storm on a regular basis during their seasons for 4 years, but I’ve also worked at Melbourne Rebels and Cricket Victoria.
The main thing that differs between the sports that I’ve been involved in is the body type and structure of the athletes.
It was rarely a challenge and the variety of experience has been very positive - it’s made me a better therapist and more prepared when it comes to treating various individuals and dealing with different treatment requirements.
The AFL & Carlton along with all the codes have a great and strong professional structure to provide the best for all those involved.
Because of the ongoing COVID situation, it was obviously another unusual season for the AFL – how do you think this effected the players, club staff, and your work with them?
The 2020 season, in particular, was one full of new experiences. I was away in hub life for 12 weeks. This brought a new sense of connection and tightness within the whole group that travelled forming stronger relationships.
It was another unusual AFL season in 2021, but it just showed the continued resilience of all involved with the main focus being to complete what was required.
How do you feel this experience will help you in treating your patients at Alphington Sports Medicine Clinic?
I believe both my previous and current experiences have had such a positive influence on the type of therapist that I am now, and it has definitely assisted me in treating my patients at Alphington Sports Medicine Clinic.
I have worked with various people in different settings for a number of years and it taught and showed me that no 2 people are the same.
My working experience is the reason why my treatments are always individually based.
As a therapist my work consists of developing individual treatment plans to ensure the client has and feels a greater sense of relief and improvement.
For more information about Brooke Skaf go to: https://www.alphingtonsportsmed.com.au/practitioners#brooke-skaf