Physiotherapist Brandon Lowe has just completed the season as Team Physiotherapist for the Avondale FC. The club took out the 2023 NPL VIC Men's Championship, Premiership and also achieved a points record and goals record in NPL1 for the season.
We asked him to tell us a bit about working with the players and club. . . .
How and when did you become involved with Football (Soccer) and the Avondale FC?
I have been involved in soccer since graduating from the Doctor of Physiotherapy degree at the University of Melbourne. In my first role, I was part of the Melbourne Victory academy program which included 7 physiotherapists managing more than 120 athletes aged 12 – 23. Every season since I have been fortunate enough to progress into new and more challenging roles. This led me to Avondale FC who were looking to revamp their medical and high-performance departments at the start of the 2023 season.
What did your role at the club entail?
As the Head Physiotherapist I was tasked with implementing strategies to minimise players’ risk of injury and this was done via daily, weekly and monthly screening tools which looked at strength, fatigue and subjective markers of readiness. In addition to this I led the assessment and management of players’ injury concerns, which included rehabilitation program planning, and coordinating referrals to Specialist Sports and Exercise Medicine Physicians and Orthopaedic Surgeons to ensure a swift and successful return to sport.
What did you find most enjoyable about the season, the club & the players?
Many of the coaching staff and playing group had already been together for quite a few seasons and they've come very close to being crowned champions of Victoria on two recent occasions but were unsuccessful. This didn't affect their motivation or enjoyment of the game, and everyone was pushing each other to get the result that they deserved. The club prides itself on this culture and mindset and it was a pleasure to be a part of it and see it firsthand.
What do you find the most challenging?
At the semi-professional level, most players come to training straight from their part or full time job, and many are managing the new life as parents with young children at home as well. There are a lot more variables in terms of fatigue management at this level and the injury risk profiles will be massively different for players that work in trades verse office-based roles. Understanding the demands of each players circumstances and putting a plan in place to manage these, while still demanding adequate training and gym-based loading was a tough task to manage.
How does Soccer & the NPL differ from other sports you are involved in / athletes you have worked with?
I've been drawn to soccer as aPphysiotherapist due to the high strength and conditioning demands of the athletes and a smaller player list to manage as compared to AFL. In the experiences I've had, this has allowed a more individually tailored approach to injury prevention strategies and transition back to team training and gym loading once a player has progressed through their rehab.
How do you feel this experience will help you in treating your patients at Alphington Sports Medicine Clinic?
Understanding the demands of the semi-professional athlete and the demands of NPL athletes specifically, which can involve quick turnarounds between League and Cup match fixtures, has very much helped in the specific planning and implementation of each phase of a rehabilitation process. Whether a player is looking to return to training after sustaining an injury, or whether a player is looking to stay involved on match day despite some injury concerns, I am able to take a much more holistic view at their situation and address specific concerns to help them achieve their goals.
For more information about Brandon Lowe go to: https://www.alphingtonsportsmed.com.au/practitioners#brandon-lowe
Additional Note: In exciting news for Brandon, he’s just accepted a role with the Newcastle Jets FC!!
He’ll be moving up to NSW later this week but plans to return to the Clinic during the off-season (around May 2024).