Upon the completion of the Australian Ice Hockey League 2022 (AIHL) season with Melbourne Mustangs and Australian Women’s Ice Hockey League 2022/2023 (AWIHL) season working with the Melbourne Mustangs and Melbourne Ice Women, Physiotherapist Jennifer Lohmus went to Sofia, Bulgaria with the Under 18 Australian Boys Ice Hockey Team for the IIHF Division II Group B World Championships.
Now that she’s back, we asked her to tell us a bit about these experiences . . . .
How and when did you become involved with the Melbourne Mustangs in the AIHL & the Under 18 Australian Boys Ice Hockey Team?
I met the athletes on the Mustangs AIHL team in an official capacity in May 2022, just after preseason. I was excited to be asked by my ASMC colleague Emma Poynton, Head of Medical and High Performance for the team, to assist with Physiotherapy. I helped out the team for the rest of the season and was asked back again for the 2023 season starting April 2023. This opportunity opened the door to working with the Victorian Women’s State Team in October 2022 and April 2023. In addition, I was asked to assist with the Women's AWIHL Team as Team Physiotherapist. All of a sudden, I was involved with 4 different ice hockey teams - 2 leagues, 1 state and 1 at a national level.
I reached out to Ice Hockey Australia when they had posted the teams and off-ice staff. There was a position to be filled as U18 team Physiotherapist, so I applied for the role.
What did your roles with the 4 teams entail / what was the day-to-day like for you during the AIHL, AWIHL season and on the Nationals and World Champs trip?
The roles were very similar for the men's and women's teams in the ice hockey leagues. We even had the same ice times on a Tuesday night! The men train 2x/week and women train 1x/week and 2x/week when there is a home game due to ice availability.
I mainly am involved with acute injury management at training and on game days. As well as monitoring persistent injuries, strength and conditioning, load management, athlete wellbeing, etc.
Last year Victoria hosted nationals and the role was significantly more involved than when being part of an away state. This year I travelled with the team to Perth which includes different challenges such as where to treat athletes, where to refer, what services are available and what to bring for supplies. At the Worlds I was the first-aider, S & C Coach and Physiotherapist given the team cannot travel with as many off-ice staff. I was performing similar duties to the league team as well as executing pool recovery sessions, supervising S & C sessions in the gym, leading warm up and cool downs, treating acute injuries, attending medical facilities with the athletes, sourcing medical supplies abroad, and monitoring athlete overall wellness including liaising with team dietician.
What did you find most enjoyable about the season & trip?
I love being around the ice, and it makes me feel closer tied to my Canadian background.
On the trip we had a snowy day and when I opened my window that morning to a light dusting of snow falling from the sky in the city with the capped mountain tops in the background it was spectacular.
What do you find the most challenging?
Translating medical reports in another language, some things don't quite translate. Speaking another language is hard enough but translating medical jargon is even harder.
How does Ice Hockey differ from other sports you are involved in / athletes you have worked with?
Ice hockey is fast and exciting to be part of. They change shifts every 35 seconds so if you blink you'll miss something. Ice hockey players like winter more than summer, which is not the case in a lot of spring or summer sports. I’ve covered other sporting events in Baseball, Taekwondo, AFL, NFL, Soccer, Rugby, and Netball and they are equally as talented athletes, just with different interests.
How do you feel this experience will help you in treating your patients at Alphington Sports Medicine Clinic?
I have learned to work as a team to a whole new level. Just like an athlete I need to use my team as much as I can because that will bring about better patient, athlete or client outcomes.
For more information about Jennifer Lohmus go to: www.alphingtonsportsmed.com.au/practitioners#jennifer-lohmus