The Treatment Table - with Pete Talbot
Friday 28th September 2012
The Treatment Table - with Pete Talbot
The latest in his series of one-to-one interviews sees Vikings Media Apprentice Joshua Worrall joining Pete Talbot for a light hearted chat.
JW: For those who have seen you around the club, but are unaware of your role at Widnes Vikings, bring us up to speed with what your job entails?
PT: Well, I work with the injured players on a daily basis. My role involves rehabilitating them to full match fitness, through some hands-on work, which differs for each individual injury. The recovery process also includes some Strength and Conditioning work in the gym with Clive Brewer and then finally some pitch activities to make sure they can cope with similar situations to those in a real game. Only then do we consider pushing them back into action.
JW: For how long have you been in this position at the Vikings?
PT: I started when the Vikings were a part time team in the Championship as Academy Physiotherapist and then progressed to working with the First Team when we returned to Super League. Having previously worked in football with Bolton Wanderers and Liverpool, I was really keen to learn more about the sport of Rugby League and how the injuries differed from those in Football. The transition was helped by a number of the Academy lads joining up with the first team squad as a result.
JW: Was Physiotherapy always the career option for yourself, or did you turn your thoughts to this because you perhaps didn't have the credentials to cut it as a sportsman?
PT: I always played a lot of different sports when I was younger, but then I decided I was interested in becoming involved with Fitness Training, which took me to Bolton Wanderers. After that, I completed a part time Physiotherapy degree, which led me to being offered a role within this department at Bolton. Experience was key to my progress in the industry and it went from there really.
JW: Now you've made the grade, for any budding Physios out there, what kind of advice can you offer for these individuals to potentially gain a foothold within the industry?
PT: On an experience note, I would say try to email and write letters to a number of outlets as soon as possible. Getting your foot in the door can make a huge difference in the long run, but I'd also advise people to look into the Strength and Conditioning side of things as well. Elements of the roles overlap, so it's advantageous to have experience of both. As far as qualifications are concerned, you should be looking at taking A-levels like PE, Science and Psychology, followed by a specific Physiotherapy course.
JW: As an outsider looking in, there appears to be a tremendous camaraderie within the Vikings camp. Are the off-field staff a part of this and if so, there must be occasions when your role doesn't actually 'feel like work.'
PT: The staff members like to get involved in the banter with the lads, but only where appropriate because, at the end of the day, we try to maintain a professional environment at the same time. Sometimes, we need to prepare the players for some bad news regarding their injuries, or even enforce some rules so the ‘fun' needs to be toned down where necessary.
JW: Although a percentage of the recovery process is down to input from you personally, your enthusiasm has to be matched by the players themselves to actually want to put the jersey back on as soon as they possibly can, doesn't it?
PT: This kind of attitude from the players is extremely important as we can only guide them to the right road to recovery, such as gym work but then the lads have to complete the activities fully and to the best of their ability, to ensure they don't suffer any setbacks. At the end of the day, these guys are professional athletes, so they have to be in tip top shape before we can send them back. A perfect example of this is Ben Kavanagh, who applied himself really well to every task we gave him and never moaned once, despite the fact he had a really serious knock, and was able to return ahead of the scheduled date.
JW: Are there ever complications in the treatment room when you have so many individuals recovering from different injuries, all trying to get fit at the same time?
PT: No, I don't think it effects things too much because we have another Physio who works with the first team called Andy McDonough. It simply means, however, that the staff have got to be prepared to work longer hours each day, and the lads need to be committed to put in the extra time. Some injuries take longer than others to put right, but we're here for them for as long as required.
JW: Looking ahead to next season, you must be hoping that you'll be slightly less busy on the injury front, and hoping that 2012 was just a 'one-off?'
PT: I'm really hopeful that there won't be a repeat of last season that's for sure. But the injuries are part and parcel of the game. We do our best, working alongside the Strength and Conditioning Coaches and giving each player their own individual recovery programmes. Unfortunately though, Rugby League, like all sports is very unpredictable with regards to injuries and there's nothing we can do to prevent them from happening. Fingers crossed we'll have a less crowded treatment room in 2013!