The advent of professionalism in rugby has been hailed for providing huge opportunities for young sportsmen in Ireland as well as giving the sports mad Irish public a new outlet for their passion.
The growth of the game has also generated requirements in the area of fitness and sports therapy and one ARTI member has taken full advantage by landing a dream role with Leinster Rugby.
Diarmaid Brennan has recently assumed the role as Rehab Coach with Leinster Academy, one of the main roles in ensuring that the talented young players are given every opportunity to realise their potential.
The Academy is a squad of 25 professional young players aged between 19 and 22 on a three-year programme, who train with the senior team with the aim being to break into the senior ranks.
While the role is a demanding one, the 27-year-old from Ratoath, is delighted to be part of such a high profile professional sports outfit. “I have to say that I really love the job. I first got involved on an internship and when I was offered a position I jumped at it. At the minute it is part-time which allows me to continue working at my clinic in Ballyfermot, so it is definitely all go at the minute”, added Diarmaid who has plenty of strings to his bow as he is also involved with the Meath hurlers.
For the graduate of Sports Rehab at Carlow IT, a typical week begins on a Monday morning at 7am with a review of players after a game and could involve a gym session along with rehab or prehab work. It may also involve one-on-one work to deal with a particular injury.
Tuesday will follow a similar pattern, although not as intense, and the ‘down day’ on Wednesday will be used as a further opportunity to deal with injured players. Thursday involves gym sessions and work on the pitch in preparation for weekend games, while Friday generally sees further work with injured players.
Given the investment in time and finances, there is a big expectation that such players – who are all at college – will make the step up to the senior, Diarmaid admits there is pressure on all involved.
“It is important that we try to keep players fit and if they are injured to make sure they are not out long term. The target is to make them injury-proof so there is a big emphasis on prevention.
“As a result we have to assess players and target areas of the body the might be susceptible to injury”, added Diarmaid who has to liaise with all the medical and fitness staff to ensure each player is following the best possible programme.
The signs are encouraging for Diarmaid and others involved with the Academy system continuing to produce quality players capable of stepping up to senior rugby. Five are currently playing at the U-20 World Cup, a similar number are regularly involved with the Rabo League team, while all eligible have signed senior terms this season. Graduates from the Academy are currently on duty with Ireland in the USA and of course, with the Lions in Australia.
“It really is great to be part of something that is going so well and brilliant to be working with elite athletes. When players want to push themselves to the limit, they expect the best from others and that really keeps us on our toes”, added Diarmaid.
Diarmaid has recently launched his new website dbsportsinjuryclinic.com.