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In The Spotlight: Colm Coakley

21st July 2015 By Munster Rugby

In The Spotlight:  Colm Coakley

We catch up with Cork native Colm Coakley on his role as Munster Rugby physiotherapist..

We catch up with Cork native Colm Coakley on his role as Munster Rugby physiotherapist..

Colm grew up in the small village of Knockraha, in the parish of Glounthaune where he plays senior hurling with local club Erin's Own.

It was through his love of sport that Colm decided to become a physiotherapist and studied at the University of Limerick where he graduated from in 2007.

From there he spent three years working in a private practice before he got the call from his old Erin’s Own club-mate and friend Tomás O’Leary informing him of a role with the Munster Rugby Academy.

“Tomás rang me and said Munster were looking for a part-time physio for the academy. I met with Anthony Coole, the senior physio at the time, and was thrilled when I got offered the job.

“I started with the academy in 2009 and a year later a full-time position came up with the senior squad. My new role was specific to player rehabilitation and it eventually developed into looking after my own caseloads. Working with Lead Physio Shea McAleer and my colleague Keith Thornhill we look after all the physiotherapy needs of the senior squad.

"Days can vary depending on the time of the year. During the season we get the players in each morning so we can check any issues that they may have and ascertain if they can train that day. Once all the checks are complete we have an assigned period during the day to look after our long-term rehabbers or anybody else who requires treatment during or after a session.

“Match days in particular can be quite long. We get the players in early doors for treatment particularly if they have travelled any distance and we get working on them to prevent any lower limb injuries. While the players have their pre-match meal in the hotel, we would also use the time to strap them for the game and this would continue right up to kick-off. The vast majority of players have some kind of strapping done before they go on to the pitch and it can be normal for some to get three or four joints strapped for a game.”

In discussing the highs and lows of the role Coakley identifies player rehabilitation as the most challenging and rewarding.

“Any kind of setback is very disappointing for a player, so having to sit down and tell a guy that he is not ready to go back is probably the hardest part of the job. That said when a player comes back from injury you just can’t beat that sense of accomplishment, for us and the player himself.

“It really is a team effort; we work closely with the strength and conditioning coaches in getting a player back up to speed and it is extremely rewarding for all involved to see a guy return to the field.”

And on the hurling front Colm is in good company with Darren Sweetnam and his old club colleague Tomás O’Leary now back in the Munster set-up.

“In the team physio room the topic of conversation can quickly switch to the latest Cork hurling news and it’s good craic to have the lads around. Tomás and I are trying to convert Sweets (Darren Sweetnam) into an Erins Own man but he’s not taking much notice of us for now!”

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