Darren Roberts – They tried to make me go to rehab

Darren works with world class action sport / extreme sport athletes.

He deals with 17 sports with 40 – 50 athletes a year, ranging from 10 – 40 years old.

He doesn’t do rehab with the athletes.

Everything he does is guided by the athlete.

He doesn’t talk about rehab with the athlete. It’s just another mode of training.

He doesn’t do a phased plan either, there is no early, mid or late phase in the return to sport process. Action sports athletes don’t understand phased plans.

They are either training or they are not.

Return to sport starts instantly after the injury.

In their world the line between brilliance and trauma is thin.

Am I the limit to the athlete I’m working with?

No injury prevention with action sport athletes.

Don’t put your limited map of the world on to the athlete

They are world class because they don’t do as they are told!

They didn’t grow up in the gym. Their sport is their training

If you treat them as a set of KPI’s you will limit their performance. Treat them as a person.

Keep it fun. Someone with a broken arm doesn’t want to be treated as a lab rat.

Athlete first – he works for the athlete. Same for the surgeons etc

Create the environment.

Get them all working together (brought from his experiences in the military). In a team environment the injured athletes tends to get put in the corner away from the team.

Autonomy – what they are used to and what they need. He works for them.

Ask the difficult question – especially from a medical perspective. Who says an ACL rehab has to be 6 months? Why 6? Why not 4 or 24?

It has to be fun! They have just suffered a potentially season or career threatening injury. It has to be engaging!

Embrace the chaos.

Change the rules – change the game. Push what is possible

World record attempt = blown ACL

What the athlete’s see walking up to his office – put’s the athlete at ease they are in the right place.

Recreate their environment – bikes from the ceiling, action sports branding.

When an athlete is injured they are away from everything that defines them. Recreate it and make it look and feel like their sport.

Focus on what they can do, not what they can do. Don’t be a Debbie Downer!

Make them feel like an athlete = competing and performing

His athletes decide what they are doing in the gym that day via rock, paper, scissors.

Different sports, different injuries, male and female athletes, they all athletes work together.

Can you jump from there to there? Measure against other athletes. Bring it to life beyond simple numbers.

They have Mario Kart projected on to the wall of the clinic with a leader board on the wall.
The athlete could arrive there with season or career ending injury. It’s not them trying to make light of the injuries but the athletes don’t need him to make it any more serious than it has to be.

They could have 5 or so athletes all with different injuries but when they are having Mario Kart battles no one is talking about their injuries or where they are in the rehab process. They start the day with a smile on their face.

It doesn’t matter how pretty your program looks on the spreadsheet, its only effective if the athlete turns up to do it. This way they do show up and it sets them up for success.

Personalised programs – photos of that athlete doing that exercise on their program.
Yes, it’s time consuming but so is a 9-month rehab. It shows he cares.


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