On behalf of the British Journal of Sports Medicine, I had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Marie-Elaine Grant on taping and bracing in the athletic population LIVE from the IOC World Conference in Monaco.
Dr. Marie-Elaine Grant, is a chartered physiotherapist currently on the IOC medical commission and has monitored physiotherapy services on behalf of the IOC for the past 2 Summer Olympic games in addition to owning a clinical practice in Dublin, Ireland. Dr. Grant’s globally recognized Chartered Physiotherapist qualification has led to a career of preparing, rehabilitating and working with Olympic athletes and clinical patients.
In this episode, we discuss:
-The top 3 reasons for when to use and not use tape or a brace on your athlete
-Does the ongoing use of taping or bracing develop dependency?
-The most important considerations to uphold the integrity of taping during sport
-Is bracing or neuromuscular training more effective post-injury? And what are the validity of the outcome measures?
-And so much more!
There are many nuances to treating the high level athlete that can sometimes be more important than clinical reasoning. Dr. Grant believes, “Every elite athlete will have a very strict drill the day before and certainly in the hour leading into competition. And that drill and that discipline that they have developed that they get themselves to the starting blocks of the track that has to absolutely be something that is fully respected.”
The ultimate goal of a physiotherapist is to help the athlete return to sport without the use of taping or bracing. Dr. Grant finds, “The less dependency that athletes have on extraneous supports, the better and the more likely they are to have consistent and really good performances.”
Regardless of whether the mechanisms of taping and bracing have gained support from the research literature, “Athletes will continue to use it and they will continue to request it. Therefore, there is something in this… we have to try and understand why athletes find this beneficial even if the science is not there.” From Dr. Grant’s experience with the Olympics, she has found that the real importance is, “we need to have a much better understanding of what it is doing, how it does it and to ensure that athletes don’t develop a false dependency on it.”
For more information on Dr. Grant:
Dr. Marie-Elaine Grant (PhD, PT), Physiotherapist to the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Medical Commission, Games Group. Ireland’s Olympic Team Lead Physiotherapist from 1990 – 2010. A specialist member of the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists.
Marie-Elaine is a physiotherapy graduate of UCD (University College Dublin). During the early phase of her career she worked in University Hospitals in Dublin before traveling to Europe and the USA to further her learning and skills. During this time she developed a keen interest in sports physiotherapy and advanced her knowledge and expertise by successfully completing post graduate courses in core sports physiotherapy skills and at the same time advancing clinical experience working with sports teams and aspiring young athletes before advancing to supporting the high performance athlete.
She was appointed to the Medical Committee of the Olympic Council of Ireland in 1990 and subsequently appointed as their lead physiotherapist. Marie-Elaine has served with the Irish Olympic Team for 5 consecutive Summer Olympic Games commencing with Barcelona 1992 through to Beijing 2008. She also served with the Irish Olympic Team for the Turin 2006 and Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics and was appointed to 10 Irish European Youth Olympic Squads. In this role she planned, implemented strategies for provision of high quality physiotherapy services and injury prevention screening programmes for high performance and developmental athletes together with developing physiotherapy support networks with the National Governing Bodies of Olympic Sports.
Marie-Elaine was inspired by the commitment, focus and dedication of so many athletes which in turn inspired her to push the boundaries of her clinical understanding by undertaking further learning by scientific research. She was awarded a PhD in 1997, the title of her research thesis was: ‘Evaluation of the Effects of Spinal Strengthening using a Sports Medicine Exercise Approach’. She continues to participate in clinical research, has had peer reviewed publications and presents regularly at international conferences.
In 2011 Marie-Elaine was appointed to the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Medical Commission Games Group, as a clinical expert in sports physiotherapy, in this role she has been responsible for monitoring physiotherapy activities and facilities for participating nations at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games and the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games, and is currently preparing for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games to be held in PyeongChang. The key aims of this role are to protect the health of the world’s Olympic athletes and advance the role of physiotherapy within the global Olympic movement. Marie-Elaine continues to further advance sports physiotherapy ensuring recognition of the very important role that physiotherapy plays in protecting the health of the athlete through prevention, delivery of treatment of the highest standard and also intervention to support performance.
She continues to work extensively in clinical practice focusing on all aspects of sports physiotherapy. She also lectures on third level BSc Physiotherapy programmes and post-graduate MSc programmes in Sports and Exercise Physiotherapy for Universities in Ireland and has also been an external examiner. She supervises clinical placements for physiotherapy students and mentors post graduates.
She was awarded Specialist Membership of the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists in Sports Medicine in 2006 which has been renewed in 2013 for a second term. In September 2013 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from University College Dublin in recognition of expertise and contribution to Sports Physiotherapy in Ireland and beyond.
Resources discussed on this show:
Marie-Elaine Grant Publications
Grant Physiotherapy Website
Marie-Elaine Grant LinkedIn
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