'Outside the box' approach by McDonagh

March 01, 2013
Ciaran McDonagh - Physical therapist.

Holder of the Irish record in the long jump, physical therapist Ciaran McDonagh has over ten years first hand experience of the rigours of training and competing at the highest levels. This background in professional sport has provided the level of knowledge that underpins the treatment and support that his clients can expect to receive at his clinic in Lucan, Dublin.

His connection with professional athletics carried into his career as a therapist, which began with two years in Atlanta working with sprint group that included World and Olympic champions. Highly regarded by the athletes that he has treated, he can count such recognisable names as former 100m world record holder Asafa Powell and double Olympic gold medalist Shelly-Ann Fraser amongst his clients. Last August he was recruited as physical therapist for the Jamaican Olympic team, treating many who went on to star at the London Games.

While evidence of his more high profile clients adorn the walls of his practice in Lucan, he treats people from all walks of life, and is regularly busy with club and county level footballers and hurlers. McDonagh is familiar with many of the injuries that GAA players suffer, having suffered similar ones himself while long jumping. He identifies hamstrings, groins, backs and shoulders as the main areas that trouble his GAA clients.

McDonagh takes a wide ranging approach, which he describes as 'outside the box', to dealing with his the injuries he sees. "Treating the injury itself is just one part of the process, finding and treating what causes the injury is as important. If that can be found and fixed it will prevent re-injury and means you will come back a better, stronger athlete."

Educating clients on their injuries and their bodies is central to McDonagh's ethos, and, he says, central to them remaining injury free.

"If you come in with an injury, and leave knowing what caused it and what to watch out for, immediately you are reducing the risk of it happening again. Why wait till you have a muscle tear when you can identify tightness or a lack of mobility coming on and get it treated at that early stage?"

He believes that education, and this preventative treatment, is also key to performing at an optimum level. "Regular maintenance will prevent the majority of injuries a player is likely to suffer. It will also keep a player playing at a higher level with better mobility, flexibility and muscle function."

On top of the treatment, clients also receive detailed rehabilitation advice and plans, all aimed at getting them back to full health in the shortest possible time. McDonagh knows from his experiences the disruption and frustration of injuries and he works to ensure that with his treatment players will spend the shortest time possible on the sidelines.

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