Spare a thought for the backroom staff as Magical Kenya Open starts
- This puts Kenya on the centre stage of the global sports calendar with a rare opportunity to host a round of the prestigious Tour.
The Magical Kenya Open golf tournament is here again, this time round in an elevated position as a part of the European Challenge.
This puts Kenya on the centre stage of the global sports calendar with a rare opportunity to host a round of the prestigious Tour.
And this is also a great opportunity for local golfers to showcase their skills on a global forum by playing alongside the world’s greatest.
This exposure will be great to Kenyan players and will encourage them to train more, practice more, play more and possibly make the big break in the global game.
While focus is so much on the build-up, sponsorship and prospects of the local and foreign players, it’s easy to overlook the rigorous routine professional players face in the build-up to the tee-off.
Professional golfers have a collection of consultants who guide them, nurture their strengths and manage possible threats to their sporting careers.
These include a personal coach, manager, nutritionist, psychologist, publicist and, most importantly a personal physiotherapist.
In Kenya, sports physiotherapy is a growing profession whose significance is long overdue.
Since time immemorial, people have always confused massage and physiotherapy. Actually, very few people can really explain the difference between the two.
So what is physiotherapy?
This is a branch of medicine that specializes in movement, function and disability.
Physiotherapists work with persons across all ages to manage pain, restore motion, improve function and better the quality of life.
This differentiates physiotherapy from the ordinary massage.
“We as sports physiotherapists come in to provide our professional expertise in injury prevention, treatment, return to play procedures as well as general wellness of the athlete as far as techniques, nutrition, rest and proper gear are concerned,” says Stella Mwende, a renowned Kenyan sports physiotherapist.
“Sports physiotherapy is now a basic requirement in any high performance zones as part of best practices,” she adds.
The major focus in golf physiotherapy is in three major components, namely flexibility, mobility and stability.
“Flexibility is about the muscles, more specifically the ability of the muscle to stretch and lengthen,” Mwende explains. “Mobility is how well a joint moves within its particular range of motion before being restricted by its surrounding structures (tendons and ligaments).
“Genetic factors, injuries and physiological traits can reduce or increase the range of motion of joints.
“Everyone is different."
“Stability is the ability to control joint movement and position. Stability is achieved by co-ordinated action of surrounding tissue and neuromuscular system.”
According to Mwende — who is also a member of the National Olympic Committee of Kenya’s medical committee and who has worked as the national team physio for Kenya rugby, football, swimming, golf and athletics — wellness is key. “The focus on a great posture, foot wear and care, mental welfare, nutrition, hydration, rest, recovery and stretches (before, during and after as part of your recovery) are vital in achieving a good round of golf.
“Within Injury it is important to have a proper physical assessment to ascertain the cause of the pain as opposed to working from a symptom point of view. This leads to a focused treatment plan which fastens the recovery time.”
Back to play protocols ensure non recurrence of such injuries as proper measures are taken in strengthening and rehabilitating the previously injured structures.”
Who needs to see a physio?
“Golfers with niggling pains, those who find it a real struggle to finish a 18-hole course and generally the golfer keen to improve their game and lower their handicap can greatly benefit from physiotherapy,” Mwende explains.