IN HIS LATEST column, Dermot Simpson looks back at his relationship with Colm McFadden, who retired from inter-county football this year.
McFadden made 170 appearance for Donegal, his last being the All-Ireland quarter-final loss to Dublin in August. The highlight was the 2012 capturing of Sam Maguire, when Simpson was the panel’s physiotherapist.
Dermot Simpson says …
Colm was a manager’s dream in that he rarely was unavailable for trainings or matches.
His robustness in remaining injury-free was incredible considering the intensity of the training and matches. In my four seasons working with Donegal, Colm McFadden had a 100% match availability in the 2014 season and a 95% availability in 2015. In the 2014 season from December 2013 until September 2014, he missed only three trainings all year from minor groin and hamstring injuries. Similar statistics were found for the 2012 and 2013 seasons.
The majority of Colm’s injuries occurred in pre-season or early in-season. When he had a reasonable amount of training completed in early season, he was one of the most resilient players in staying injury-free. He was always in the top two or three in the squad when I tested groin and hamstring strength to assess risk of injury.
Likewise Paul Fisher, the Donegal strength and conditioning coach, has said the same about his upper body strength during gym sessions. One of the reasons for this was his natural strength but also that he was incredibly dedicated to doing the injury prevention programme and gym programme.
Colm followed any rehab or prevention programme religiously and there were very few days he didn’t do it. He was easy to work with, not only in his honesty in telling me if he did the rehab or not but also telling when he had discomfort during training.
When he was feeling tightness or pain, he’d always enquire whether he should play on or rest. But those occurrences were minimal. Many players who might not know their body as well would play on and get injured and be out of action for a few weeks. This was an important reason why he missed so little time from training.
In the 2012 season, we had some minor and some major ankle injuries coming into championship season. We asked the county board to buy two BOSU balance boards to help the guys complete some of their rehab at home.
All was going well at the beginning as only a couple of lads had brought them home so the location of the boards were always known. However, after the All-Ireland final win and during the following seasons, there were many rumours on the Bosu boards location. Some of the guys would say ‘Sure I saw it in his shed’, which of course would be denied by the player accused.
The last report on its location from Colm was that a Donegal player had the Bosu board in his sitting room and was bouncing Quality Street chocolates off it into his mouth. However, this is unconfirmed!
I remember receiving skin-coloured zinc oxide tape instead of the normal white colour by the physiotherapy supplier. It was exactly the same tape; the brand, length, width, strength, but a different colour. One or two of the other guys might have asked ‘is that new tape’, I’d say ‘yeah, same tape just different colour’.
“No bother” they’d reply. Others wouldn’t even have noticed. Colm, on the other hand was convinced it was an inferior tape! He wouldn’t let me tape him with it. He’d say ‘give that cheap tape to Big Neil”. It was a running joke how the tape was sent out for Big Neil to save costs. Besides all the joking, I still had to find some white tape to strap his ankle.
Dermot Simpson is a physiotherapist currently working at Aspetar, a world renowned sports medicine clinic in Doha, Qatar. Dermot has been team physiotherapist for Donegal senior football team from the 2012 to 2015 seasons.
He holds an undergraduate degree in physiotherapy and as well as a Masters in Sports Physiotherapy from UCD, Dublin. Dermot is the owner of Donegal Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Clinic in Letterkenny and Inishowen Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Clinic in Carndonagh.Tags: