After leaving the Coffs Coast to build an impressive career as a leading sports physiotherapist with the Gold Coast Suns in the AFL, Nathan O’Connor has returned to the local area to join the team at Mid North Coast Physio.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I grew up in Sawtell and loved all things sport, which led me to study a Bachelor of Exercise Science before completing my Masters of Physiotherapy, both at Griffith University. After working in a private practice for several years, I’ve spent the last 3 years working at the Gold Coast Suns AFL club.

I was responsible for managing the medical services for the 400+ junior athletes in their elite Academy and worked in the medical team for the men’s senior AFL squad. My passion is supporting aspiring athletes, particularly with developing strategies to reduce the risks of injury BEFORE they occur.

Having recently started a family, my wife and I decided it was time to return home to the Coffs Coast and I’m excited for the opportunity to give back to the community I grew up in.

What are some of the key strategies for athletes to reduce their risk of injury?

The first step is to manage the amount of training you do. A vital part of training is recovery, to allow your body to adapt and maximise the benefits rather than just getting sore or injured. We help by tailoring an individual load management plan and communicating with your coaches to ensure everyone understands.

Secondly, consistency is key! Many sporting injuries occur after a sudden change in training demands, but we can work with you to develop a suitable return to train/play program to ensure you get back safely.

Thirdly, is to include some strength training in your program! Lower body strength for field sport athletes is often overlooked, but increased strength means reduced injury risk, for both overuse and acute injuries. As an accredited Strength coach, I love developing individual programs for you (including for you endurance athletes too!).

Unfortunately, despite the best laid plans sometimes things happen that just can’t be prevented and in that case we’re always here to help with diagnosing and rehabilitating injuries.

Thanks Nathan.  If you’re a budding athlete looking to improve your training or manage some injury risks, organise an initial consultation  with Nathan to review your training program and discuss how you can reduce your injury risk and improve performance. 

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