Sports Therapy Community Streamed

Ep8 Do you want to know about the challenges of working in Women's Football? - Julie Anne Lacroix

September 07, 2020 Kristian Weaver Season 1 Episode 8
Sports Therapy Community Streamed
Ep8 Do you want to know about the challenges of working in Women's Football? - Julie Anne Lacroix
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Sports Therapy Community Streamed
Ep8 Do you want to know about the challenges of working in Women's Football? - Julie Anne Lacroix
Sep 07, 2020 Season 1 Episode 8
Kristian Weaver

In this episode I speak with Julie Anne Lacroix about being a Sports Therapist in Women’s football.

If you want to Become An Unstoppable Sports Therapist then visit: 

www.sportstherapycommunity.co.uk
 
 To find out more about Julie:
Website: www.jalxsportstherapist.com
Instagram:
@jalcroix
Twitter:
@jalcroix

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode I speak with Julie Anne Lacroix about being a Sports Therapist in Women’s football.

If you want to Become An Unstoppable Sports Therapist then visit: 

www.sportstherapycommunity.co.uk
 
 To find out more about Julie:
Website: www.jalxsportstherapist.com
Instagram:
@jalcroix
Twitter:
@jalcroix

Kristian Weaver:

Welcome to the sports therapy community streamed the place where sports therapy practitioners can get useful and actionable advice from industry leading experts from sports medicine to psychology to business. Here is your host sports therapist, exercise physiologist, and creator of the sports therapy community Kristian Weaver. Do you want to know about the challenges of working in women's football? Hello and welcome to this episode with Julie Anne Lacroix. Today we're going to be talking about working as a sports therapist within women's football. So Julie, if we met you at the side of a pitch, tell us who you are and what you do?

Julie Anne Lacroix:

So I'm a graduate sports therapists . I work with sports teams , but I also work in private clinic and I do cover events. Um , and I manage staff and cover events with schools and other sports.

Kristian Weaver:

Excellent. So how did you get into female football?

Julie Anne Lacroix:

it was really just , um , grabbing it, a passing opportunity. I've always been interested in getting into women's football and trying to get into that aspect of the community and to help move it forward. And I found this job advert with the Aston Villa , for the women's football team. And I was , I thought that that would be perfect . And , applied and got it. And I caught a really great experience from Aston Villa. I had a great mentor with Andy Frampton and the whole it was really a big sort of plunge into women's football because I realized I never worked with women sports after all in the last, you know , the two years before that. And I think my only experience with sports has been quite male dominated as well. So in a way it was probably even a risk for me to get into womens football I realized that I really like it. Um , I can compare different types of women's football as well as I have a little bit of experience with women's ice hockey and some how prefer it in the, in the woman's football also .

Kristian Weaver:

Excellent. So are you seeing many common injuries within women's football?

Julie Anne Lacroix:

Yeah, definitely. I think working with , um, women , you will definitely see certain things more than, than others. Yeah , I've, I've been seeing more hip injuries than I have in any other sort of circumstance and realizing how the hip may not be so simple. So sometimes it's really more like a ache or pain that you sort of have to work around. Um, and trying to, you know, differentiate if it's like a real problem or if it's just something we can work through. So I think that the hips, which is quite characteristic with women do have wider hips and it does really changed the way they run. Um, so that's, I think that's been sort of like the major thing that I've seen personally. Um, there's definitely a lot of ankle injuries and um, the rehabbed three ACL , although they haven't happened under me luckily, but , um , you know, so you can see how the ACL is also a very common injury in women's football of change of direction and they have such those narrow shoes. Um, so the , the ankle happens all the time and you have all sorts of degrees of ankle injuries, like just the common sort of flip over, oh, I'm okay, I'll carry on and they are like proper good ones as well.

Kristian Weaver:

Yeah. And I think we often see that sort of high risk of ACL injury within that female football, typically local lit literature , it's around about four to six times more likely in a female athlete than a male. So obviously that's something that we always have to be aware of. And when I worked in women's football, we used to see quite a few ankle injuries as well. Um, so, and we sort of had to account for those and train, prevent those through injury prevention programs or try and reduce the risk at least for those. So , um, when you're working in women's sport, obviously it's important to try and keep up to date with some of the things going on. And also you're doing lots of reading around. Is there anything you can point sort of our listeners towards to get more information?

Julie Anne Lacroix:

So one subject that I've sort of recently been looking into is the menstrual cycle with women or just the practicalities of women in sports. And so I was listening to this webinar and the doctor, Dr Georgie Bruinivels, I hope I'm pronouncing it right. Um, she's talking about this app and this like great source of information she had with this fitr woman, which is F I T R women app , um, which helps the women athletes to track , uh , their period throughout the month and also like to give tips and tricks on how to deal with it, how to affect one way or another. And there's also a link through the app too to sort of link up with the coach. So he's aware of, you know, whether it's , this might be a paradox, could impact that player or not. And obviously you can't, you know , stop training or gains for that , but you can definitely sort of adjust the load and, or you know, simply just be aware of it and knowing that that athlete might have a little bit of a peak down but also have a peak up at some point in that month. So very interesting stuff.

Kristian Weaver:

Yeah, I think there were some news articles which came out, I think around about one, the leading women's teams. And how they were trying to strategize to work around that sort of menstrual cycle. I think that when I worked in women's football, it was the , um , we sort of monitored it but we actually didn't change any of the training methods and just to try and identify if there were any patterns occurring and we didn't see any at the time but, and there are those people's which are now starting to research that kind of thing as well as we've done some research ourselves and we've actually looked at the female amateur athlete and whether balance is actually altered through that sort of cycle of , of a four week cycle and in order to try and identify whether there is any predisposing factor . So that's a really important point that you raised about that monitoring side of things.

Julie Anne Lacroix:

So that's fine. I was going to say that we're looking into adding a few more things into our , uh, our team, you know, try data tracking and um , that's definitely something that we're going to integrate. To see if the lead is going to be useful or not. Um , you know, if we can have an impact on it.

Kristian Weaver:

Yeah, definitely. So in terms of what you do, the athletes , obviously you're doing some data tracking and you're , you're trying to monitor these updates. So what does a typical schedule look like for you when you're working within female footballl?

Julie Anne Lacroix:

So , um, I worked with a semi professional sort of setting , um, with the first team. Um, we have two trainings a week, two evening trainings a week, and the game on Sundays. So , every training I will arrive at least an hour before training session and then all the girls are free to come and see you for any sort of treatments follow up. And you know, sometimes it's , it's just questions and that's something that's quite particular to go with is they might not even want me to see them, but they might have a question regarding something else. And that's really like, you know , golden nuggets that you need to grab from them because that's almost their feedback of like, Oh, this is something going on. So they won't really tell you. They'll just sort of disguise it in a question. So that hour is really important for me. Then um, and then I'll come outside with them. We'll start a training session. Uh , sometimes I'm actually the lead the warmup, try to integrate some sort of prehab exercise in the warm up, just making sure that certain things stays quite activated, we're working on the right muscles and a lot of sort of changing of directions, making sure they are ready to train. Um, and then throughout the session if I have some athletes that uh, can train , uh, for one reason or another, then they'll work on the side with me. So it might not be because are like injured, injured that you know, sometimes it's , it's because they they need to monitor their load. So we have some older athletes, a little bit more injury prone that just how they're really hard week . They might just do half the session and then they work with me. So then I'll do some stuff s pecific f or t hem or when they are like fully injured t hat can't t rain or play for a few months, then t hey'll be working with me on the side. And so they're still part of this team. They still come to all the training sessions. T hey part of all the meetings, they know what's going on the side of the pitch. So then we're doing some work together. So yeah. And then on game days then, it's really neat to meet up when we go away on our trips, away games or a t h ome. We all have like a staff meeting before games, which always l ook forward to w e get coffees and u m, s ort o f, i t's a sort of good sort of motivation for the g ame. So there's a lways like a team meeting i n the changing r ooms for t he girls, but we have like our own, we the other coaches.

Kristian Weaver:

Yeah. Any meeting that starts with a coffee is always a good one. There's a really important point that you picked up on those. Just as a sports therapist, you're there before the game but sometimes you'll have these conversations with players and which may lead to suspect the potential for injury or maybe something that's predisposing them to an injury. And so you sort of pick up on those, those subtle conversations that you may have with the player, which then sort of goes into your sort of clinical reasoning and how you then then potentially treat the player and speak to the player throughout that day. Or maybe something you need to be more aware of, so another top tip for sports therapists there , just to be always listening to the players and the athletes that you're working with.

Julie Anne Lacroix:

Yeah, I have a lot of those players that come in and say like, Oh, what can you do to stretch your , your calf ? And I always find funny when they do that because I do stretching of the calf in the cooldown auntie ended the session with them. So I know they know how. But I think for them it's a way of saying, my calf has been bothering me, you know, what can I do for it? So I'll have a closer look.

Kristian Weaver:

Excellent. So what's the most enjoyable part of working within football for you?

Julie Anne Lacroix:

Um , working with football with the team I work with is definitively that sense of community. Um, like it , it feels like it's more than football. It's more than , um , you know, the players are just in front of us. It's , it's something about, you know , pushing the team forward. Um, it feels at our level, it feels like we're almost having like a quite a small , fairly tightly knit team and we're trying to do something big with it. And there's very much that sense of , of pushing the team forward then I think that's what I was looking for in getting into women's sport is, you know, creating something different and pushing 18 forward. So I'm not the biggest football fan. I'm Canadian. I grew up with ice hockey and American football around me. Um, but I, I feel I fit quite well in that women's sports in Oxford. It's a good fit for us.

Kristian Weaver:

Excellent. So what advice would you give to any sports therapist who's potentially looking to work within football?

Julie Anne Lacroix:

Well. I think it's, it might sound a bit repetitive, but it's always try to grab any opportunity that comes by because sometimes it might not look like so attractive from the outside, but you never know what that opportunity might lead on towards. So, you know, my, my first job in women's football was with Aston Villa and it was like really far away from my house. Um, and you know, with all the travel that she's actually mean that I didn't make that much money out of it. But the experience I got from it was absolutely priceless. Uh, it was worth all of the three hours car drive and traffic in Birmingham that I did. And , um, so sometimes it's just looking like in the first few years when you just graduate, this is the money you earned and the travel you do doesn't actually, it's not worth as much just the experience that you acquired doing those experiences. And, and I would say, you know, if you know w hat you want, you want to work in football, then you know, any sort of a spects of a football team is g oing t o work. Even if it's quite low level, academy level, you never know what sort of path it might lead to. But I also say try any sort of sport that you might not think y ou'd like because you might not actually get into it. U m, I 'll still work with ice hockey and u m, I have a lot of students who came in with me and i ce h ockey has no idea of the s ports, what they would, y ou k now, get into and they love it and t hey, they stay in that sort of environment. So it might sound repetitive, but it's true. It's just g rab any opportunity that comes by.

Kristian Weaver:

Yeah. I can't agree more though. I think sometimes when you, when you see these things, when you're a new grad and you , you're just saying yes to experiences more than yes to , to a big job. And then eventually over time that snowballs into something much bigger and an experience which you can then apply in different sports. I know that I went out to Canada and went and worked with and was mentored by people in ice hockey and then when I came back, at least I knew a little bit about it and I knew what the demands of the sport were and then eventually ended up with England Ice Hockey. So all these things tend to snowball as we go. Julie, it's been great to have you on and you've given us some real insight into what it's like to be a sports therapist. Where can listeners find out more about you?

Julie Anne Lacroix:

Well at the moment I'm decently active on Twitter and, my Instagram is both sort of personal and professional, so you can follow me both. It's jalcroix and my website, which is jalxsportstherapist.com which is always under construction. So I'll add bits. Um , you can come and follow.

Kristian Weaver:

That's fantastic. Julie, thank you for being on the podcast and I'll make sure that all those contact details are within the show notes so that people can access you. And also you're a member of the sports therapy community. So all members there have the opportunity to ask you questions and network with you as and when they please. So thank you very much for taking the time today .