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Get to know Warrington Wolves' new head physio
2:18pm Thursday 7th March 2013 in Wolves news
NEW to Wolves’ performance team in 2013 is head physiotherapist Ben Stirling.
Ben is the head physio for Wales Rugby League having also worked with Crusaders RL and Super League side Castleford Tigers. This week we caught up with him to find out a bit more about his career so far, how he’s finding life at the Wolves and get a behind the scenes look at life as a Super League physio...
On his move to Warrington and working within the Wolves’ set-up, Ben said: “It’s everything you expect from an elite team; from the resources, staffing and culture to the players’ attitude and abilities.
“It’s the same with all the staff here, too. It’s everything I expected and wanted from working in rugby league.”
Throughout his career so far Ben has worked under five coaches, so has considerable experience.
He worked with the likes of John Dixon, Brian Noble, Iestyn Harris and Ian Millward at Crusaders and Castleford – all of whom are respected within their field – and has been a part of the international set-up with Wales for the last four years.
“This is now my fourth year with Wales,” Ben says. “I was involved when Wales won the European Nations, which was a great experience, as was the Four Nations.
“I am also looking forward to being involved in a World Cup camp. I’ll also have a vested interest in how England get on, with all the Warrington players that have made the squad. It should be a really positive event for rugby league, and to be involved in it will be fantastic.”
On how he first got involved in physiotherapy, Ben said: “I always wanted to be a physio, but my initial pathway took me down the sports science route. After doing do that, and a couple of injuries and surgeries later, I realised my true vocation would be physiotherapy – and I have never looked back.”
So who has had an impact on Ben’s career so far?
“One person who springs to mind is Anthony Seibold, who was strength and conditioner at Crusaders during my time there,” Ben says. “He is now involved with Melbourne Storm in a coaching capacity, but I learnt a lot from him during my three years about the ins and outs of rugby league, the expectations and how to work alongside all the other backroom staff, coaches, strength and conditioners and others.”
Now with a first-class honours degree in both physiotherapy and sports science, and currently working on a master’s degree in biomechanics at the University of Chester, Ben is a welcome member of the Warrington backroom staff.
But what exactly does his role entail?
“Due to the nature of the sport and the constant collisions the players experience, there is always a lengthy list of things to do,” said Ben. “During the week I’m pitch side at training sessions covering player rehab, taking players to see surgeons, arranging scans should they be needed, monitoring the players to help reduce injury – and this is all on top of the prehab programme we deliver.
“I also work closely with Chris Baron, the head strength and conditioning coach.
“Match days start with an early morning as we get any injured players in for rehab. It’s then a matter of getting to the stadium about an hour and a half before kick-off and ensuring that players are strapped, rubbed and essentially ready to go and warm up.
“Throughout the match I’m a keen observer, constantly monitoring the players and immediately addressing any form of injury should they arise. If any injuries should occur I will need to assess the injuries and get them off the field if needed.
“Post-match we assess any injuries to see if anyone needs scans or referrals. This is followed by a medical debrief.
“In the debrief we will discuss the best form of action for the next day and beyond, so we can get people recovering immediately after the final whistle.
“Physiotherapy is seven days a week. However, I do not look upon the role as a job but as a passion.”