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We Know ... Rehabilitation

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Try, try succeed




We helped Patrick Parfrey recover from his broken and dislocated ankle in 2010. He says he had a good experience and he’s still doing his physio exercises today. Patrick was just back from playing and training in Uruguay when head honchos (our co-owners and registered therapists) Justin Whittle and Chris Cluett asked him about being one of this province’s first family of Rugby, activation exercises, and running with the big guys as part of Team Canada.  


Down but not out



Justin: Patrick, now 25, broke his ankle while playing for The Rock during an Aug. 7, 2010 game. His dad was on the sidelines when he was taken to surgery and put out for the season. He picked up the ball again and has played for The Rock, Swilers, and joined Team Canada in 2013, when he was called to the 31-man team.  





Chris: Past Team Canada Coach Kieran Crowley was quoted as saying Parfrey was the right choice for the team because of his versatility.
“Pat was a logical choice for us because he brings a lot the team. He can play a number of positions in the backfield and has played for us on a number of tours over the last three years, including the Pacific Rugby Championship earlier this year in Fiji.”


Newfoundland’s First Family of Rugby


Justin: Patrick’s family is heavily involved in rugby in Newfoundland and Labrador, his father Patrick Parfrey was instrumental in Newfoundland’s Rugby history, his brothers Brendan, Kevin and Owen all play, or have played as well. Owen is the captain of the Rock and is the team physiotherapist. Even Parfrey’s late mother, Dr. Benvon Parfrey received the prestigious Chairman’s Award from Rugby Canada in honour of a volunteer who has contributed to the growth of the game.


“It’s in my family, but half of it is the atmosphere,” says Parfrey when asked why he loves this sport. “All over the world, you’re welcome everywhere you go.”


Activate … super powers


Chris: Patrick says his two best fitness tips are staying on top of your nutrition and activation.

Activation is designed to enhance communication between your mind and your muscles. Typically, it takes only a few minutes while warming up, but these exercises are like flicking a switch in your brain so the muscles you’re training are optimized during your workout.  



Justin: These five to eight exercises don’t have to be difficult or straining, it’s about the mind-body connection and making muscle groups stronger.   




A dangerous sport? Not really


Chris: Rugby is a high contact sport, so one would think there would be more injuries, but Patrick explains that rugby players are taught at a young age how to play safely.


“You know how to move your head to not overextend your muscles,” he says.




Justin: Though there used to be many more concussions in the sport, World Rugby has really stepped up to make the sport safer. There are new rules and referees are strict about them, medical doctors are on the sidelines at every game, and there are a lot of baseline tests to help quickly diagnose, and treat concussions early - tests like those we run in our offices. Finally, Patrick says there’s new return-to-play programming to help athletes to get back on the field after an injury.


What’s the touch line?


Chris: Patrick is studying epidemiology at Memorial University by distance, while living near the team in British Columbia. He says when he graduates, he may go on to medical school, but he wants to live in Newfoundland.




“Year by year you can make a decision. Check, check, still healthy. Keep playing.”


Justin: So what’s Patrick’s advice for upcoming rugby players and fans?


 “Enjoy it. You can’t play it if you don’t enjoy it.”


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Chris: If you’d like to find out more about activation exercises, good nutrition, or sports physiotherapy and injury recovery, get in touch with us, and sign up for our newsletter to get tips and interviews like this one right in your inbox. You could also win a free massage!


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About the author:

Justin has a passion for physiotherapy, which is why he partnered to create ProActive Physiotherapy. He’s since taken on a business role, but still likes to work with patients on a regular basis.


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