On behalf of the British Journal of Sports Medicine, I had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Marie-Elaine Grant on taping and bracing in the athletic population LIVE from the IOC World Conference in Monaco.
Dr. Marie-Elaine Grant, is a chartered physiotherapist currently on the IOC medical commission and has monitored physiotherapy services on behalf of the IOC for the past 2 Summer Olympic games in addition to owning a clinical practice in Dublin, Ireland. Dr. Grant’s globally recognized Chartered Physiotherapist qualification has led to a career of preparing, rehabilitating and working with Olympic athletes and clinical patients.
In this episode, we discuss:
-The top 3 reasons for when to use and not use tape or a brace on your athlete
-Does the ongoing use of taping or bracing develop dependency?
-The most important considerations to uphold the integrity of taping during sport
-Is bracing or neuromuscular training more effective post-injury? And what are the validity of the outcome measures?
-And so much more!
There are many nuances to treating the high level athlete that can sometimes be more important than clinical reasoning. Dr. Grant believes, “Every elite athlete will have a very strict drill the day before and certainly in the hour leading into competition. And that drill and that discipline that they have developed that they get themselves to the starting blocks of the track that has to absolutely be something that is fully respected.”
The ultimate goal of a physiotherapist is to help the athlete return to sport without the use of taping or bracing. Dr. Grant finds, “The less dependency that athletes have on extraneous supports, the better and the more likely they are to have consistent and really good performances.”
Regardless of whether the mechanisms of taping and bracing have gained support from the research literature, “Athletes will continue to use it and they will continue to request it. Therefore, there is something in this… we have to try and understand why athletes find this beneficial even if the science is not there.” From Dr. Grant’s experience with the Olympics, she has found that the real importance is, “we need to have a much better understanding of what it is doing, how it does it and to ensure that athletes don’t develop a false dependency on it.”
For more information on Dr. Grant:
Dr. Marie-Elaine Grant (PhD, PT), Physiotherapist to the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Medical Commission, Games Group. Ireland’s Olympic Team Lead Physiotherapist from 1990 – 2010. A specialist member of the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists.
Marie-Elaine is a physiotherapy graduate of UCD (University College Dublin). During the early phase of her career she worked in University Hospitals in Dublin before traveling to Europe and the USA to further her learning and skills. During this time she developed a keen interest in sports physiotherapy and advanced her knowledge and expertise by successfully completing post graduate courses in core sports physiotherapy skills and at the same time advancing clinical experience working with sports teams and aspiring young athletes before advancing to supporting the high performance athlete.
She was appointed to the Medical Committee of the Olympic Council of Ireland in 1990 and subsequently appointed as their lead physiotherapist. Marie-Elaine has served with the Irish Olympic Team for 5 consecutive Summer Olympic Games commencing with Barcelona 1992 through to Beijing 2008. She also served with the Irish Olympic Team for the Turin 2006 and Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics and was appointed to 10 Irish European Youth Olympic Squads. In this role she planned, implemented strategies for provision of high quality physiotherapy services and injury prevention screening programmes for high performance an