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Thursday the 31st of August was the official opening of the Ballarat OSM Acute Injury Clinic.


To be able to open this specialised clinic in Ballarat is very exciting, and would not be possible without the co-operation and goodwill from our partners in Newington Physiotherapy, MC Physio, Lake Health Group, and from Lake Imaging.

The Ballarat Acute Injury Clinic is a concept that springs from my time working at AFL level. The morning after every game would involve a review of all injured players, whether it was a major injury, a ‘corkie’, or a small ankle sprain. It was expected that all injured players would attend, with both the club doctors and physios present. By attending to the injuries as soon as possible it meant we could assess the need for any imaging, other investigations, further surgical advice or assessment, or just early commencement of rehabilitation.

It never ceased to amaze me how a sprained ankle from the night before, if compressed, regularly iced and elevated overnight, would not be anywhere near as swollen the next day. On the other hand, we all know about the ankle sprains or ‘corkies’ that have been ‘ignored’, and then become big, fat, stiff, and swollen and take months to settle down. This immediate post-injury treatment is incredibly important, and I’d support all of your trainers or local first aid providers in pushing this advice to your athletes.

The first step in a rapid recovery is getting things started. The Acute Clinic runs every Monday afternoon. This allows the weekend issues to be seen early. Booking into the Clinic can be done over the phone on Monday morning, or even better, we also offer online booking. This can be accessed over the weekend, from the clubrooms, anywhere or time. Our online booking system has been specifically built for this clinic, and we are pleased at how well it has been working so far. Bookings are made through a link on the BallaratOSM website, and can be done on any phone, tablet or other platform.

On arrival at the Clinic, the Sports Medicine Physician sees every patient. Decisions are made regarding imaging, other tests or referrals, and coordinating the return to fitness. After this assessment, the Physiotherapist, Patient and Physician will have a discussion about the plan, and then the physio treatment begins. This might involve some hands-on treatment, advice about early rehab exercises, taping or bracing as needed. We have all the equipment we need on site.

If some scans are needed on the day, Lake Imaging is located close by at St John of God Hospital. Lake Imaging has kindly agreed to be available for urgent requests as needed. Scans will be arranged in a time frame that is clinically appropriate.

Follow-up treatments and reviews will be arranged at the initial consultation. We will generally want to make sure everything is progressing as planned. Ongoing physio appointments can also be made, either with the physio seen on the day or, with the athlete’s regular physio. Information about the injury and early treatment will be sent along both to the usual treating practitioners, physiotherapists and GPs.

If it becomes apparent that surgery is going to be the best way forward, then we can also arrange appointments with any of our surgeons here. Between the members of BallaratOSM there is specialist expertise in knee, hip, foot and ankle, shoulder, arm and hand surgery. Referring the injured athlete to the right person, at the right time, and for the right operation is a key part of our overall vision.