At Rebound Sport and Spine, we are known for our work with local athletes and sports teams. This has provided me with some great opportunities to be involved with sports and especially the sport I love, football. During football season, you can find me at the field working as a trainer and team doctor for the Langley Rams, our local Junior football team. This offseason, though, we have been lucky enough to get to work with the BCPFA to offer our services as a medical staff to the Team BC provincial teams. This work culminated at the 2022 Football Canada Cup in Kelowna from July 9th to July 17th where U18 provincial teams from across the country competed for the top spot in the nation. Here’s a quick summary of my time covering this week-long event!
While games and practices were held at the Apple Bowl in Kelowna, all players, coaches, and staff from every team stayed at the UBC Okanagan campus nearby. Upon arrival, we received our room keys for the dorm rooms we were staying in and proceeded to unload all of our training equipment that we needed for the week. The student residences we were staying in were clean, cozy, and most importantly, air conditioned (vital when temperatures ranged from highs of 27oC to highs of 36oC)! From there, following a quick meeting with the team, we made our way down to the cafeteria where every team participating in the event would be having dinner. All meals were provided complimentary; there was a good variety of food with accommodating selections for those with food restrictions and the food services staff was efficient and friendly. To end the first day, the team had a quick walkthrough at one of the fields on campus before we all turned in for some sleep.
The next day started with team breakfast followed by picking up our daily allotment of ice to use in our injury management. Once the ice was all packed away, we packed up all of our training equipment and hopped onto a bus that shuttled us to the Apple Bowl for our first full practice. After setting up at the field (under tents supplied to us by the BCPFA and BC Lions), we got right down to taping and ensuring the players were ready to hit the field. Throughout the practice we would be available to check on any injuries or aches and pains that any players may be having and, most importantly, making sure everyone (including coaches!) was hydrated. Once practice was over, we packed everything back up, took the bus back to the campus, and went down for lunch with the team. After lunch, we provided an open treatment time for any players dealing with any nagging injuries. After some free time following treatment, we had dinner with the rest of the team. This is what a typical day looked like for us at this event: breakfast, lunch, and dinner with the team, either a practice or a game at the Apple Bowl every day and treatment times fit into any gaps. The first full day of the event for us ended with a meeting between all of the trainers for every team and the host medical staff. The medical staff at the event were extremely helpful and accommodating and helped to make this a great experience for us!
Day 3 of the event was our first game day. Our boys from BC had the evening game and faced off against Alberta. After our usual daily schedule, we arrived at the field at 5pm in preparation for our 7pm start. After our usual taping (with some more cosmetic taping), we were ready to take the field for warm-ups. We spent our time ensuring we had all of our cooling and hydration measures in place as the temperature reached as high as 33oC around game time. From there, it was business as usual for us patrolling the sidelines, assisting players, and responding to any injuries on the field of play. The boys fought hard but ultimately came up just short to lose to Alberta 18-17 off of a last minute comeback in what was easily the closest game of the tournament. This loss meant that the team would be competing for 5th place moving forward.
The next day, and every day following for that matter, ice baths were essential. We had ice baths ready for the players during every treatment time after that and they were always in use when we had them ready. Following 2 more practice days, we had our 2nd game on the 6th day of the trip and played against New Brunswick in an evening game where the boys took home the win 36-3. After 2 more days of practice and recovery, we came to the last day of the event where the team would face Manitoba in the 5th place game. In a well-contested matchup Team BC controlled most of the game and finished with a strong effort to take the win 31-19 and earned 5th place in the country.
While it wasn’t the result the team wanted, they put a great effort into this tournament and the players showed what they could do and played well in front of scouts from teams at the next level. Team BC looks to build on this and come back stronger for next year’s tournament in Alberta.
Overall, this was a great experience the entire week. The hosts were very helpful and created a great atmosphere from the residences to the campus facilities to the practice and game facilities at the Apple Bowl. The opportunity to work at an event of this size and with players of this caliber was exciting and the experience gained was invaluable. Most importantly for us, the team made us feel welcome and embraced us as a part of the staff and never hesitated to thank us for the work we had done. Team BC absolutely felt like a family and one that I was very happy to be a part of for a week!