Thursday, April 1, 2010

Are you the CEO?

Just been given instructions that I am allowed to start some light running again, this is welcome news.

I did my first 30 mins on Tuesday and by Thursday morning I couldn’t walk down steps due to muscle stiffness... how muscles go soft when not in use.

This injury has taught me a lot about what you need to know about the field of specialist health professionals in order to adequately treat a big injury.

My injury has now required 7 medical specialists, all with different approaches and expertise to fixing a low grade stress fracture. I have seen the following:

1. A Physio: to tell me it’s injured

2. A Sport Physician: to confirm its inured and refer me to a radiologist

3. A Radiologist: to do a bone scan to really confirm the injury

4. A Podiatrist: to make orthotics to redistribute the weight that may have triggered the injury

5. An Osteopath: to look at general bone density reasons why it injured

6. A Sports Dietitian: to look at dietary reasons why it injured

7. A Massage Therapist: to loosen and treat muscles surrounding the injury

Now if you had asked me 12 months ago what a podiatrist did I would of probably said "aren’t they people who collect pet rocks?”. I knew very little about all these specialists.

The most interesting thing I learnt was that while all the above are great professionals most didn’t refer me to the other specialists necessary to holistically treat the injury.

They all had different views of the World and for some reason, only after being asked by me, would they mention “well you could see a such and such, but I dont know what they will be able to do”.

If I hadn’t concluded that the cause of the injury had several possibilities (like too much running, bad biomechanics, diet and ageing) I wouldn’t have sought out each specialist. And every specialist had useful information to treat the injury, prevent it happening again and to fix it.

What was even wierder about this situation was that no specilaist even contricted another. They all helped.

My point is that, as a runner or athlete you need to be the person who takes responsibility for knowing this stuff, and making sure you have all the experts working for you properly.

The best non-running example of this is probably a CEO of a big company who will have specialist managers, sales persons, lawyers, accountants, business strategists etc etc working for them.

The CEO is in charge and needs to know how to use each specialist effectively. No CEO goes to his sales manager saying “I have this issue down in HR, can you solve it?” The CEO goes to the HR manager and says “use your skills & training and fix the HR issue please”.

Alternatively, no sales manager will usually say to the CEO “oh the answer to our organisations problems will be solved by better HR advice”, they are more likely to say “everything can be solved by better sales”. Nor would a CEO even ask the sales manager for HR advice.

Obviously, for the organisation to be successful/ profitable all specialists need to be doing their individual job as part of a bigger picture held in the CEOs head, and hopefully shared by others. All the CEO needs to do is set the vision, find the best people, know what they do well (ie their speciality), and get them to play their role effectively.

So my long winded learning is that you need to be the “CEO of You Pty Ltd” when it comes to being a runner, and particularly when recovering from an injury needing holistic treatment. You need to find all the specialists and know how to use them, and realise where they are coming from. No one else can do this but the CEO/ runner.

Anyway off for a 5k- 30min loop around the Spurwood -Rickard Rd fire trail.

Sleep Train

CEO, Sleep Train Pty Ltd