What David Haye Can Teach Sports Physios

The David Haye v Tony Bellew Fight Has Some Important Lessons For Sports Physios…


Going into last night’s David Haye v Tony Bellew boxing match, I’ll admit, I was shouting for Tony Bellow but my heart absolutely sank for David Haye in the 6th round when THAT injury happened…

Yet, as the fight continued, my geeky side was so fascinated and it was awesome to see so many things that is currently been taught in The ProSport Academy Mentorship unfold in front of my eyes.

Here are the key points that David Haye can teach sports physios…

Everything Is Connected

Everything affects everything else. Haye’s inability to utilise his right foot and elastic energy severely impacted his ability to generate power through that right hand.

It also affected his ‘balance’ and pretty much everything else. You could visibility see David was using his right shoulder in a different way in order to make up for the lack of contribution of other joints and tissues. This is worth considering the next time a shoulder pain patient may not be responding as expected. Is it the shoulder’s fault in the first place or is it simply just doing it’s best to help out giving the cards it has been dealt?

The Human Brain Will Always Find A Way

Just like some of the latest research in regards adaptations to pain and/or a noxious stimulus, David found a way to work around his injury short term. His body found a way after a round or two to manage the injury and make the best of a bad situation so he could ‘survive’.

As the fight went on, for the next few rounds he began to ‘find a way’ to work around the injury and was able to get some nice shots in. A little more external rotation of the hip here, a little more weight on the left leg there…

This is worth considering the next time you have a tricky patient. Consider the short-term adaptations that they had put in place to previous injuries but now may be coming back to pay the piper. Is what you are seeing now adaptations to previous injuries if these adaptations continue once pain has diminished like the research is suggesting?


Pain Is Contextual

David Haye is again living proof that there are so many different factors that influence pain. While I can’t say for sure, but I’d imagine David’s pain levels are probably higher now than it was last night during the fight.

While impossible to say for sure but I’d image the environment and situation probably had a pretty big influence on David’s pain levels last night.

David’s higher centres were presumably able to dial down the pain intensity for long enough to allow him to do his thing and ‘survive’.

This is worth considering the next time someone presents in a lot of pain or indeed a very little pain. Pain is not an accurate indicator of actual tissue damage.

Taping Is Not Always The Solution

When the trainers applied ‘that’ taping job on David Haye during one of the intervals between rounds, I could tell straight away that it was going to be more trouble than it was worth…

For one, the tape they used was not elastic from what I could tell and would be very unforgiven on the skin. Get your Achilles out right now and notice a number of creases the skin has while in plantarflexion and how much movement it has then when in dorsiflexion.

Messing with normal physiological movements and placing an external material that is unforgiven is sure one way to bring conscious attention to an area where the higher centres are desperately trying to dial down as the fight continues.

It was no surprise that the tape was removed at the end of the next round. Keep this into consideration when opting for tape. Don’t mess with normal physiological movements if it can be helped and if you ‘must’, then at least use an appropriate tape.

Key Message For Sports Physios

The key message during this fight for me was how durable and robust the human body is. It will always find a way to work around obstacles short term and can find ways to work around these issues using adaptive strategies to help the person be successful. This is ok short term but long term what would be the impact on other tissues if this movement habit prolonged? Pain is not an accurate reflective indicator of actual tissue damage and finally, make sure you pack the right tape in your bag.

As always, thanks for reading.


P.S You can request access to The Successful Discharge Blueprint below, and I’ll get it straight to you, and you can start learning more about this way of looking at the body, which I’ve used in professional sport and private practice consistently over the last nine years…