Stanmore Bay physiotherapist David Cooper will take to the international sporting stage next month when he joins the New Zealand athletics team in Denmark as the the tour physiotherapist.
The team will compete at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Aarhus.
Last month, Athletics NZ announced a 21-member team to compete in Denmark, comprising six senior men, four senior women, five junior men and six junior women.
David has been involved in the treatment and prevention of sports injuries for most of his 10 years in physiotherapy. He started at club rugby level, then worked his way up to premier grade rugby and eventually found himself at HealthZone, an AUT Millennium based physiotherapy clinic.
Through High Performance Sport New Zealand, he became involved with Athletics NZ and subsequently travelled as the physiotherapist with some of their junior squads on short tours to Australia and Oceania Regional Championships.
David says he was thrilled when Athletics NZ approached him last month about the trip to Denmark.
“It’s exciting for me because it’s my first senior championships,” he says.
As the sole physio for the team of 21 athletes, David’s work will be varied.
“You’re treating any injuries that the athletes are carrying now, as well as doing remedial work to ensure they don’t pick up any injuries in the immediate build-up to the event, and the afterwards, you will deal with any injuries that sustain during the event.”
A few of the athletes are based overseas, and David is already corresponding with them and their coaches via email to ensure that any injuries are correctly managed in the lead up to the event.
As there is no doctor on tour, he will also liaise with the medical director for Athletics NZ, sports physician Dr Dan Exeter, for any medical related issues that may arise even down to the prescription of a headache tablet.
The Denmark meet will involve a 4x2km mixed relay, a 6km junior (U20) women’s race, an 8km junior (U20) men’s race and a 10km race for both senior men and senior women.
For the first time ever, recreational runners will run on the same course and on the same day that the event is held, over distances ranging from 2-12km, including a 4x2km relay. A part of the course will traverse the grass roof of the Moesgaard Museum.
Athletes from about 60 countries are scheduled to participate. Now in its 43rd year, the event was held annually up until 2011, when it switched to being held every second year.
At the 2017 event in Kampala, Uganda, Geoffrey Kamworor of Kenya became the first senior man in 11 years to successfully defend his cross-country crown from 2015 when he finished the 10km race in 28:24. The senior women’s defending champion is Irene Cheptai from Kenya, who won the 2017 race in Kampala in a time of 31:57.
David says that Matthew Baxter is likely to be New Zealand’s best medal hope in the men’s senior event, given his strong recent performances in the National Collegiate Athletic Association events for Arizona State University in the US.
David is the principal physiotherapist and owner of Stanmore Bay physiotherapy clinic Kinetics Rehab.