Returning to sport safely

Kiwis are back doing what they love and returning to sports. But are we just going to see more players injured on the sidelines than remaining on the field?  Social distancing rules have been in place since 25 March which has limited a lot of athletes ability to train and stay fit until they were lifted recently in alert level 2.

Alert level 1 allows all eager athletes to return to their sporting pursuits, including contact team sports. Sporting gatherings no longer have restrictions in place and many sporting tournaments have resumed.

Athletes have not been training like they normally would to prepare for the busy season ahead. A competitive tournament is very different from team training, and there are concerns over potential injuries. The Alert level 3 and level 4 lockdown rules meant that many players hadn’t trained properly in over eight weeks. Orthopaedic surgeon Mr Nick Gormack warns of the consequences.

To mitigate the risk of injuries coaches and physiotherapists should encourage their athletes to take care of themselves after such a long time off. Nick Gormack, an Orthopaedic Surgeon at Ormiston Hospital regularly treats sporting injuries and warns of the potential risks. “There are a lot of preventable injuries that are treated by Physiotherapists and Orthopaedic Surgeons. Athletes should prepare with pre-season training before returning to sport, and warm up properly before each game.”

“We know athletes will be keen to return to competitive sport, but we don’t want to see a spike in injuries that could otherwise be avoided,” said Mr Gormack, who explains he already sees a spike in sprains, tears and fractures at the start of each season.

A good coach or physiotherapist may be able to help athletes to avoid injuries when returning to sport. But it is not just athletes who need to look after themselves, it is everyone. Here are some further guidelines for avoiding injuries this season, whether it is a gym workout or competition.

Returning to sport

Warm-up and cool down 

Aim to warm up and cool down every time you do something physical. An adequate warm-up will help your body prepare for exercise and enhance cardiovascular activity which in turn loosens muscles and joints. Specific warmup regimes have been developed by international sports agencies, and have been proven to reduce the risk of injury.

A cool down should involve slowly bringing your heart rate back down to normal, this can be as simple as walking and stretching at the end of a game.


Including dynamic stretching before and after activity helps to increase flexibility and minimise injury. Ask your team physiotherapist for ideas on stretching and ensure you target all of the high- risk muscle groups.

Ease back into sports 

With such a long rest period, it is sensible to slowly build back up into sporting pursuits rather than expecting to perform at where you were pre-lockdown. Returning to sport might take a bit longer than you anticipated.

Mix it up 

Get in some strength training as well as some cardiovascular training. This helps to keep muscles strong and ensure you do not overuse any one set of muscles.

Younger athletes

Recent research has shown that significant sporting injuries are becoming more common in youth and teenage athletes. These injuries, such as ACL tears, can have a devastating effect on the career of a young athlete. Expert coaching on the proper way to jump and land in high risk sport can reduce the potential for significant injuries.

Older athletes

If you are someone who enjoys casual or competitive sport or perhaps a simple walk around the block with the dog, it is still important to consider your level of fitness and exercise appropriately. As we enter level 1 it is a good time to ease back into the things you enjoy doing rather than over doing it.

If you have any Orthopaedic concerns please see your GP or contact Mr Nick Gormack on (09) 523 2766 or email

Hip Hip Hooray! Orthopaedic Surgeon Mr Michael Flint joins Ormiston.

Ormiston’s comprehensive Orthopaedic service has stepped up another notch with the addition of experienced Orthopaedic Surgeon Mr Michael Flint.

Mr Flint has been working as an Orthopaedic surgeon for 17 years following fellowship to the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in 2002. Mr Flint has been a Mr Michael Flint Orthopaedic Surgeonconsultant at Middlemore Hospital since 2005 and until recently was the Head of the Middlemore Sarcoma Unit and on the Ministry of Health Tumour Stream Steering Group. His consultation practice has now extended to the East of Auckland through Ormiston Specialist Centre.

As an orthopaedic expert Mr Flint specialises in primary and revision hip and knee joint replacement, sports injuries of the knee and shoulder and musculoskeletal tumour surgery.

Mr Flint is an experienced and skilled surgeon and one of the few proponents in New Zealand of Direct Anterior Hip Replacement Surgery, a minimally invasive muscle sparing technique leading to faster rehabilitation, with less pain and a lower risk of dislocation than standard hip replacement techniques.

He also has vast experience in computer-navigated knee joint replacement, a procedure that enables more accurate alignment of total knee implants.

For patients who have issues with their joint replacements Mr Flint also is skilled in the assessment of and revision surgery for problematic hip and knee joint implants.

He has also stayed current with the latest arthroscopic techniques for dealing with sports knee injuries, rotator cuff and sports shoulder injuries.

He is able to offer services in the following:

  • Direct Anterior Hip Joint Replacement
  • Computer Assisted Knee Joint Replacement
  • Revision Joint Replacement
  • Musculoskeletal Tumour Surgery
  • Sports Knee Injuries
  • Rotator Cuff and Sports Shoulder Surgery

For specialist care closer to home, book in with Mr Michael Flint at Ormiston Specialist Centre or ask your GP for a referral.

Don’t forget we are having an Open Day Saturday 28 March 2020, from 10am – 3pm. This is your chance to explore our Hospital, Theatre and Wards. As well as an opportunity to meet with our wonderful staff. There will be surgeons on site and you can join a tour of the Ormiston Specialist Centre.

View a Theatre up close – our 3D operating Theatre will be open for viewing. This is one of the Theatres used for Orthopaedic surgery and where Mr Michael Flint performs a lot of his operations. It is a modern and well utilised Theatre that demonstrates how far medical technology has come.

We look forward to seeing you.

Ormiston steps up Orthopaedic team

Ormiston is advancing patient care through an expanding orthopaedic team practicing from Ormiston Specialist Centre.

Orthopaedic conditions are wide and varied and we appreciate the importance of having innovative specialist surgeons. This month we have welcomed on-board surgeon Mr Nicholas (Nick) Gormack, who is consulting out of Ormiston Specialist Centre and operating at Ormiston Hospital from February. Based in Auckland, Nick also works at Manukau Super-clinic and Middlemore Hospital.

Nick is a highly experienced and qualified orthopaedic surgeon who graduated from the University of Auckland Medical School in 2005. Following his registrar training he completed three international fellowships, in Australia and the United Kingdom.

These placements allowed Nick to pursue his specialisation in elective hip and knee reconstructive surgery and orthopaedic trauma.
Nick is a fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (FRACS) and has continued to develop his knowledge and expertise through orthopaedic research. Nick is also heavily involved in registrar and junior doctor training and education.

Nick’s specialty interests include sports and arthroscopic reconstructive surgery of the knee, hip and shoulder. He also specialises in lower limb arthroplasty and revision arthroplasty surgery, adolescent and young adult hip preservation surgery, orthopaedic trauma surgery and orthopaedic tumour reconstruction.

Ormiston orthopaedic surgeons see a range of musculoskeletal conditions, which include trauma, degenerative diseases, infections, tumours, congenital disorders and sports injuries. With Nick’s experience and expertise, we continue to offer the best treatment for our patients.

Ask for a referral to Nick today or book a consultation with the Ormiston Specialist Centre by calling (09) 271 3305.