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Case Study – Hull FC

The Challenge

in season 2014/15, Leicester City, having achieved promotion in the previous season, were languishing at the bottom of the Premiership. For a record 104 days, the club was rooted at the base and approaching the last games in the season, the club needed a boost in their match preparation and post-match recovery.

A mobile cryotherapy unit was brought into the club by the medical staff and almost immediately, the club embarked on a remarkable run, winning seven out of nine matches. This turnaround was enough to raise the club from 20th and last, up to 14th place and safety. At the end of the season, Leicester then decided to purchase a dedicated cryochamber and integrate cryotherapy into the clubs recovery protocols for the forthcoming season.

The Solution

Leicester City appointed CryoAction to provide them with a transportable cryotherapy chamber which has been seamlessly integrated into the training centre with an access door from the club’s gymnasium. The medical & fitness teams introduced cryotherapy into the sports recovery protocols across the club with every player has voluntarily used the cryochamber post-training and after matches.

The absence of key players due to injury or fatigue could have had serious implications on Leicester and the team adopted whole body cryotherapy in order to counteract the effects of a long and intensive season and to speed up rehabilitation from soft tissue damage and niggling injuries. Other benefits have been realised also with the reduced injuries enabling the team to play together more often and allowed the coaching staff to have more time to work with the players on fitness and tactics.

” The CryoAction cryotherapy unit  has become an integral part of the recovery and preparation culture at the club”.

Dave Rennie

Head Physiotherapist, Leicester City FC

Easter weekend is heavily congested with the club playing two games in three days and a great emphasis on effective recovery. The club brought in a mobile cryotherapy chamber from CryoAction.

Using the cryotherapy chamber Hull FC analysed the recovery process of the nervous system using a non-invasive, internal measure of heart-rate variability. The daily heart-rate variability score is compared to previous baseline data to identify status of stress on the nervous system of the athlete. Players were treated by the cryochamber immediately post Game 1 and again on Matchday +1 with Matchday +1 being the traditional day for recovery within the club’s sport science model.

The data in the graphic on the right indicates the percentage of player in  a state of recovery and the athlete is functioning using the para- sympathetic nervous system where the time between heart beats is increased and returning to baseline. Players not falling into the criteria can highlight that the athletes nervous system is still under stress and they’re functioning using the sympathetic nervous system where the time between heart beats is reduced which can be consistent with a reduced state of recovery.

The graph indicates that the season average of only 55% of players are in a state of recovery post Matchday +1. However after one session of cryotherapy, 75% of players were well recovered and after a second session on Matchday -1 and Matchday, 90% of players were in a state of recovery on Matchday +1.

This analysis highlights that competing in two games during short turnarounds and introducing a cryotherapy chamber, can reduce the impact on the players’ nervous system stress and accelerate the recovery and wellbeing of athletes, enabling them to be in optimal condition for matchdays and subsequent training days in such a short space of time.

  • Matchday – 1 72%
  • Matchday + 1 85%
  • Matchday -1 95%
  • Matchday +1 90%
  • Season Average 55%

” The cryotherapy chamber is absolutely freezing but it helps you in your recovery so fair play to the club for getting it. I was very close to not playing but the physios have been brilliant”.

Jaime Vardy

Striker & recordholder for scoring goals in 11 consecutive games

Leicester City’s head physiotherapist, Dave Rennie outlines the reasons behind the club acquiring a CryoAction cryotherapy chamber, its impact on the sports recovery practices of the club and the players.

Premier League Champions

Champions in from the cold

From 5000/1 odds against to standout winners of the Premier League title.

Excellent injury record

8 players in the first team squad played over 30 games all season.

High Tempo game

More counter attacking goals and shots and goals than any other Premier League team.

Injuries all season

Players used all season

Minutes played by 16th most used player

Amazing Result