Focus on: Ibrahim Kerem

Introducing Ibrahim Kerem  - Head Physiotherapist at Manchester United Football Club (Women's)




Can you tell us a little about yourself, and your role at MUFC Women’s team?

I am the Head of Physiotherapy for the Manchester United FC Women’s arm of the Club. I’m an Australian trained Sports Physiotherapist, and I have spent the last few years living and working in professional Football in the UK. My background is in Sport Science, Strength and Conditioning and I am currently mid-way through my UEFA B Coaching license. I really enjoy all aspects of the work we do here at Manchester United and I feel like my training hopefully helps widen my lens when looking at finding solutions to the problems we face day to day. 

My role involves guiding the direction of our Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation provision and implementing processes and systems of working. Our aim is always to optimise performance for players who return from injury and reduce the risk of secondary injuries or issues. I am also involved in coordinating our injury prevention programme and screening process. My role involves using an athlete-centred performance lens to structure a gym and pitch-based rehab philosophy that is Football focused, collaborating with the other high-quality professionals that make up our interdisciplinary team.

What role has the KT360 had in your day to day practice this season?

The KT360 has been used in many of our rehabilitation processes, particularly in the acute to mid stages of soft tissue rehabilitation where we have a heavy isometric muscle activation focus. It also plays a key role during our weekly screening where we assess strength levels within particular muscle groups, to assess for freshness, fatigue, pain or changes in strength and the overall health status of our athletes.

The objective information provided by the KT360 enables high performance discussions to be had within our team, guides training modifications, treatment interventions and most importantly assesses the quality of our strength, power and rehab programs by measuring changes in strength outputs our players generate during testing throughout the season. 

What were the main reasons for your integration of KT360 into the team's program?

To be honest, the club had provided our team with a KT360 before my arrival 2 seasons ago. The Men’s first team had had success using the device, and it was also being used by the Men’s Academy, as it added objectivity to their rehab and screening processes. I had used different pieces of testing and training technology at previous clubs, but after trialling KT360, I definitely realised the benefits in its use and application. 

The ability to track strength scores for a range of muscles and joints is crucial in the elite performance environment, and by demonstrating objective improvements and providing athletes with real-time feedback regarding their strength data, it helps create real buy-in to our program. Our philosophy is that in order to manage an area, we need to measure it, and the KT360 enables us to employ this philosophy with healthy and injured players alike.  

Which protocols on the KT360 have you and your team been using the most this season?

We used the Adductor - Abductor Long Lever Isometric test in pre-season to get a gauge around ratios, absolute and relative strength scores. This information enabled us to develop individualised rehab programmes aimed at preventing injuries and improving performance, which assists us in our ultimate goal which is to improve player availability, performance, win games and trophies. We have used the Adductor Long Lever Isometric test during our weekly screening process, which has been great to flag potential issues, symptoms or reductions in strength, and allows us to intervene with hands on treatment to reduce symptoms or modify a player’s training session or week when indicated. 

How have you been utilising the KT360 within rehabilitation this season?

It has played an important role during early to mid-stage rehab assessments for injured muscle groups, particularly with a quadricep and hamstring injury we sustained last season (one with our first team and one with an under 21’s player). We have used the Seated Knee Extension Quadriceps Isometric test for our rectus femoris rehab in different ranges of motion, and the Prone Knee Flexion Hamstring Isometric test similarly in our early to mid-stage hamstring rehab programs. We also use the system to condition unaffected muscle groups such as glute medius and soleus training during our rehab process, which enables our team to objectively measure absolute and relative strength changes from our pre-season baseline information. We aim to improve supporting muscle groups and areas whilst rehabbing injured tissue, particularly for injuries that have a prognosis of greater than a few weeks. Having an option to train and objectively measure strength outputs comparing to team and positional averages, in relation to player body weight, is definitely an added rehabilitation bonus in my experience.