Feb 25TH

Rugby students tackle the cold

The Cryotherapy chamber at Moulton’s Pitsford site has been open to the public since 2012, and some of the college’s AASE Rugby Academy players were courageous enough to test it out.

Chris Moody, former principal of the college, set up the Sports Therapy and Injury Rehabilitation Centre to encourage recovery from sports injury. Regarded as a centre of excellence in musculoskeletal and neurological physiotherapy and rehabilitation, the facilities available on site offer outstanding sports therapy and rehabilitation opportunities, to get patients back on their feet.

Cryotherapy, sometimes known as cold therapy, works by exposing the human body to freezing temperatures in an effort to aid muscle repair. Participants must first enter a preliminary chamber for 30 seconds with temperatures as low as −60 degrees. Upon moving to the next chamber, participants endure temperatures around −140 degrees and remain in this section for two and a half minutes. Within the cryotherapy chamber, liquid nitrogen is used to cool the air through blasts of freezing steam, and as a consequence impacts visibility within the chamber. Despite a small initial air temperature increase as participants enter the chambers (from natural body warmth), the system adjusts and cools accordingly to maximise the benefits. 

Braving the cold at Moulton were ten first-year and second-year FE rugby students, none of whom had experienced anything comparable before. Whilst the students didn’t sport any specific injuries, the idea of the experiment was to give them a feel of what they could experience on a more regular basis if they progressed their rugby careers to a professional standard. 

The safety of participants is paramount, and all of the players were required to wear protective clothing; a headband for their ears, socks and crocs on their feet, two pairs of gloves and a mask. Once the students had undergone the necessary health checks (including a blood pressure check) five students cautiously huddled into the first chamber. 30 seconds went by with the sounds of chatter amongst the group – a good way to stay distracted, as advised by Charlotte Brown, Assistant Manager at the Centre. On entering the second chamber, there was a definite change in tone from the group – they could clearly feel the intensity of the temperature drop, and began singing at the top of their voices to help pass the time. After the countdown to the release from the chamber, the lads piled out surrounded in a mist of liquid nitrogen.

First year student Olly, 16 said: ‘That was such a surreal experience. I felt nervous at the start but ultimately did enjoy it. It was refreshing. The change in temperature between the chambers is very dramatic though!’

A number of the students commented that they were experiencing a ‘painful’ sensation in their calves. This is not uncommon for those suffering with inflammation or soreness following a difficult training session. The aims of this therapy are to target those problem areas.

One of only four centres to offer Cryotherapy in the UK, Moulton is proud to be able to provide this facility to its students, should they wish to use it. The chamber itself is situated conveniently at the heart of the college sports therapy centre, and is easily accessible.

Charlotte Brown, Assistant Manager at the Chris Moody Centre said: ‘The Cryotherapy facility is used regularly by the general public, however this is the first time that a group of Moulton College sports students have got to experience it first hand. It’s on their doorstep, so it’s great for them to use it, see what it’s like, and potentially come back if they want to. Current Northampton Saints players Tom Collins and Ex Saints player Harry Morley, both previous students of the college, have both attended the chamber whilst with the club. This facility for the current rugby students will hopefully inspire the lads at Moulton to follow in their idols’ footsteps’.

Keep an eye out on our social media pages to see some pics of the lads chilling out in the cold…

To find out more about the sports offering at Moulton College, click here.