Podcast 24: Rick Cost, U.S. Soccer ´s Director of High Performance
In the next episode of “Thermography: Science, Health and Sport” (in English) we introduce Rick Cost, U.S. Soccer’s Director of High Performance and expert of soccer performance, from EEUU (although he is a native of the Netherlands).
Rick Cost, an expert in soccer performance that worked in Europe and now he is U.S Soccer´s Director of High Performance. The US team has used ThermoHuman during the World Cup in Qatar, above all, orienting the thermography results for recovery with hot and cold strategies in recovery.
Rick Cost sees in thermography a tool with many advantages due to its ease of use and for not disturbing athletes in their daily practice. He sees the implementation of this technology as a reliable method to optimize recovery in soccer schedule.
For him is all about infrared thermal patterns to control the recovery process in soccer.
You can listen to the next episode by clicking the link of the bio.
Rick Cost (Soccer director): “So what we did is we started the concept of the recovery laboratory and the word pretty much says it.
So we had the laboratory set up not only by delivering, I think, as far as we can say, best practice on recovery, but also doing research at the same time where we could figure out for the future if this is something we want to move forward with or is this just a ton of money spent on modalities and it’s super fancy and it looks super nice, but it doesn’t really do anything for you. So we had a couple of checks and one of the checks was every morning using a thermogram to figure out or to understand what the body or what the skin temperature was of every individual player. So by doing that from day one on arrival on the 6th of November all the way up to the final date as we were there, we started to understand the patterns.”
Rick Cost , US Soccer ´s Director of High Performance
So after we had, I think, a couple of very intense meetings, and I think Ismael, you pretty much are 50 percent of everything that we did there, which is definitely like one of the main assets why it was successful.
I started to understand and figure out, hey, an area turns warmer and what does it mean for this particular player? Hey, as we see a pattern, now it’s three days in a row, it’s getting warmer, warmer, warmer, and maybe we need to do a checkup with a medical team. And even I think after four or five days, we were so good or we understood it so good that we started to give advice based on, hey, we’re on the match day plus one.
Oh, this guy has like, you know, his hamstring area, for instance, is warmer. Are we going to put him into a warm modality or are we going to be in the cooling modality? And we choose to do the opposite. So we choose when the temperature was going up. We said, hey, it makes sense to do a cryo chamber and hey, it’s unilateral. So it’s only on one side. It might be a little bit of information. So now we have to not only cool the body down, but also bring him into a modality that might have the effect of preventing information. So we would go into the combination of cryo-chamber and hyperbaric chamber.
Rick Cost (Soccer Director): “This was a big, big, big step forward. And for us to better understand what modalities actually delivered what we wanted to do and what modalities did not deliver what we wanted to do. And one extra thing that might be important, and I didn’t do it like I know that and that was the I think you as well, like attended said to me on day three is like, and I was I think on day one and two, I structured the pictures completely wrong. And he said, like, why are you taking so many pictures? So what’s happening here? You know, and I said, like, oh, we take a morning picture, then a before modality picture after modality picture. And if you do two, we had like five or six pictures of one person a day. And then I was like, all right, maybe we need to be a little bit selective here, because at some point I just like I really get you know, it took me away into like, oh, we need to do this.
So, so we made a decision at some point to just do the morning checks and I think that that that was good enough. Obviously, there is a ton, we reviewed afterwards and say this is what we could do better but yeah I think this was an absolute success and I think taking the pictures for me was, although I have to say all the other modalities they’re all state of the art, it was all super super nice and I’m, I really want to know if everyone if every Federation had such a setup but it really felt like we were leading game so that was, that was a good feeling and if I’m correct, I really don’t know, but I just like to have this feeling.”
Ismael Fernandez (CEO ThermoHuman): “Do you remember any case where a thermography was especially interesting to help in detecting something or helping some player really getting better in the recovery process?”
Rick Cost: “Yeah, yeah, definitely I think mostly based on on the daily screens. So, on the daily screen the player would always say I feel, you know, I woke up fresh or didn’t wake up, wake up fresh, etc. We saw a lot of players who wanted to do and I actually didn’t expect it to like late night cryos. Although in the beginning we use that as a contraindication, but because thermography gave her home you know we did a training session, and we would for instance exceed high intensity distance and soccer actions that that session, and you would see that one particular football would flare up. And then we said like, let’s just try it and I took a little bit of a risk there by bringing them into a cryo chamber late, like a late night, and they in the morning said like that they at least had the feeling that the cryo made it easier for them to fall asleep but they woke up fresher or more fresh. So if it is due to they had a better meal or they had like you know or the thermography actually was actually like the right, they give the right advice to say, oh we need to go into the cooling mechanism.”
Rick Cost: “I would say but even if it was a 1% benefit. I so understanding that the difference there we were actually able to like D load him for a little bit more, putting into like more on the medical side more like the, the medical team had a different approach to the game. And he never missed a session or never missed the game so I really don’t know these things are always difficult to, you know project like whether it, whether he wasn’t able to play, if this would be an injury, I have no clue.
Top sport is about risk management, and it’s about me taking, you know, like saying like, are we going to do this to take this risk and if you have the capacity to do something extra, at least you take into consideration that it might be useful for this particular person so if that was a success story. I think it was, but I also don’t know if it would have been an injury at some point.”