Podcast 25: André Cunha, Performance Manager of Gabriel Jesus and Ceo of VOLT Sport Science
In the next episode of “Thermography: Science, Health and Sport” (in English) we introduce André Cunha, Performance Manager of Gabriel Jesus and CEO of VOLT, from Brazil (although he is living in UK).
André Cunha, a physiologist from Brazil that works for Gabriel Jesus to manage their variables to optimize the performance. Andre Cunha uses ThermoHuman during his daily basis to control and monitor Gabriel Jesus, in order to take better decisions.
André Cunha, above all, orienting the thermography results for recovery with hot and cold strategies in recovery process.
André Cunha sees in thermography a tool with many advantages due to its ease of use and for not disturbing athletes in their daily practice. He shares the information with the main club where Gabriel Jesus is playing to support with others tools.
For him is all about infrared thermal patterns to control the recovery process.
You can listen to the next episode by clicking the link of the bio.
Ismael Fernández (Host): “Hello everyone, welcome to another episode of our podcast about thermography and I’m very excited today because we have a professional which is going to provide very interesting information about another perspective on the use of thermography, in that case in high
performance football. So welcome Andre Cunha, how are you doing?”
André Cunha: “I’m very well, thank you Ismael.”
Ismael: “Great, great, really excited about this conversation. We are speaking in English but actually Andre is coming from Brazil. Let me introduce Andre, he’s a sports scientist in Brazil, we call him physiologist, okay, so very related to sports and currently he’s the performance manager of Gabriel Jesus, one of the top Brazilian football players currently in UK playing for Arsenal and he’s also the CEO of a company called Volt Sports Science. So what we really think that Andre can provide us is a very specific insight on the use of thermography when working with a specific player, athlete, and combining with other technologies. So the first question is always to know how do you first know about thermography?
André Cunha: “First of all I want to thank you to invite me to be here, it’s a pleasure for me, always share my experience, share the knowledge I absorbed from others and apply it in my context and this creates new knowledge and for me it’s always a pleasure to share and try to help another professional to improve what they are doing day by day and helping them to push forward and to understand better how to
solve the problems they face and the context.”
Ismael: “Our pleasure, our pleasure Andre. So again how did you first know thermography?”
André Cunha: “Yeah my first actually I always be very curious and the first thing when I arrived to UK and started to work with Gabriel my first question to myself was how can I help Gabriel to improve performance and reduce injury risk but how can I help and how can I support the club because for me this is the most important thing. I always see my job as a supporter and not only for the player but for the club too and when I start to dig more deep about Manchester City at the time now Arsenal and we work with different players right now in different contexts and different clubs at that moment I try to understand what kind of tools the club Gabriel was working play in that time had and what kind of tools I wanted had in my context to understand like load management recovery cost of the match and I realized thermography was one of these tools was will be very useful for us to share knowledge to help with information the club too not only me and to make better decisions in the day by day.”
Ismael: “That’s great so as a Brazilian we know that thermography is a technology that is very popular
there but as you potentially know is not that spread in other countries or in other regions like Europe. My question is how are you using thermography on your daily routine with Gabriel and how are you taking advantage of the information?
André Cunha: “Yeah normally normally we use matchday plus two and just using matchday plus two we can understand like costs costs of the match we can understand pattern of recovery from the match I can understand how the from the strength and conditioning program is keeping Gabriel conditioned during the season the specific program for Gabriel to reduce the symmetries I can understand too so doing
just one capture like a week sometimes two depends on how much he’s playing I can receive a lot of answers and this is great because after I do I run the thermography and get all the insights the thermography give to me the first thing I do is share with the team staff and discuss the next steps of the micro cycle and discuss after we look for other monitoring measures too from strength from ANS from subjective markers and this help us a lot to have good decisions.”
Ismael: “So you were mentioning that you are using thermography mostly on matchday plus two with with Gabriel and which other technologies are you combining the information with?”
André Cunha: “Yeah and this is a very nice topic because you can measure everything right now and for me the most important thing is measure what is important measure what is give you a real action on the day by day real interventions and I think this is one of the good things I really like from thermography because we I always I always have had an action after the monitoring sometimes the action is do nothing like get let let him adapt to the load if I have time because I always have this conversation sometimes people invest too much time during recovery and you don’t need recovery you need the you need lead lead the apple adapt and this is an action too don’t don’t do recovery but and thermography give this answer to for us with another tools but we measure heart rate variability and heart rate resting heart rate
for autonomic nervous system we measure neuromuscular and we do two measures one for counter movement jump and another one for hamstring isometric okay yeah we measure we had subjective markers okay fatigue perception pain muscle soreness this kind of thing we measure day by day total sleep and quality wow and I use biomarkers okay only match only match day plus two biomarkers autonomic nervous system subjective sleep this is more day by day and match day plus two but match day plus two always the same markers the same data plus thermography and biomarkers.”
Ismael: “Nice and now I would like to know if if you remember any concrete case or injury where Gabriel or other players you have been working with where do you think that thermography can have help you or have helped the player or the team understanding a risk or getting ready before or just improving their rehabilitation process?
André Cunha: “Yeah for sure I have I can I can give you two scenarios one for injury reduction
risk because for me the asymmetries it’s amazing and how the software is understanding the
athlete understanding the pattern and give you some insights too and you can cross all this
information with different metrics like high speed running sprint and isometric force for hamstring
and the the results of thermography and like injury history like like Gabriel he had a
history of injury in his foot and okay what this injury means in the rest of the chain
and the ankle in the knee and the hip hamstrings and okay this is this is this kind of asymmetry
we are seeing in thermography it’s expected it’s not expected what we’re gonna do and this one of
the scenario for injury reduction and this was nice I think I don’t remember exactly you can
correct me I think it’s almost four years we are working maybe three years we are working together
yeah correct and from the other scenario a lot of people know Gabriel had a serious long-term
injury in his knee and during the last stage of return to play we I used a lot of thermography to
understand how the temperature of the knee was reducing reducing reducing when he’s adapting
adapting to the load and was amazing and even after even after he returned
he started to play again we still see some asymmetry especially in the media side and
this is expected we know expected but together this bring us okay we need to continue to take
care of this it’s not over because sometimes I see this okay return it’s different return to play
and return to performance this is different stages but sometimes when they play return
and especially it’s a key player okay now we he needs to play and he returned and we need to take
a lot of players and was very good to me because one of the things I use
not only thermography all the data I manage it’s for education of the athletes for me this is the
baseline for me this is one of the most important things and when I saw the asymmetry of Gabriel
need the first thing for me was bringing him to talk with me and
worry about it this is what’s my lesson because sometimes the player gets carried and but was not
a scary thing we don’t need to worry about this but we need to keep in mind we need to keep exactly
we need to take care I want you to do like game ready at the end of the day we need to do mobility
we need to do this we need to do that and it’s really nice.”
Ismael: “And André we have been more speaking about the good things about thermography but I like always to take a look at about the let’s say the negative the limitations of thermography in your opinion which part should be improved in the use of thermography?
André Cunha: “yeah I think the limitation sometimes especially for me okay for me sometimes
you sometimes the time you need the player inside the room to you acclimatize to acclimatize everybody knows you have the perfect scenario sometimes is not always that you want to have all the reliability and all these things is standard procedures and this is very very important and but sometimes this is not easy and we know how football works especially time available to do things and this is one point sometimes for me especially for me in my context in the summer in UK and we discussed this sometimes it’s difficult to find the good temperature the room. I think is this that just for my context the challenges is this and I have another another extra question because it’s very interesting for me and to know how do you
inform the team and how the club is understanding or using the information you provide
from other technologies and also from from thermography in the case of Gabriel
yeah when we start a new operation with a new player Gabriel was the first one but now we
already have almost 10 players we are working together and the first thing is show to the club
what we do our vision as a company what kind of values we have as a professional.”