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Trusting the experience of the experienced athlete
  1. Jermain Defoe
  1. Correspondence to Jermain Defoe, AFC Bournemouth, Dorset, Bournemouth BH7 7AF, UK; medical{at}afcb.co.uk

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Importance of looking after yourself

When I was young I never used to go out, I never drunk, and I always had a good sleep. My Mum was strict with me and I always used to eat the right things leading up to games and stuff like that. As the years go on, you take these things to another level, and you understand your body a lot more. For me this isn’t something that has started now, but some players get to a certain point of their career and think ‘I have to start looking after myself’ and maybe that’s too late?

That is something they should be doing as soon as possible in their career. I mean now I literally do everything I can to help myself—Yoga, Pilates, I eat well, and I know how important sleep is too. You have to have a little bit of luck with injuries too, a lot of players I played with, from my generation, are not playing anymore. It’s not easy to keep playing at the top level and it is a challenge to keep competing in your 30s in elite football.

Culture change and post-match recovery

The culture in sport is completely different to when I started. When I first started playing, after training everyone used to sit in a big hot bath and that was it. Now there are ice baths, hot and cold contrast which is important, …

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