England men’s team physiotherapist tells UCFB students about the pressures of on-field injuries
It’s July in France and the England national team find themselves in the quarter-finals of Euro 2016, looking to reach the last four of a major competition for the first time in 20 years.
Star striker Harry Kane has gone down injured following a heavy challenge. The nation holds its breath as Kane, who’s bagged five of the eight goals England have scored during the tournament, rolls around the centre circle in agony.
On rushes Gary Lewin, the teams physiotherapist. The hopes of a nation now rest on him and his team. But what exactly goes through a physio’s mind when they’re pitch side watching the game?
UCFB Wembley students were given the chance to ask just that when Gary took part in the latest edition of the Executive Guest Speaker series sessions at UCFB, with inspirational campuses located within Wembley Stadium, London, and the Etihad Stadium, in Manchester.
Gary, who’s worked at The FA for 20 years and previously at Arsenal, talked students through the rigours of his role of patching up England’s stars, and gave stories of his illustrious career which has seen him take part in five World Cups and three European Championships.
But what if Kane, or any other player, goes down this summer in pain? How does Gary and his team react?
Gary said: “We watch the game in a different way. We watch from an injury point of view and watch the players to see if they’re running properly, if they pull up, and looking for any signs of injury or problem. Once an injury occurs you’re thinking in your head what was the mechanism of injury, and that’s before you’ve even got on the pitch.”
Once on the pitch, Gary explains the thought process of assessing a player’s ability to play on. His responsibility of telling England manager Roy Hodgson if a player can continue or not is huge, and could potentially have an effect on the result of the game and ultimately England’s progress in a tournament.
Gary added: “Once you’ve got on the pitch you’re asking the player where is the pain, what is the pain, how did it happen. The first thing you think of is can they continue, or should they continue. The game has changed slightly now where they have to come off the field of play so that buys you some more time to do an assessment. What you’re really weighing up is can they or should they continue, but in the back of your mind you’re thinking about the context of the game. Where are the team, what’s the score, have we got any substitutions left, what are the manager’s thoughts?”
As the nation gets ready to support England at Euro 2016, UCFB would like to wish Gary and everyone involved with the team the best of luck in France this summer.