TSF: Halt This Medical Madness

The need to be a step ahead can lead to some clubs spending ridiculous amounts on medical equipment they don't need. The Secret Footballer explains the importance of a good physio...

Last Updated: 21/12/12 at 10:03 Post Comment

Latest Articles

F365's Season Predictions - Revisited

1 comments

Roll up to call us idiots as we reveal just how badly we called this season. Actually, we're being defeatist. For there was some accuracy to complement the scattergun...

Football People On TV: Garth Crooks

26 comments

Famous, not to say legendarily well-known, notorious and generally celebrated for posing interview questions that take the form of long sentences with...

All Articles

It's difficult to keep a secret in football. I should know. Somehow, at some point, somebody always finds out.

Occasionally, it will be easy because Harvard will produce a report - that then finds its way into the papers - stating that the Manchester United players are undergoing a treatment to improve their Vitamin D levels, thus aiding recovery. In fairness, the company behind the product had probably already approached every top European club months ago.

And that got me thinking. If a blue-chip company comes by a piece of groundbreaking software, technology or wonder drug, then you can bet that it will spend a lot of money to ensure that it has exclusivity for as long as possible. After all, that is the true nature of capitalism.

But, in football, it doesn't work that way, despite the fierce competition that exists between rival clubs. The reason it doesn't work that way is because hardly any of them have any form of in-house research and development.

For example, the medical department does not put any resources into coming up with its own technology to improve player recovery or performance. It has to buy in that information from companies selling GPS vests to track heart rates and overall performance. They don't develop their own unique sports drink that nobody else has, they buy it in.

And there is nothing wrong with any of this because the products that end up being chosen are all top of the range. If there is a slight issue, it is probably that all of these products are available to every club and so the only real advantage in having them lies in how long you have it exclusively before every club has it.

I remember an Italian company flying in to see our physio with a supposedly incredible new machine that halved the recovery time of ligament injuries. Unfortunately, the week they chose to fly in was the same week that I ruptured my ankle ligaments after landing awkwardly during a match.

They walked in looking extremely expensive. Of course they did - they were Italian. And the first thing that I noticed was that they were a little uncomfortable when our physio told them that I had a bad ligament injury. The sales pitch opened with one of the Italians telling us that Chelsea had recently purchased five of these machines - about the size of a shoebox - for £15,000. Each.

But the real clincher came when they were asked to test the device. They placed four of the machine's sucking cups around my injury and flicked a button on the side. The cups began to tighten in tandem, with a low frequency noise and some red LED lights, then they tightened and the pitch of the noise went up and the lights turned orange.

It continued until it was at ear-piercing levels and the lights turned green. "Why does it make a noise?" our physio asked. "What's the point of that? And the lights. Why do you need them?" It didn't take long to work out that this was a simple massage machine that had been rebadged and reboxed.

And therein lies the difference between a half-decent physio and a physio that has all the money in the world. There is a desperate clamour in our game not to be left behind and I'm afraid a lot of what can only be described as "crap" slips through the net.

But, sometimes, somebody has to halt the madness and point out that the Emperor, indeed, has no clothes on.


Read the rest of TSF's thoughts only on www.thesecretfootballer.com.

You can follow The Secret Footballer on Twitter here, or buy his book here, which we reviewed here

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

N

ow is the time for Allardyce to finally get a chance at a big club please. He is likely to have a number of great offers for his services this summer, but who will he choose? Will it be Liverpool, Real Madrid, Dortmund or Man City?

medina_sod
Allardyce leaves West Ham

I

thought exactly this when the Match of the Day pundits were peddling this line. Is it really not okay for fans of a club to have some ambition these days then?

damoceltic
Bored Of Big Sam? It's Your Right...

H

ow magnanimous off him - to leave if he's asked to by the owners? What's the alternative, bunker down in his office claiming squatter's rights if FSG want rid?

feed the bear
Rodgers: I'll go if owners want

Latest Photos

Footer 365

Rafael Benitez '99 per cent' certain to be next Real Madrid boss

Rafael Benitez is '99 per cent' certain to be Real Madrid boss, says Carlo Ancelotti's representative Ernesto Bronzetti.

Middlesbrough 0-2 Norwich: Cameron Jerome and Nathan Redmond strike as Canaries seal immediate return to Premier League

Norwich City gained promotion to the Premier League with a 2-0 victory over Middlesbrough in the Championship play-off final at Wembley.

Yaya Toure will stay at Manchester City, insists agent Dimitri Seluk

Yaya Toure will stay at Manchester City, according to his agent.

Mail Box

Reviewing Every PL Side's Season...

Time to half-heartedly agree or furiously reject some ratings. The mails also discuss the most complete striker ever in football, as well as Rodgers, Falcao and Bill O'Herilhy.

Can We Combine Danny And Theo?

The finishing of Theo Walcott and the hold-up play of Danny Welbeck would be just perfect. Plus, lots of Brendan Rodgers, some Big Sam and all hail Degsy...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company