We’re proud to announce that on October 28th 2020, here at The Lewin Sports Injury Clinic, we celebrate our one year anniversary! And what an extraordinary year it has been.
Before we even opened much hard work went into planning and setting the vision for the facility. We will be eternally grateful for the support we received from our ex-colleagues and mentors at Arsenal Football Club Arsène Wenger, David Dein and Richard Law, without whom we are not sure we would have got the project off the ground. We were extremely lucky to get our first two amazing investors Aaron Ramsey and Petr Čech and subsequently, we were able to add Mesut Özil as our third investor in January 2020 and so could not ask for any more to move the clinic forward.
We’d only been open for 5 months before Covid hit, and we unfortunately had to close our doors (along with the rest of the country). However, since opening again back in July, we’ve found ourselves extremely busy, with all sorts of interesting people, and a real mixed bag of injuries coming through our doors, – both sports related and every-day life related.
In this blog, we’re looking back at the year we’ve had so far and also looking forward, with excitement, at what we’ve got planned here at The Lewin Clinic.
Our Treatment Rooms
Back in October 2019, we wanted to create a unique environment, whilst also giving a little nod to all the legends of the game that we’ve worked with over the years at Arsenal Football Club. So, as a finishing touch, rather than boring door numbers, we installed some recognisable squad shirts above the doors of our four treatment rooms. David Seaman, Hector Bellerin, Ashley Cole and Patrick Vieira now proudly direct you to rooms 1, 2, 3 and 4, depending on who you’re seeing and for what.
Our resident massage therapist, Emma Davis-Harrod, joined us in February, bringing her passion and expertise to the clinic and adding to the services that we offer, as a holistic sports rehabilitation facility. Emma will be sharing a blog for us detailing her journey in the world of sports, which you can read here in the coming weeks. For anyone in need of a deep tissue massage – Emma is the person to see! As part of our plans to continuously grow, improve and add value for patients, we’re currently recruiting for another physio to join us, so that will be one of our key priorities for 2021.
A clinic for Covid times
Given the requisite protocols that we’ve had to implement over the past few months, anyone entering our clinic can be assured that we take hygiene and Covid safety very seriously. Anyone entering the clinic has their temperature checked at the door, with a questionnaire to fill in, social distance measures are in place throughout the clinic, there are several sanitizing stations and it goes without saying our gym equipment is extremely clean. Gloves, masks, aprons and other PPE are worn for sessions and we have re-arranged the seating area to provide more waiting space for patients. To expand on the gym protocol a little we have a pretty simple, but effective system in place where equipment is left on the floor once used; if it’s on the floor – don’t use it. One of our staff will give the equipment a good clean and place back on the shelves when it’s ready to be used again.
An elite environment, for all
Our goal when opening the clinic was to provide facilities and care to everyone. Grassroots level participants, young and old, as well as semi pro, pro and elite athletes - and funnily enough that’s exactly what we’ve managed to achieve.
We’ve found ourselves having an appointments diary that might one day be an 11-year-old fast bowler, a 60-year-old keen golfer, two pro-footballers and a professional tennis player. There’s a real enjoyment having such a diversity of patients and sporting backgrounds, with a mix of ages, gender, sporting disciplines and also range in performance and professional/elite status - it certainly keeps us busy and on our toes. We’re also seeing a lot of Sunday morning footballers, Saturday afternoon cricketers and an awful lot of triathletes and recreational runners, so it seems that we’re getting our message across that we’re accessible to all.
Women in sport
We have both been very fortunate to work closely with a wide variety of women in sport over the years, there is probably no better example than the Arsenal Women’s team - past and present. Gary is still involved with the squad helping them as a consultant physio throughout the season, and we had the team using the clinic’s gym just before lockdown. We were also privileged to have a visit from Olympic Champion Tessa Sanderson CBE back in March, and we regularly see the international female tennis player Anna Popescu to help prevent “injuries and niggles”, as she says in her own words.
One of the very first patients that we saw at the clinic was a female aerialist, who needed some muscular work to help get her back to being air borne as quickly as possible. Working with more women, across a wide spectrum of sports, is also a key focus for us in 2021. We’re looking to form partnerships with women’s teams and clubs, not only to help support women in the sporting industry, but also to dispel the myth that clinics are a male, footballer focused environment.
Grassroots and schools
The whole point of us setting up the clinic was to share our knowledge and expertise to a broader, local community where there’s such a hotbed and variety of sports and athletes. We’re committed to getting people into good habits from an early age, to deal with their minor issues early, so that they don’t escalate into more than that. And we’re proud to be able to do that through affiliations with a number of local sports clubs and schools.
These past few months have seen us set up affiliations with a range of local clubs, from Chigwell Golf Club which has 700+ members to Old Loughtonians Hockey Club - which is one of the biggest clubs in the country. We’ll continue to grow our affiliations and partnerships throughout 2021 to ensure the local community has access to our expertise and black book of specialists.
We also have an official affiliation with Forest School, where we see their sports scholars for rehab and physio, and we were asked to attend their open evening to speak to pupils and parents, (alongside the journalist Anna Kessel and The Non Perfect Dad Richard Shorter). It’s really helpful to understand the pressure some junior athletes are under to perform across multiple sporting disciplines, while their bodies are going through so much change and growth. In early adolescence, children can be more susceptible to injuries, so it’s something we want to make the sports teachers aware of, as well as the parents and child. Education is everything at their time of life.
We’re hoping to get more schools on board in 2021, and to be able to work with more students, to help instil positive habits, preparing the body for those different sporting disciplines.
Back in September we were delighted to support Unicef with their annual Soccer Aid event, which was held up in Manchester. The Lewin Clinic were there to provide full medical cover for the four training days and the matchday itself.
With the Covid protocols and procedures required, it meant a lot more work than usual was required to keep everyone safe. But we’re very proud of the fact that we managed to get everyone match-fit and had a fantastic three days with lots of fun people - all who had very different levels of fitness! We had comedians, musicians and some just-retired pro-footballers – all coming together to raise money and awareness for a very worthy cause. It was a privilege to be part of that experience this year.
We’re committed to ‘doing our bit’ at the clinic and we’re also involved with our good friends Bob and Megs Wilson’s charity work for The Willow Foundation, the only UK charity to raise money and provide memorable special days for seriously ill young adults aged 16-40. Gary is a proud ambassador and we will always support the work they do.
Gary is also an ambassador for the Brain and Spine Foundation Charity set up for patients who have suffered various forms of head injury and was started following the head injury sustained by the boxer Michael Watson MBE in 1991. In fact, Michael is now one of our patients.
The future is bright
Given the strange circumstances that we’ve found ourselves in this year, we can only hope that next year allows us to build on a strong start for the clinic. We want to establish it as a busy and recognised clinic, with a reputation as a ‘best-in-class centre’ for anyone and everyone who needs help with an injury.
With our resident massage therapist, access to strength & conditioning coaches, nutritionists, sports medicine doctors, podiatrists and radiologists the next steps for us are to perhaps expand either in this area of elsewhere. We’ll also continue to build and make use of our little black book of specialists for your benefit - we have access to the best surgeons for every joint in your body, whatever your injury.
We want to thank everyone that’s been a part of our first year. It’s been one that no-one could have predicted - but we’ve been busier than ever post-Lockdown. We’re incredibly grateful to you, our main staff members Clare and Nicola on front desk, our investors and our network for helping us get the business so established in such a short amount of time.
Here’s to another successful year!