Colin and Gary spent some time talking to journalist Andrew Allen recently, for a feature on the ever-changing world of football medicine.
Hosted on The Link by Proximie - a technology platform which connects clinicians virtually anywhere in the world - the article focuses on football's medical revolution.
It was certainly a trip down memory lane for them both, and really gives context to how much has changed within the industry over the years.
Huge thanks to Andrew and the Proximie team for the great interview. You can read the opening part to it below, and the full article by clicking here:
The Lewins: At the vanguard of football’s medical revolution
The Link by Proximie talks to Gary and Colin Lewin about advances in football medicine and their time working with the England national team and Arsenal.
Muddy pitches, dodgy haircuts, tucked-in shirts, dangerously packed terraces, tackles more akin to assaults…watching highlights of English football in the 1980s is like being transported to a different world. For better or worse, it was more often a battle than ballet.
Since then, the game has changed beyond recognition. Today, at the highest level, finely tuned athletes with unparalleled technical ability implement detailed tactical plans. They play on pristine pitches in state-of-the-art stadiums with fans paying big money for the privilege of taking cushioned corporate seats; prawn sandwich in one hand and prosecco in the other.
Money has poured into the game. In 1980, the average weekly wage of a top-flight footballer was £550. Not an insignificant amount but, even with inflation taken into account, pocket change compared to the £100,000 a week that last season’s English champions Liverpool are estimated to have paid each of their squad on average. Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian striker Neymar is thought to be earning eight times that amount (£782,000 a week), a deal he agreed when signing from Barcelona for £200 million. Football is big business these days.
In the quest to build powerhouse brands and a global customer base, you could be forgiven for questioning whether silverware is as important as generating revenue. And yet, time and again, it’s the quest for glory that prevails. Despite existing on a financial knife-edge, clubs repeatedly throw the dice, gambling heavily in the transfer market in the hope of finding an uncut gem or the missing piece of their jigsaw.
The pressure on the players is subsequently huge. And it’s even greater on the managers charged with getting the best from them. To stand even half a chance of lasting longer than 26 months — the average tenure of a Premier League manager in 2019/20 — they need their stars fit and healthy.
That’s where the medical team comes in.
Not so long ago, clubs were happy to rely on a couple of part-time physiotherapists to keep their players on the pitch, now they dedicate significant resources to building world-class departments that incorporate doctors, masseurs, nutritionists, psychologists, strength and conditioning coaches and more.
Over the course of 32 years at Arsenal, cousins Gary and Colin Lewin built one of the best as a revolution in sports science kept pace with developments on the pitch and in the boardroom.
Proximie caught up with them to learn more...
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