TIVIDALE FC Sports Therapist Gavin Blackwell was interviewed on BBC Tees yesterday (Tuesday) to tell the tale of one of his mentors in the field.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the death of Jimmy Headrige, who first joined Middlesbrough as a trainer and physio in 1966 after his playing career in Scotland ended through injury.
Jimmy started work with physio George Wright and club doctor and vice chairman Dr Neil Phillips and quickly went on all the courses he could to gain knowledge of his profession.
With income gained from hosting a World Cup 1966 game, Middlesbrough expanded their medical facilities and team, and Jimmy eventually became influential in helping to transform the treatment of injuries and rehabilitation not only at Middlesbrough but throughout the game.
The Scot went on to work in the United Arab Emirates and for Bolton Wanderers where he was credited for saving the career of Peter Reid, who paid an emotional tribute when receiving the PFA Player of the year award in 1985.
He was then head hunted to work for Ron Atkinson at Manchester United in 1981 when he got the manager's job. Sadly just weeks before the start of the new season, Jimmy collapsed from a heart attack on the training ground and died. He was just 42.
Gavin, who is writing a book on his 35 years working in professional and semi-professional football in the West Midlands, spoke to BBC Tees mid morning presenter Gary Philipson about Jimmy's life and career, particularly his work at Middlesbrough.
He said: "A lot of the listeners or even 'Boro fans in general may not know the name Jimmy Headrige, or his story, with physios often being the unsung heroes of the backroom staff.
"Jimmy, and Fred Street at Arsenal and England, changed the thinking about the way players trained, came back from injury, their diet, their physiotherapy routines, almost everything about the physical side of a footballer.
"I would go as far as to say they were the forerunners for some of the methods and theory that make up what is now known as medical and sports science and if Jimmy had lived, I feel sure he would have gone on to work in international football for a long time."
If you want to listen to the interview, visit https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p09nkzd1. It starts at 20:00
Below: (L) The late Jimmy Headrige and (R) Gavin Blackwell
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