Team Behind the Team: Sam Byrne
Find out more about the role of Lead Physio, Sam Byrne, who has been with the Club since 2007
In the first edition of Spin Magazine of 2019, we caught up with a key member of Lancashire’s Sport Science and Medicine team, Lead Physio Sam Byrne, to find out what his main responsibilities are at Emirates Old Trafford
Can you provide us with a bit of background about yourself, and how you got to where you are now as a physiotherapist?
I completed my physiotherapy degree in Australia and worked there before heading off backpacking to travel around Europe. I was fortunate to be a volunteer Physiotherapist at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games and on the back of that I applied for a job with the Bangladesh Cricket Board.
I worked there for two years and that was a fantastic opportunity to see some very different parts of the world and work in international cricket with some great people.
Dave Roberts contacted me about an opportunity at Lancashire half way through the 2007 season and I’ve worked at Emirates Old Trafford ever since.
Can you give us an overview of your responsibilities at Lancashire and your typical working day?
My overall aim and responsibility is to minimise injury and at the same time maximise athletic performance within the professional squad. We work really hard as a Sports Science & Medicine Team to ensure that the players are as fit, strong and physically robust as possible.
My role is to look after the players welfare on a day-to-day basis and also rehabilitate any players who may be injured.
As a Sport Science and Medical Department, how closely do you work together?
We work extremely closely, it’s a real team effort and we are constantly in communication with one another and the coaches.
The department is headed up by David Roberts (Director of Medical Services) who myself, Tom Webster (Strength and Conditioning Coach) and the Club Doctor (Dr Dave Perry) work closely with looking after the 1st Team. As the demands of the game have grown, we have been lucky enough to take on full-time staff in Zach Spargo (Second XI Physio) and Christina Carr (Second XI Strength and Conditioning Coach) who work alongside us and aim to deliver the same levels of care and professionalism within the Second XI, Academy and age-group teams.
Since you’ve been at Lancashire, has there been one example that’s really given you a sense of pride with one of the lads getting injured and coming back fully fit?
Injuries are part and parcel of professional sport and they do happen when athletes are pushing their bodies to the limit.
Alex Davies is probably a player that all of us are proud of in the way that he recovered and has since gone on to play so well for Lancashire and be selected for the England Lions. He suffered a serious knee injury at the end of the 2015 season which required surgery and a length rehab over that winter. It was a real team effort with him, some long hours in the gym and behind the scenes which are a testament to him, so it’s great to see him back out there playing.
How rewarding is it seeing a player you’ve worked hard with perform on the pitch?
That’s what you work for really. As a Physio, you want to see players in their best possible condition, physically and mentally, so they can go out on the pitch week in week out and be in a position to win games for Lancashire, and hopefully go on and represent their country.
How closely do you work with Head Coach Glen Chapple?
Chappie and I have worked closely for a long time now, I think he’s the first player I ever rehabbed at Lancashire. My job is to keep him up to speed in terms of where the players are injury status wise, but also where they’re at in terms of fitness and bowling workloads for example.
Due to the nature of what they do, fast bowlers are the guys that put the most strain on their body so it’s vital that we manage that to keep them fit and in the best condition possible throughout the season.
What advice might you give to somebody who wants to follow a similar path?
I think you’ve got to be prepared to work hard and work long hours, even if it means working for free or volunteering at a local club or with non-professional teams to gain experience. It’s important that you see different injuries, get experience handling different bodies and personalities, as well as learning how to do things like taping and strappings.
Don’t be afraid to chase an opportunity because they don’t come up very often. Sometimes it’s a case of being in the right place at the right time, but if there is an opportunity, take it with both hands. It’s a fantastic job that I do and I’m very lucky to work within a great Sports Science and Medicine team as well as with the players and coaches we’ve got at Emirates Old Trafford.
This article was first published in Spin Magazine, an exclusive publication for Lancashire Cricket Members which is produced three times per year.
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