Dave Hancock joined Leeds United from Blackburn Rovers’ Youth Academy in 2000. Leeds’ injury crisis kept Dave busy during the 2001/02 season, with Michael Bridges, Lucas Radebe, Oliver Dacourt and Harry Kewell all suffering serious injuries. Both Dave and Leeds’ new coach will be hoping for quieter times ahead.
Name: Dave Hancock
Where did you train and when?
“Pinderfields School of Physiotherapy (Leeds Medical School).”
Have you completed any other courses that are relevant to treating sports injuries?
“An MSc in Sports Medicine (Queens Medical Centre, Nottinham University, UK) and a Post Graduate Diploma in Sports Physiotherapy (Manchester Metropolitan University, UK).”
How long have you worked in professional football?
“Nine years, at Wolverhampton Wanderers, Blackburn Rovers and now Leeds United.”
Where did you work before getting a job in professional football?
“St James Hospital, Leeds and Leeds Rugby League.”
The pace of Premiership matches seems to get faster each season. Do you think this has had an effect on the frequency and type of injuries that you treat?
“Without doubt. The number of games, sometimes twice weekly, travelling and physical aspects (of games) have all increased greatly. The top distances (covered during games) are now in excess of 10 – 11km per game, with 1.5 – 2 hour training sessions, all of which are contact based.”
With international tournaments and competitions, like the Intertoto Cup, the top players are playing virtually all year. Do you think the Premiership should consist of fewer teams and incorporate a winter break like the rest of Europe?
“A winter break of 3 weeks is a must. The Youth Academy set up do it and it refreshes the body and the mind! I think the next big issue will be burnout amongst physios, similar to the NFL.”
New laws over the past few years have targetted dangerous play such as the tackle from behind. From a physios point of view what one thing about the game would you like to see changed?
“The referees making a decision over whether the physio can approach onto the pitch. Sometimes the delay could cause a problem, in the case of a head injury.”
What’s the worst injury you’ve had to deal with on the pitch?
“Fractured skull; also a Cervical (neck) fracture.”
And the funniest incident?
“Sliding into a player versus Everton. The ground was wet and I approached the player at speed. I landed on my knee to slow myself down and slid into the player, nearly causing more damage than the initial injury.”