We caught up with the man in the Physio Room at Chelsea FC. Mike Banks is one of the longest serving and most respected physios in football. He’s worked with the likes of Glenn Hoddle, Ruud Gullitt, Luca Vialli and now Claudio Ranier over the past few years, during Chelsea’s most successful period since their heyday in the ‘swinging’ sixties.
Name: Mike Banks
Where did you train and when?
“The Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel, London – the University of East London.”
Have you completed any other courses that are relevant to treating sports injuries?
“Numerous courses, though not just sports-related. I am currently completing an MSc in Sport and Exercise Science.”
How long have you worked in professional football?
Where did you work before getting a job in professional football?
“Hospital rotations in East London and Essex areas. I also worked part time with Enfield FC.”
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?
“From a medical point of view yes, but this is unlikely to happen because of the commercial interests of the smaller clubs who are not playing European football. For players to get rest FIFA must have its power curbed.”
How do you overcome the communication difficulties when treating some of the foreign players who don’t speak much English?
“You just have to improvise. It is no different to working with non-English speaking patients in the NHS. We do use interpreters when necessary.”
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?
“Malicious challenges being punished by both the FA and PFA retrospectively using video evidence.”
What’s the worst injury you’ve had to deal with on the pitch?
“I have had three tibial fractures, four ACL tears and a severely subluxed knee. A dislocated olecranon-humeral (elbow) joint looked very unnatural!”
And the funniest incident?
“There are many; mostly black humour regarding player’s injuries, or incidents between benches.”