By: Hibernian Media on 17 Mar, 2020 17:49
As our Head of Football Science & Medicine, Nathan Ring is used to no two days being the same.
Nathan and his team at the Hibernian Training Centre routinely adapt their schedules to look after the health and wellbeing of our players to ensure they are in top condition come matchday.
This week, however, it’s fair to say that we’re all in unchartered territory, with the squad advised to stay away from HTC until at least Monday – with Scottish football suspended indefinitely at the moment.
We caught up with Nathan - who also works with England’s Under-21 team having joined us from his position with Team GB at the Rio Olympics - to learn a bit more about his role at the moment.
Nathan, this must all feel pretty surreal at the moment? How do you even begin to get your head around it and put protocols in place for a squad of athletes?
We’re taking our advice from the Scottish Government, the UK Government and the relevant medical bodies, as everyone else will be. We’re also staying in close communication with other sporting organisations to discuss how they’re approaching and handling the challenges that are facing us.
What was the message to the players before they were sent home for the week?
We had a briefing from Jack, Graeme and Leeann at HTC before we left on Friday last week. The overriding message was to ensure that everyone look after their health and the health of their families. Even though these are uncertain times and the remaining fixtures cannot be scheduled, at this point we still expect players to maintain their fitness. The plan is to return to HTC in the future, but until then the players have been given training plans to maintain their fitness while they’re away from the club.
Whose responsibility is it to set programmes for them to keep ticking over? How much can they be expected to do at home?
Colin Clancy, our Lead Sport Scientist, has set the players a programme of work to be carried out off-site this week. At this stage we have to prepare for every eventuality and that means the players need to continue working hard away from the club. A minimum standard has been set in terms of independent training sessions carried out, but we would expect all our players to exceed these requirements.
What about players who are coming back from long-term injuries? Does their rehabilitation become more complicated or will they come in for treatment?
Fortunately we have had players like Joe Newell and Stevie Mallan return to training over the last week or so, so their programmes have become more about building on their fitness levels post-rehabilitation, as they were both close to returning to first-team action before the cancellation. Ryan Porteous is the other player who is close to returning to first-team training and I’ll continue to work one-to-one with him over the next few weeks to complete the final phase of his rehabilitation. We have Sean Mackie, who picked up an ankle injury in training with Dundee, and Jason Naismith, who suffered a knee ligament injury against Dundee United in January. Although Jason’s still officially a Peterborough United player, he requested to rehabilitate his injury post-operation here at Hibernian and we’ve been happy to help him out. Despite the setback he had he comes in every day with a fantastic attitude and is a great role model for our younger players. Jason and Sean are working away from the club this week with their own individual programmes but we’ll probably touch base with them through the week, as the situation allows.
Do players still have access to certain members of staff during this period, either remotely or in person?
Staff are always available for the players and we remain accessible every day.
Is there general advice for players about using public gyms or being out and about in general?
When we finished on Friday we informed the players that there should be no international travel, that gyms were out of bounds and that they were to avoid busy, crowded, unfamiliar places and to take the necessary precautions that everyone should be adhering to. We also requested that the players keep us informed of their own health and those people who they’ve been in close contact with over this period as well. The club are also taking other measures in the meantime, with HTC undergoing a deep clean with a specialist company to ensure the facilities are sterile whenever we’re able to return.