“It’s been de­scrIbed as a so­cI­ol­ogy ex­per­I­ment”

Eanna Falvey re­veals the unique chal­lenges of be­ing the Lions doc­tor

Rugby World - - E A N N A FA LV E Y - words SARAH MOCK­FORD pIc­tures INPHO

t he tough­est thing about be­ing the Lions doc­tor? “the scale of the chal­lenge,” replies eanna Falvey. “Yet ev­ery­body in the group en­joys be­ing chal­lenged and re­sponds to it.”

his role does not end with look­ing af­ter the 41-plus play­ers; the large management team might also need med­i­cal ad­vice. then there is the need to de­velop work­ing re­la­tion­ships with the rest of his team – one ben­e­fit is that the three phys­ios have been in­volved in nine Lions tours be­tween them (turn the page for a look at what their av­er­age day en­tails) – and make the equip­ment you would usu­ally have on home soil mo­bile, be­cause it needs to be packed up and moved ev­ery few days.

“It’s a huge re­spon­si­bil­ity look­ing af­ter all the play­ers and staff,” he says. “I’ve done two World Cups and they’re tax­ing, but with Lions tours it’s just the size of the group, how of­ten you travel and the in­ten­sity of the games.

“It’s also about gelling the team to­gether in a short pe­riod of time, play­ers and staff. some­one de­scribed it as a so­ci­ol­ogy ex­per­i­ment – tak­ing a mass of peo­ple of type A per­son­al­ity and putting them all in a room to­gether. It’s a melt­ing pot of sorts and you ex­pe­ri­ence highs and lows, but that’s where you find out about peo­ple. I made some of my best friends on the 2013 tour.”

Part of Falvey’s role is do­ing re­hab with play­ers who pick up in­juries and he tries to pre­vent that from be­com­ing a chore. Box­ing, for ex­am­ple, is a com­mon tool, Falvey say­ing: “It’s great for up­per-body con­di­tion­ing and is a chal­lenge phys­i­cally, so you get that en­dor­phin hit. You have to re­ally con­cen­trate on what you’re do­ing, too, so you’re in­tel­lec­tu­ally chal­lenged, which is good when you’re in­jured.”

he has also put the management through their paces, giv­ing them CPR train­ing. “It means in an emer­gency they’re able to play a role. the idea is to turn ev­ery­body into helpers, not watch­ers.”

Falvey is cer­tainly not a watcher; he’s one of the busiest men on the Lions tour!

Lend­ing a hand

Falvey with Rory Best in NZ

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