“It’s been descrIbed as a socIology experIment”
Eanna Falvey reveals the unique challenges of being the Lions doctor
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