SAF: New medical center a big step forward

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has hailed the £25 million medical facility at United's Carrington training ground as their next step forward as a club.

Football News: Sir Alex Ferguson.
By staff

Manchester United suffered a slew of injuries last season, and topped the Premier League in terms of casualties that were out for more than two weeks - they had 39 such cases whereas neighbours Manchester City had only seven such incidents over the course of the campaign.

The Red Devils began this season with yet another defensive injury crisis, with Nemanja Vidic, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Rio Ferdinand all suffering injuries at one point or another just seven games into the Premier League.

The refurbished facility at Carrington, which is set to be opened in early November, cost United £13 million and the club will receive £12 million worth of top-notch medical equipment from Toshiba Medical Systems as part of their five-year deal. 

United claim that the facility will be the first of its kind in the Premier League and will allow them to detect soft tissue injuries before they occur and provide regular heart screenings to prevent collapses like in the case of Fabrice Muamba.

Ferguson hopes that the medical center will provide United with the extra edge in the footballing world. 

He told various press in the UK: "We've been building the medical centre for quite a time now, for about six months," he added, "but we're getting there and this partnership with Toshiba will add to it with their medical systems bringing a new dimension to sports science and medical treatment for our players."

"This is a great partnership because it is something new, something different."

The veteran manager also hailed the facility's development as a vital step forward for United to further develop themselves as one of the world's top sides, especially after AC Milan proved the efficiency of having a top-notch medical center in their Milanello lab.

"We made a couple of signings in the summer but this is a big signing, perhaps the most important step forward this club has taken in a long, long time," the 70-year-old added.

"Sometimes supporters won't see that, the public won't see that, but we'll see it and the players will really appreciate it.

"It will put us above most clubs in the world. We already have a fantastic medical staff and they will relish the challenge of working with Toshiba medical systems."

Ferguson looked back and reminisced on how far the sport has come in terms of sports science and medical care.

"If you go back 26 years, I had a staff of eight and one physio," said Ferguson. "Now I have a staff of 40 and five physios.

"We had one ultrasound machine, but we weren't the only ones. Most clubs then were exactly the same.

"So when I arrived at United we changed that pretty quickly. We brought in [physio] Rob Swire around about 1990 and since then it's been growing and growing.

"And it needed to grow because the game has got quicker and football pitches today also present a problem in terms of injuries.

"So there has to be more attention and more bodies to deal with all the players that we have.

"At the moment I probably have 28 players in the first-team squad, maybe 13 or 14 in the reserves and then about 24 Academy players.

"That's a lot of players so therefore the need for better medical attention and numbers [of physios] is really important.

"The real progress started about 10 or 12 years ago when the need for sports science came into football.

"Since then the progress in sports science has been so important.

"I always remember, when I was at Aberdeen, telling my chairman I should have two physios. He would always say 'Why?'

"He was old-school and he knew it would cost him some money."

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