Now some Premier League clubs have more than 20 different full-time medical staff – a range that includes acupuncturists, dieticians and soft tissue therapists – as the need to keep players fit and well in body and mind becomes ever more important.
It is far cry from East Midlands Counties Football League level where two up and coming physios are working hard to take medical services at Clipstone to the next level.
Emma Young and Tom Maloney are both studying a masters in physiotherapy at Sheffield Hallam University and have been with the Cobras throughout the previous season.
And their aim is simple – to bring an eye for detail and help make Clipstone stronger on and off the pitch.
“I was a bit nervous at first, but the lads have been really great and respectful to me,” said Emma, who is the current Head of Medical services at Chesterfield FC’s Ladies Academy.
“The committee has been great in listening to what me and Tom are saying and taking everything on board.
“We have big plans for pre-season and we are going to push the players, everyone is on board and that really helps.”
And, acccording to Tom, that drive to be the best they can, is exactly what makes Clipstone a perfect fit for all parties.
“It has been a great learning experience. It is a really good club full of genuinely hard-working people,” said Tom, who joined the club last pre-season.
“We were approached for the role and sold on the desire and ambition of the club to improve and not settle for what they already have.
“Everyone has been so welcoming, which is nice as it can be quite daunting going into a new club with different dynamics in the dressing room.
“Me and Emma are driven and ambitious people and we want to bring efficient strategies to screen, prevent and rehabilitate injuries.
“We want to push the players more and squeeze every ounce of talent out of the players.”
As part of their approach the duo have been studying injuries at the club in a bid to unearth patterns and problem areas.
Players at the Lido Ground will also enjoy ice baths after training and take part in preventative medical questionnaires.
“We noticed we had a lot of hamstring and groin injuries this year, added Emma, who missed out on representing England at U16 level after she was called up before being hit with an ankle injury.
“I have sent out injury prevention programmes. Tom has also sent through resistance exercises for before pre-season.
“The players will have ice baths after training and we are going to do full medical screenings and questionnaires before we start the season, just so we are on top of the players health conditions.”
Support from the Clipstone committee also proved to be key, with the pair given a free rein to revamp the medical side.
“It is great that everyone is on board, it means me and Tom can try out new ideas,” added Emma, who took on her role in November.
“A lot of our degree is based around research, I put forward these ideas and everyone is on board with it.
“We have had a few players out injured and to see them playing again is really good.
“Jack Warwick went from being injured and not scoring much to starting scoring.
“They are back where they want to be and not in pain so it gives me pride.”
“I would love to be a physio at a club like Chesterfield. Being at Clipstone is a great learning curve.
“They are giving us free rein and it makes life so much easier to experiment with our ideas.”
It was a few echoed by Tom, who currently runs his own business with Emma.
“We have had a few injuries in similar areas and now we are starting to implement screening tests where we look to analyse players at risk of higher rates on injuries,” he said.
“Instead of it being reactive we will be proactive.
“It is testament to how me and Emma want to work and how the staff at the club want to be.
“We don’t want to accept mediocrity, we want to push things on to the next level.
“This club deserves it really, it is a good club with good values and we are all pushing in the same direction to push the club to bigger and better.”
Thanks to Stephen Thirkill, Chad Sport for the article.