The club are pleased to confirm that we have appointed a new Head of Medical.
Gareth Thomas joins with an extensive amount of experience within sport and has worked closely alongside manager, Jim Bentley in a previous role.
afcfylde.co.uk caught up with Gareth after his first few days in the club, to see what his role is all about and what we can expect from him.
“I have come in as Head of Medical,” Thomas told us. “I worked with the Gaffer for 10 years at Morecambe, where I worked as a Sports Therapist under the Head of Medical there. I left there 18 months ago to focus on my private practice, with an idea that if I ever returned to football it would be to take a Head of Medical position.
“This is a great opportunity for me,” he continued. “I am really happy to be here. I obviously know Jim well and I had a great chat with Jonty [Castle, AFC Fylde CEO], then I was shown around the place and the facilities are brilliant. The plans for the place are really exciting and the ambition here far exceeds the current position we are in.”
Fans will see Gareth on the touchline and in the dugout as the season progresses, but for those wondering what his day-to-day role does include, he has given a breakdown of what is expected from him whilst working as part of Jim Bentley’s staff.
Thomas explained: “A Head of Medical is someone who oversees everything medically at the club. I have a strong understanding of both the therapy side and the sports science side of sport so we’ll be looking to integrate everything together to improve overall performance, I’m not just a traditional physiotherapist, I like to think I can help to blend everything together.
“My day-to-day role will be to assess injured players and prepare their treatment plans whilst looking at our injury prevention strategies and planning on how we can reduce reoccurring injuries. For example, if we had 10 hamstring injuries within the team, we can look at where we are going wrong and what we would need to do to strengthen those areas on the players bodies, whether that’s the load in training or in the gym.
“Another large part of my job is to conduct player medicals. That’s an exciting part for the fans when we bring a player in but it is also a really important part for the club, as we have to ensure that the player we’re signing on a contract is in a strong physical condition. To put it loosely, you wouldn’t sign a car without looking under the bonnet to make sure it’s got an engine!”
On his relationship with Jim during their many years of working together, Gareth explained that a conversation with Coasters’ manager was the motivation needed to get back into football for him.
“I chatted with the Gaffer about the role which was great. If he hadn’t have spoken, I may not have been as keen to get back into football! I’ve got a wife at home and a little three-year-old son and the main reason I left Morecambe was to spend time with him before he went to school. He now starts in September so it was great timing for me when this job became available. So the timing was perfect, working with Jim again was perfect and after coming and meeting then speaking with Jonty, I know it would be a great role and one I wanted to do.
“It’s now all about having a good pre-season and hoping we can get the lads into great shape for a successful campaign, they’re a really good hard-working bunch from what I have seen so far so it’s an exciting time to be a part of the club.”