'Our appreciation is absolute' - Henderson praises LFC medical team
Jordan Henderson has highlighted the importance and influence of the club's medical team in not only their treatment of injured players, but also ensuring Liverpool's squad are in the best condition possible come matchday.
Writing in his column for Saturday’s official matchday programme with Crystal Palace, the captain detailed the work that goes on behind the scenes at the AXA Training Centre each and every day to prepare the team to take to the field.
Henderson also paid tribute to the speedy response of first-team physiotherapist Chris Morgan and club doctor, Dr Jim Moxon, in treating Harvey Elliott on the pitch after he sustained a serious ankle injury during the recent victory at Leeds United.
The skipper said: “Let me start by saying this: Harvey Elliott will be back fitter, stronger and better. He is resilient, he is brave, he is talented and he is committed to chasing and achieving all his dreams. He is also full of positivity and energy.
“So, this column won’t be one that’s overly negative or sad. He’ll be back soon enough, no-one needs to worry about his future. No-one within the squad – be it player or staff member – has any doubt that Harv will be back with a bang when he returns.
“It was, though, a traumatic experience at Elland Road seeing him hurt in the manner he was. As with other players who’ve suffered similar injuries it looks and feels awful, but the pathway back is clear. And Harv need not look any further than to some of his teammates in the dressing room should he need any inspiration or advice.
“At the time of writing this he’s had his procedure and has essentially begun his comeback. I saw after the game the gaffer referenced the response of our own medical staff as being a crucial factor in why Harvey can already be considered 'on the mend'.
“Chris Morgan, our physio, was with Harvey within seven seconds of the injury happening. Our doctor, Jim Moxon, was immediately behind him.
“I wouldn’t encourage anyone to watch it back, but trust me when I tell you they were caring for and treating Harvey immediately, literally seconds after it happened. They brought him comfort, they administered pain-relief and most importantly they addressed and re-set the dislocation.
“They did all of that with cool, calm heads in front of a sold-out crowd at Elland Road, reacting with incredible composure to go about immediately helping Harv.
“The past 18 months or so has made us all appreciate the care and dedication of health professionals. It’s mad we needed a pandemic to remind us of that. And as players it’s probably wrong that we need an incident such as the one at Leeds to fully recognise the incredible people we have looking out for us.
“Being part of a football club's medical set-up is a tough job, I can tell you. They have to deliver news to the manager he might not want to hear but ultimately needs to.
“As players we don’t want to be anywhere near their room as it means we have an issue that potentially could, or actually does, prevent us from training and playing. And frankly, most of us aren’t always the easiest of characters to control when we have injury issues.
“The two groups who can testify to how much of a nightmare I am in these situations are my family and the physio department... that’s how close the bond is.
“The part which troubles me – and I only really became aware of it last season – is how much online abuse these guys get when a club has injuries. It is shocking. It also makes no sense. Absolutely none.
“From my experience, the vast majority of injuries are no-one's fault. They’re bad luck. It’s an occupational hazard. It’s horrible but we accept it comes as part of the package. Even on the tiny percentage of occasions there is someone to blame, it is never ever a physio, a doctor or a medical expert employed by a club.
“These people are as dedicated to care and protection of the players as anyone you will ever meet. They eat, sleep and breathe trying to protect us from harm. They eat, sleep and breathe trying to mend and help us.
"I could pick out anyone from our incredible set-up to highlight what these guys do for us – day in and day out – so we can get on the pitch and win games for Liverpool.
“I could write a list of everyone in that department – they’re all out of this world – but on a personal level, I do want to flag the guy who was on the pitch at Elland Road and who had Harvey in his arms within a time period two seconds quicker than Usain Bolt ran the 100 metres in his prime. That’s Chris Morgan.
“He’s probably our most visible physio because he’s the guy you’ll all see on a matchday running onto the pitch when one of us is hurt.
“It’s hard to explain how much trust we place in these people in these critical moments. If Chris had any input to what I’m writing now he would demand I make it clear this applies to EVERYONE within our medical department. But I want to use Chris to illustrate how fortunate and privileged we are as players to have the best of the best in our corner when we need them most.
“When I had my injury last season it was Chris who was up until 2am researching the best techniques that could help advance my recovery. He’s the guy who was there for me 24/7 – despite having a family of his own to worry about – if I needed reassurance in vulnerable moments.
“I know Steven Gerrard has spoken so highly of Chris in the past and credited him so much with helping him through injury issues during his career. When someone like Stevie says that about someone so publicly, so emphatically, it speaks volumes about them, the work they do and the trust placed in their ability.
“I referenced earlier that these guys have a thankless task in many respects. But that doesn’t apply in the dressing room. Our appreciation is absolute.
“They run towards us as quickly as they can when we need help on the pitch the most. From the first seconds of an injury to the moment we return to play they comfort us, they endure us, they mend us and they allow us to pick up where we left off.
“They also help us get out there on the pitch every matchday. Their work doesn’t only begin when one of us is injured – they are there for us, day in, day out, to make sure we are in the best shape possible when it comes to playing for Liverpool.”