SHEFFIELD Wednesday team doctor Richard Higgins will bring international experience to bear when he goes on duty with the Great Britain football squad for the Olympics.
He has been working for two years alongside Stuart Pearce with England Under 21s.
A call-up by Pearce for the Games is the latest honour for the man who has been with the Owls for 14 years and works with top athletes including Jessica Ennis at Sheffield’s English Institute of Sport.
It all began for Dr Higgins when the then Wednesday chairman Dave Richards offered him the Hillsborough medical job, when Ron Atkinson was manager, and he moved from sports medicine in Australia. “A foggy day in Sheffield was a far cry from being 100 metres off the beach in Perth! I’ve loved working for the club,” says the 47-year-old who lives at Bamford, “It’s had its ups and downs but it’s a great job. This season was fabulous, especially at the end.”
When he started at Hillsborough, Richard and his then colleague, Rav Naik, were the only full-time club doctors in the Premier League.
“We had a clinic at the ground; we also looked after the Eagles and the Steelers and did all sorts. Financial considerations meant that after two or three years
the job became part-time,” says Richard.
“I’m now also the leading sports physician at the EIS, and I do some private and NHS work. I’ve known Jess since she was 14. We all have great hopes for her in the Olympics.
“I applied for the England Under-21 job when it was advertised a couple of years ago and got it. Stuart Pearce asked me if I wanted wanted the Olympics job.
“I’m thoroughly looking forward to it. It’s going to be a huge event.
we get to the final it will be a five-week spell. We meet on July 7 for kitting out and meet the players the day after that. We’ve already had a number of interim meetings, about things such as training and travelling.
“We might have a day off after the last warm-up game, then it’s a case of being with the team the whole time, dealing with any day-to-day problems, working alongside the physios, getting involved with the preventative treatments and making sure the diets are all right. Stuart Pearce pays great attention to detail. He’s so good to work with.”