Eduardo is now well on the way to making a recovery from a broken leg after a tackle by Martin Taylor in the Birmingham game. But things might not have run so smoothly if it wasn’t for Gary Lewin, the Arsenal physiotherapist. He had an interview with Arsenal.com and you can read it below
Eduardo has started his long road to recovery from the serious injury he suffered at Birmingham. As you can see from the exclusive picture below, the Croatian striker is on crutches following surgery to repair his leg and ankle.
To find out more about Eduardo’s injury and his prognosis, Arsenal’s official matchday programme spoke to Gary Lewin, the Gunners’ physio, who treated him on the pitch and will be instrumental in overseeing his rehabilitation.
Gary, tell us about the immediate aftermath of the injury — because it looked like there was some quick-thinking once you were on the pitch.
Yes, from the whole medical team; myself, Dr Beasley and Colin Lewin. It’s something we all train for, but something you never want to see, and unfortunately it happened on Saturday. I was the first one on the pitch, and radioed back to Colin and the Doc to get all the emergency equipment on. Then we got the gases on for pain relief and also called on Gilberto to help translate. Once we made him comfortable we immobilised the leg because the important thing is to make sure there was no movement whatsoever. So it may have taken a long time, but it went as well as it could have done. Once again our thanks go out to everyone that helped make it so smooth. They helped make an awful day go as well as we could have hoped.
Is it worse for these types of injuries to happen away from home?
Well, it makes it more difficult because we do all our training at Emirates with our own paramedics. But medical people worldwide know what they have to do in these situations. Dr Beasley was fantastic, Colin knew exactly what his role was and he took over the medical care once Eduardo left the pitch, and went with him to the hospital. He kept in touch with us during and after the game. Also Paul Irwin, the player liaison officer, did an unbelievable job for us too. He came up from London with Eduardo’s wife and was invaluable with all his help. Over the weekend myself, the Doc and Paul liaised with the surgical staff and transported him back to London, where we took over his medical care. All in all it was a big team effort, with a lot of people being involved.
How did the operation itself go?
It went really well. The professor at Selly Oak Hospital did a great job, it all went smoothly. Eduardo stabilised on Sunday, then transferred to London. We checked him out with our people on Monday, and he stayed in hospital until Wednesday. So the surgery went really well. He’s well on the mend now and the only cause for concern is if he gets any infection, because it was an open fracture. The crucial part now is the next two weeks. If we can get through that without infection, and all the signs so far are very good, then we can start the rehab and the long road to recovery.
What exactly was the injury, as there were conflicting reports in the papers?
He had an open fracture of the fibula, and he had a dislocated ankle. Both have now been repaired surgically and at the moment it looks successful. It was a very bad one, but saying that it could have been worse. Of course it could have been a lot better, and only time will tell just how bad it is.
What is his rehabilitation schedule now?
He will stay in England now while he is in the plaster. Then we will liaise with him about the rehab programme. What we tend to do with players is send them to rehab centres so that they are not in the same place for the whole time. That could be Brazil for example, where some of the players have been before. There is a really good rehab centre in Rio. Or it could be on the continent, we will make a decision together.
You have seen many serious injuries in your time. How would you describe Eduardo’s state of mind given the circumstances?
He is coping excellently. He has been very, very positive, very upbeat. He understands what has gone on, he understands what’s going to happen in the future. He understands the seriousness of it, but at the same time he knows that players have come back from it before. He has had an unbelievable response from other professionals, doctors and physios from all round the country who have all sent their best wishes. I won’t embarrass the players by naming them but he has had individual messages from players who have been there and done it. They don’t know him but they know how hard it can be and have got in touch. The response has been really, really nice and that will help him in his recovery.