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    New Physiotherapist 

    26 June 2015 06:33:15
    New Alloa Athletic physio Gerry Docherty joins the club after being made redundant by St. Mirren after the club was relegated from the Premier League last season. He once again teams up with Danny Lennon whom he has known from his days at Starks Park with Raith Rovers and more recently with St. Mirren.

    He knows all about the frustrations that his patients face as they battle against injury, for he has been through the aching joints and mental anguish that come with a serious knock. As a promising footballer when he was in his early 20s, Gerry spent month after month on the sidelines and endured long hours in the gym, hoping and praying that his shattered knee would regain the strength that once had him leaving defenders for dead. Unlike today’s stricken stars, he didn’t have the wonders of modern medicine to help him recover. A speedy winger with Partick Thistle in his playing days, Gerry was forced to hang up his boots after picking up a devastating ligament tear.

    The reason for his woes remained a mystery until a career change saw the former Raith Rovers, Millwall, Hearts, Dunfermline and St. Mirren physio swap his Mitre screw-ins for the magic sponge.

    “I was playing with Thistle in the early 1980s when I ruptured my anterior cruciate ligament – but I was never told that’s what I had done. “In those days, you were just left to get on with it. “I had some surgery on the knee but they basically just had a look inside and said ‘Ach, it’s fine’. “I suppose they knew you could damage these ligaments but there wasn’t the same level of surgical treatment that you get now to repair things.’ The injury was a disaster for a player who was attracting the interests of other clubs. “I was very fast during my playing days. “I used to compete on the Scottish professional running circuit and won a few races.

    “There had been interest from other clubs but, after the injury, I wasn’t the same and I never made a return to first-team football. “I was released by Partick while I was injured – which wouldn’t happen nowadays – and went back to the Juniors in a bid to build up some fitness. “I had spells with Shotts Bon Accord and then Broxburn Athletic but kept breaking down. I suppose it was only when I was training to be a physio a few years later that I realised what I’d done to my knee.”

    He  admits that his never-ending injury woes eventually ate up his belief that he’d ever return to the beautiful game. He said: “I was fortunate to have played in front of big crowds at places like Ibrox and Parkhead. I’m not sure how good I’d have gone on to be and, obviously, I’ll never know.

    “At the time, I was sure I’d get over my injury but, with each setback, I gradually grew to accept that it wasn’t going to happen. I just drifted away from the game.” After his playing days ended, Gerry completed college courses in sports massage and electrotherapy as he started down the path to becoming a fully-fledged physiotherapist. Initial spells with Shotts Bon Accord and then Currie Rugby Club, in Edinburgh, gave him the vital experience that soon saw him move to Kirkcaldy, where he was hired by Raith Rovers boss Jimmy Nicholl – and was introduced to a certain Daniel Joseph Lennon and had followed him to St. Mirren and now is reunited  at Alloa Athletic.

    These days, it is soothing the physical pains and mental scars of top-team stars, especially long-term crocks , that takes up Gerry’s time. And he insists that healing the mind is just as important as treating the feet, knees and ankles.  “Generally, the wee bumps and bruises take care of themselves but, with the guys who are out longer term, you end up spending a long time with them, day in day out. “You get to know their every emotion – how they are when things are going well and what to do when they’re not. “Taking care of the mental side of it is just as much a part of my job as the physical side. Every individual is different. Some need an arm around their shoulder, – others need a boot up the backside.

    “Over the years, I’ve realised just how important it is to get the injured lads reintegrated with the rest of boys as soon as possible. “They won’t feel part of it because they can’t take part in all of the training or the games but having them in and around the banter of the dressing room helps to lift their spirits.

    “We also give them short-term aims so they aren’t looking too far ahead and getting disheartened.

    “We get players back as early as we can. To see a player back playing is brilliant. “There is nothing like seeing a guy who has been out for months and months making his return to action. “I suppose it’s the same feeling the boys have when they get an important win.”

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