Gary and Colin Lewin spent two decades working at Arsenal – now the cousins are back together again after opening the Lewin Sports Injury Clinic
Just four minutes had gone when Martin Taylor clattered into Eduardo at Birmingham in February 2008 and inflicted an injury that remains fresh in the mind of everyone at Arsenal more than a decade later.
The look on Cesc Fabregas’ face as he glanced down at his stricken team-mate said it all.
He immediately screamed for Gary Lewin, the Arsenal physio, but by that time Lewin had already nearly reached the Croatian striker, whose fibula had fractured instantly.
“Your training takes over,” said Lewin. “The first thing to think about is if it’s either a life-threatening or limb-threatening injury. With Eduardo it was obvious it was a limb-threatening injury.
“Then you go through the process of stabilising and immobilising the injury, working out how you are going to get them off the pitch in the best way and controlling the pain.”
Eduardo was treated for nearly 10 minutes before being stretchered off. At that point Gary’s job had finished and it was time for his younger cousin Colin, who was also part of the Arsenal medical team at St Andrew’s, to take over.
He left the stadium with the striker, travelling to hospital in the ambulance alongside the paramedics.
“It was February 23, 2008,” recalls Colin. “I couldn’t tell you the dates of any cup finals, but I can tell you the date of Eduardo’s injury.
“We were weirdly lucky that day that the hospital they took us to was Selly Oak in Birmingham, which is where all the military come back to when they suffer their nasty war injuries.
“So there was this horrific ankle on the bed and the surgeon came in and was very flippant at what he was looking at. ‘Don’t worry about that, we’ll get that done tonight’ he said.
“We could have been at any hospital in the world, but fortunately we just happened to be taken to Selly Oak that day.”
What happened that afternoon in the Midlands was just one example of Gary and Colin Lewin working together.
The cousins spent more than a decade working in tandem at Arsenal before Gary moved on to join England on a full-time basis, with Colin replacing him as head physio at the Emirates Stadium.
Now, more than 10 years later, they are together again, with the pair opening a new sports injury clinic in Hainault, Essex.
“Although we’ve worked all our time in football, that doesn’t mean we haven’t worked in other aspects of sports medicine,” said Gary.
“What we really don’t want is someone to think this is a football clinic, it’s not. It’s a sports injury clinic that covers all sorts of sports medicine.
“This is our clinic and we’re working in it. That’s what we’re trying to get across, that it is me and Colin working here and we will be delivering the service for people that play weekend sport.”
Housed on the ground floor at 65 New North Road, the Lewin Sports Injury Clinic is purpose-built and offers the latest rehabilitation and sports medicine equipment.
Aaron Ramsey and Petr Cech are investors, while former Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein and Dick Law, who spent 10 years working as Arsenal’s transfer and contract negotiator under Arsene Wenger before returning to America in 2018, have been advisors on the project.
Wenger himself has also had significant input
“The first thing to say is Dick has been brilliant,” said Colin. “Our business brain wasn’t the largest between us and Dick helped us out from the start and has been great.
“There’s been many an hour spent on the phone to Texas talking through business plans and various other bits and pieces. It’s been really great of Dick to do that.
“And Arsene was always encouraging us. He’s obviously very good friends with David Dein so was hearing about it through him as well as Dick. He gave us various bits of advice along the way.”
Gary added: “Arsene’s words were ‘why wouldn’t you do it with the experience and knowledge you’ve got?’.
“That really gave us the confidence to press forward. Then David and Dick’s involvement on the actual planning side of it gave us the foundations of a business we could firstly understand and could actually visualise where it would fit in.”
The clinic has been open for three weeks and, for both cousins, working outside of a strictly football environment has taken some getting used to.
Colin left Arsenal in May 2018 after he was sacked, a decision which abruptly ended his 23-year association with the club.
His sudden departure came during a major revamp at the Emirates following the announcement that Wenger would be stepping down.
“We went in having no idea it was going to happen,” said Colin. “Arsenal at the time had a high-performance director [Darren Burgess] who had been brought in from Australia the summer before. He made a decision to make some changes.
“So it came as a complete surprise. I was gone and I had three very good physios working with me who were told to apply for one job. Two of them politely told the club to poke it and the one fella who got the job by default ended up leaving a few weeks after that.
“So yes it was a shock. I didn’t see it coming at all.”
Colin added: “I found it really hard at first. The first two Premier League games of that new season I watched in a little bar in Portugal sat in the corner on my own because I just didn’t know what to do.
Click Here: chloe perfume
“It was a horrible feeling after so long to have to watch a game and not be involved in it. It took me a long, long time to get back to wanting to watch Arsenal again, even though I had no ill feelings apart from against one or two individuals, who have now left.”
Gary left West Ham less than two weeks after Colin had been fired by Arsenal.
The 55-year-old had spent a season at the London Stadium after leaving his role within the England set-up, where he had been the Football Association’s head of physiotherapy services.
Gary worked at five World Cups during that time, including in 2014 when a bizarre incident in Brazil saw him famously end up in the treatment room himself.
Daniel Sturridge had just scored to draw England level against Italy in their opening group game of the competition and, in the celebrations that followed, Lewin’s left foot slipped into a gap between the astroturf around the technical area and the pitch itself.
His ankle dislocated and he fractured the fibula in two places, fractured the back of the tibia and also ruptured the ligament between the two bones.
“When I looked down my ankle was at 90 degrees,” he said. “It was a significant injury.
“The biggest problem I had was my wife was at home watching it on the TV and thought I’d had a cardiac arrest. I had to phone home to let her know she could put the insurance policies away and that I was still alive.”
* To find out more about the Lewin Sports Injury Clinic or to request a consultation, visit www.lewinclinic.co.uk or call 0208 070 7777.