Speaking to the Impartial Reporter, former international runner Hoy speaks about making the move from Ireland to work with the Millers
“My girlfriend was coming over to Sheffield to do a post grad teaching degree and I always knew I wanted to work in sport so I figured I would come too as there is not a lot of professional sport at home.” he explained.
“I had a look at what was available and saw a job with Rotherham which is near Sheffield and got a job with their academy in 2017. It was overseeing the U18 squad and the academy and I stayed there for a year and half before I ended up leaving Rotherham in December 2018 and I got a job with Hull as their U23s physio,” he added.
“I stayed at Hull for six months and then at the end of last season I got a call that the Head Physio was leaving Rotherham and the manager was looking for people and my name came up and they asked me to come back,” he said.
“I really enjoyed the academy football because it is great watching the development of players and seeing them get contracts and that but the games don’t really mean a lot."
“Now decisions we make during the week massively affect what happens on a Saturday and that whole pressure makes the game mean that much more. But when you win and the squad are going well, as staff you feel a real part of that. You feel that you have really contributed to it.”
“If a player got injured and I had to go and sit with the manager you would almost feel that you should apologise to him as if it was your fault but the player got injured on the pitch and it is obviously nothing to do with me that they got injured but I’m the one delivering the bad news and I found that tough initially,”
Mark’s main role is working with injured players at the club, who sit second in the table and are pushing for promotion.
“The injured players are my main priority day to day but then obviously you are always getting things thrown at you with players saying this hurts or that hurts so you are maintaining the fit players as much as you are rehabing the injured players. That’s the biggest thing as a physio, a player has a problem that he can play and get through with it but at what point do I step in and say you shouldn’t play. That’s the difficulty and where having a good relationship with the manager and other coaching staff, which I do, make it that wee bit easier,” he explained.
“Most games luckily I don’t have a lot to do when the match is actually going on. If I have something to do it is generally not a good sign for my line of work!"
“You can’t afford to get sucked into the game, you just have to take that step back and keep an eye on what is going on. It is important to keep an eye on certain players who may have had issues earlier in the game or one’s that you know came into the game with issues. It is important to keep communicating with the management and the players if you have a chance."
“If you have to go on to the pitch you just have to forget about the crowd, you have this player in front of you so you deal with whatever is in front of you and you make a decision about whether the player should stay on or come off,” he said.
Hoy is also involved with the medicals for transfers; “That was another thing that was a learning curve. We have two physios, the other one is known as our Head of Medical and he would take the lead on medical issues or something that might require seeing the doctor whereas I would lead more on the rehab."
“But I took a few of the medicals early on and it doesn’t really hit home to you until you hear the amount money that they are thinking of spending on the player, if I get this wrong I could potentially cost the club a lot of money. It’s not a lot in Premier League terms but it is still a lot. We sold a player for £2m last summer so it is a lot of money.”
With the country in lockdown, the rehab of players has taken an unusual course.
“We have two players at the minute, one who had an operation eight weeks ago on his knee and another one who has managed to avoid an operation but only because we have done a really intense rehab, so when the lockdown came into place we had to make a decision. If I don’t see these players for God knows how long, what position will they be in?"
“There are days that we can do things over video call but the two players, and in particular the one who had an operation, needs a lot of hands on treatment in terms of getting the range back into his knee so if we were to leave him and his knee was to stiffen up and not get that full movement back into his knee post op it could be career ending so we can’t justify leaving him."
“A lot of staff have been furloughed at the club but the nature of my job, the players still need access to someone medical so I have been lucky to be kept on my normal salary,” he stated.
“Between myself and the Strength and Conditioning coach, we have a number of classes each week and we just use Zoom. Me or him will just take a class; pilates, core, strength, spin or stretching classes. We have different ones throughout the day and the players just drop in to whatever ones suit their lives at home. All we ask is that they do so many of certain classes."
“The biggest challenge that we have is that there is no fixed date for when football starts up again so to keep them ticking over is difficult. If we knew that the season was starting up again on June 1 say, we know exactly what amount of time that we have got and we can let the players have a week or two relax and then build things up gradually to June when we know we will be playing football again. Without a date it has been a challenge but I do think we have been doing quite well with it,” he added.