Bolton Wanderers physio chief offers his skills to amateur sports people

The Bolton News: Mark Leather keeps his hand in working on a client at the Mercure Hotel Mark Leather keeps his hand in working on a client at the Mercure Hotel

BOLTON Wanderers sports development chief Mark Leather is aiming to keep his physiotherapy skills up to scratch by treating amateur sports men and women in the town.

The 52-year-old physio has opened the latest of five clinics in the North West at the Mercure Hotel, Bolton Georgian House in Chorley Road, Blackrod.

Lifelong Whites fan Mr Leather, who was brought up in Breightmet and Smithills, is also offering low-cost preventative classes for sufferers of back pain, people with lower-limb arthritic problems and those with balance problems who are at risk of falling.

Former Hayward Grammar School pupil Mr Leather had already embarked on launching his group of practices around the region when, in May, he was approached by Wanderers to return to the club where he spent three years as a member of Sam Allardyce’s medical team.

Mr Leather had also taken up a university lecturing post after returning to the region and opted to turn his back on a journeyman lifestyle in football which took him to Liverpool, Sunderland, Preston, Burnley, Brighton and Wigan Warriors rugby league club.

However, Mr Leather’s remit at the Reebok is much broader than physiotherapy.

He said: “The role at Bolton is slightly different than other jobs I have had in football in that I am in charge of the medical, sports science, conditioning and fitness areas.

“There is more responsibility in terms of looking after people and pulling them together, then working with the manager to make sure they get optimum performance. I am delegating a lot of work I would previously have done myself.

“At the moment at the club, my clinical work is really only to do with the late stage of rehabilitation, when someone leaves the treatment room then moves into grass areas outside.

“But clinically, I’m keen to retain my basic skills and I have to do that by treating people.”

As keen all-round sportsman, he was well aware there is a need for his expertise among amateur sports people. “We want to help the whole sector of amateur sport,” he said.

“We’re contacting local leagues in football, rugby, hockey, tennis, cricket and referees. I’ve always had this issue that, for the public who are not in a private health scheme, accessibility to physio, injury treatment, diagnosis, fitness and nutrition advice are very difficult to access unless you’ve got a lot of money.

“On the NHS, those sorts of things are virtually non-existent unless you need major surgery in which case you would have some post-surgery rehab.

“One of the things we wanted to do was to have low cost quick access and affordability to the general public.”

Mr Leather is also aiming to launch classes for three groups of people to help stave off problems with back pain, lower limb arthritic problems, and those with balance problems at risk of falling.

Combined with the five-week courses will be educational information about how key areas of the body function as well as maintenance exercise classes. But he added: “We don’t need big numbers. We are looking at between five and 10 people to enrol for one five-week programme for each of the three categories. People think nothing of spending large amounts of money keeping their car on the road, but to spend £50 on yourself?

“We’re charging between £8 and £10 per hour, and if they pay up front for all five classes, it’s £40.”

He has organised an opening evening at his new practice for January 13, between 6pm and 9pm.

His other practices are at Leigh Sports Village, Total Fitness in Liverpool, and at hotels in Chester and Wrexham.

Anyone interested in contacting Mark Leather Physiotherapy should call 01978 780066.

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