GAA Football

Physio advice has saved my career says Down forward Alan Davidson

Expert advice from Newry physiotherapist Stephen Brannigan has saved the career of Down forward Alan Davidson.
Andy Watters

SOME expert advice from Newry physiotherapist Stephen Brannigan has saved the career of Down forward Alan Davidson.

After years of struggling with an ankle injury led to a pattern of comebacks followed by breakdowns, St Peter’s Warrenpoint clubman Davidson hung up his boots in frustration but a new course of rehab treatment designed by former Birmingham City physio Brannigan has allowed him to get back on the field for his club this year.

“Stephen told me that I shouldn’t have retired and he gave me a different type of treatment and, sure enough, he fixed the ankle, it’s 100 per cent,” said Davidson.

“It was a totally different approach and it worked. I’m just battling now, trying to get into a bit of shape to get a bit of game-time.”

Now the former Newry City, Glenavon and Warrenpoint Town soccer star is concentrating on getting in shape for his club’s Down senior championship derby with neighbours Burren on Sunday evening.

“We’ve got Burren on Sunday and hopefully I’ll be playing – I’m available for selection anyway,” said Davidson.

“I’m not fully fit yet but this has been the longest in about three years that I’ve been able to train without having to pull up or take a backward step.

“The last eight weeks I’ve been training and I’ve managed to do every session which is something I hadn’t been able to do for years, so it has been refreshing for me.

“It has been good because for a long time it was one setback after another. I was coming back and maybe getting two or three training sessions and then pulling up again. After a while it just got a bit too tedious to carry on with.

“Stephen told me he could fix it and I didn’t think he could but he told me to stick with it and he has fixed my ankle. It’s pretty hard to believe.”

Davidson was brought onto the Down panel by Eamonn Burns in early 2017 and he made an immediate impact with some eye-catching performances during the Dr McKenna Cup. A superb striker of the ball, he was lethal from long range frees and 45s but despite his bright start he found opportunities were limited through the National League and he wasn’t involved in the Championship run that took Down to an unlikely Ulster final that summer.

Davidson was invited back into the panel by current Down manager Paddy Tally but had to bow out because of his ankle problems. With the injury now behind him, the door to an inter-county return could open but he says he is concentrating on club football at least for now.

“I’m focussed on the club now,” he said.

“I’m trying to get a bit of fitness back and get the rust off. When you haven’t played for so long you just need to get back on the field and try and get some minutes under your belt. Even if this season leads to me getting a full, proper pre-season next year and back into shape for next year that would be good.”

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