The former head physiotherapist at Ulster Rugby has become the Irish Football Association’s first full-time physiotherapist.
Gareth Robinson has been appointed as the association’s Elite Youth Physiotherapist.
In the newly created role Robinson will provide physiotherapy support in the elite player development phase which covers girls up to the age of 19 and boys aged up to 17, including players at the Irish FA JD Academy.
The experienced physio has previously worked with Tottenham Hotspur, Ulster Rugby, Ireland Rugby and the JD Academy.
Andy Waterworth, Head of Elite Player Development at the Irish FA, explained: “As well as co-ordinating our physiotherapy programme, Gareth’s role will also extend to looking at trends in the elite youth game such as maturation and age relative effect and burnout across the male/female pathway.
“This is a newly created role that will complement the elite player pathway and provides an opportunity to ensure continuity of service across underage elite squads.”
Robinson first entered the world of elite performance physiotherapy in 1998 when he became assistant physio to the first team at Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur.
He returned home to Northern Ireland in 2000 and then spent 18 years as head physiotherapist at Ulster Rugby where he looked after the senior team, led a department and ensured service delivery to underage representative squads.
During this period he also worked with Ireland’s senior international squad as well as the Ireland A and U21 squads.
In 2019 Robinson was lead physiotherapist for the famous invitational rugby union club Barbarians during their autumn tour. Former Ireland and Ulster skipper Rory Best played his last professional game during that tour.
He first joined the Irish FA physiotherapy set-up, on a part-time basis, in 2018. He was physio for U17, U18 and U19 boys’ international squads and last year he became lead physiotherapist at the Irish FA JD Academy, a role which also included responsibility for the U16 international squad.
Robinson, who was also the physiotherapist with NIFL Premiership side Glentoran from 2019 until 2021, said: “I am really pleased and excited to be joining the Irish FA and to have this opportunity.
“I know that my experience in elite performance sport will ensure that the physiotherapy provision for our elite pathways is delivered and the service complements the football and physical development of our young players.”
Image: Gareth Robinson with his kit bag, which bears the name of his friend Nevin Spence, the former Ireland and Ulster Rugby player who tragically died in a farm accident in 2012.