Dunfermline Athletic

Meet Jamie Sutton

Thursday, 2nd Jul 2020

“ I have been working through the Covid crisis trying to get to know the players and if anyone has any niggles through this time, trying to get them back when they are allowed, with no big issues.

Dunfermline’s first signing for next season was not a player but a physio. Following the departure of Kevin Bain to St Mirren, Jamie Sutton has joined the backroom team.

Jamie joins from St Johnstone where he shared physio duties with Mel Stewart. He hails from Hamilton, but the one in New Zealand, having trained at the University of Auckland and gained valuable experience in numerous activities in a country renowned for its interest in sport.

Jamie explained how someone from the other side of the world came to be in this post at Dunfermline:-

“You can tell from my accent that I am from New Zealand. My wife, Leah, is Scottish and lived in the Highlands before moving to New Zealand but we moved back over a couple of years ago. This is probably us for good, for the longer term anyway.

“I am from Hamilton originally which is semi famous because of The Hobbit movies but I have been living in Auckland for the previous six or seven years until we moved over here. I was working in football in Auckland as well.”

Jamie has represented New Zealand in both in-line speed skating and short track skating.

“I used to compete in speed skating for New Zealand. I trained with the Olympic squad over there for a while before I went back and finished my physio qualifications. It is fairly well-known in Scotland because world number one woman is Scottish. (Elise Christie) I really hope that she does a lot better over the next couple of seasons because she is definitely a good athlete.

“I lived in Melbourne, Australia for 12 months to train the Australian short track skating team as part of the Olympic Winter Institute of Sport. That is where my passion lies but I’m interested in most sports. Being from New Zealand you get a lot of rugby but I grew up on football and that is why I want to work more in football but I like winter sports as well. Once I started to get more involved in football and working within clubs the skating fell by the wayside a little bit.”

Jamie’s involvement in football started at Auckland City, a club well known on the world stage having now competed in twelve World Club Championships. There he looked after the youth and academy players. Then he made the move to Scotland:-

“When I came over here towards the middle of the season 2018-19 I went in to St Johnstone. There I worked alongside Mel Stewart looking after players from youth team, reserves and first team. On match days I was with the first team but it was quite a varied role working across lots of ages and stages in development.

“It has been a bit of an interesting start to a job. I was meant to come in April but obviously Coronavirus hit. I have been working through the Covid crisis trying to get to know the players and if anyone has any niggles through this time, trying to get them back when they are allowed, with no big issues.

“It is a voluntary thing, we can’t enforce them to do anything. Players on furlough don’t have to talk to me but if they have issues or concerns then they can always approach me and always ask for help.”

Jamie is concerned that while furloughed the players will do too much road running.

“We have normal pathways from end of season, they have their time off, get their recovery and then they start their off season plans to come in nice and fresh to start the pre season. Obviously it has not gone that way this year with the Covid 19 crisis.

“What I find is that more players are doing more mileage than what they are probably used to and definitely more running on the road. Will that have an impact on players? Time will tell I guess, you cannot look into your crystal ball and guess but we know from lots of research that is going on that changing surfaces is a big problem.

“The boys will be used to more grass based running but they will probably adapt over the next couple of weeks to being on the road but the problem is once we get them back into training they have to adapt to being on grass again which is one of our biggest concerns.

“We can’t actively tell them what they need to be doing, what they should and shouldn’t do. You have to rely on their common sense which a lot of them do keeping themselves fit while trying not to push boundaries too far.”

The timetable is an ever evolving situation at the moment. From a medical point of view and a strength and conditioning point of view, the physio would love the players to be back as soon as possible and start assessing where their strength and weaknesses lie.

“From a club point of view it is a near impossible situation, there is no right or wrong. There is no set time frame as far as I know at the moment but we will work towards that October kick off date.”

Save for Stevie Crawford, Jamie has not met any members of staff because they are all on furlough.

“It is only myself and the manager who are on call for players if they need anything. It is a challenging situation but that is something that we are going to have to try and overcome.

“I will be doing all the medical for the players that we are trying to sign and making sure that when we do get players back in who are currently contracted to the club, that they are not carrying problems through their off season. I am the first port of call.”

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