Manchester United appoints Toshiba as official supplier of medical systems

26 October 2012

Toshiba Medical Systems has signed an agreement to become the Official Medical Systems Partner for Manchester United football club. The company will provide state-of-the-art medical equipment to a new medical centre at the club’s training ground at Carrington, Manchester. The five-year partnership was first announced last month.

At an event at the club’s Old Trafford stadium on 18 October, Mr Chikao Kamijima, CEO of Toshiba Medical Systems Europe, Mr Mark Holmshaw, Vice President Sales and Service Europe and Toshiba Medical Systems’ Chief Marketing Executive Mr Hiroyuki Tachikawa were welcomed by manager Sir Alex Ferguson, club executives and first team stars Ryan Giggs, Nani and Shinji Kagawa.

Kagawa will be making use of the medical facilities as the club has just announced that he will be out for three to four weeks following an injury received during the Champion's League game against Braga last Tuesday.

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has hailed the signing of the agreement as the biggest step forward the Premier League club has taken in many years. Speaking at the ceremony, Sir Alex said: “We have made a couple of big signings this summer but this is a ‘big signing’ for us and probably the most important step forward we have taken in a long, long time.”

The scanning equipment Toshiba will install at Carrington will help in screening and early diagnosis of injury, improve player welfare and also facilitate research into early markers of potentially preventable injuries and ways of maintaining player career longevity at elite level.

Mr Holmshaw described the partnership as a “world first” which will form the basis of a long-term relationship and will ensure that the world class players and staff at Manchester United will receive the best possible care from a company dedicated to helping physicians and clinicians achieve the best possible outcomes for their patients.

“Through this partnership,” Mr Holmshaw added, “we will work with the medical staff at Manchester United with the aim of optimising preventative medicine techniques, injury outcomes and rehabilitation programmes following long-term injuries. In addition to helping diagnose, treat and prevent injuries we are also hopeful that we can add another level to existing practices for screening and early diagnosis.”

Mr Kamijima, who was presented with a signed first team shirt, spoke of a “great brand match” between the two organisations. He pointed out that the innovative ethos of both entities means a mutual desire to constantly improve and added: “This exciting opportunity will enable both Toshiba Medical Systems and Manchester United to push the boundaries of sports medicine in a controlled environment to facilitate new treatment pathways and techniques which will eventually be to the benefit of all.”

Having the facility in-house will ensure confidentiality for players with illness or injury, while the enhanced cardiac and general health screening as well as research into early signs of preventable injury will help extend players’ careers and health – something already seen at Manchester United with Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Edwin van der Sar.

Giggs said: “It’s fantastic to have such state-of-the-art equipment at the training ground. I believe the club will be the first to use this equipment as it isn’t available anywhere else in the UK yet. It means that having scans or medicals will be much more convenient as everything is there and to hand.”

He joined the club as a schoolboy when the club’s medical staff was much smaller and access to advanced medical equipment and physiotherapy was limited for the players. But with the current Carrington training ground being redeveloped and updated Giggs added: “It’s no surprise that United are working with Toshiba Medical Systems and now have the latest equipment.”

Manchester United club doctor, Dr Steve McNally, pointed out that the equipment would offer major benefits to players and medical staff and added: “We have always been fortunate to enjoy pretty good access to imaging facilities in the locality but having such equipment on site will be much more convenient and less disruptive in terms of affecting training programmes and our rehabilitation programmes and the convenience also means we will have much better opportunities to use imaging as a regular part of our daily routine.”

Dr McNally expects more privacy, confidentiality and a much better all-round experience for players as patients and is looking forward to the Toshiba installation allowing the club’s medical team to look at players over a period of time and also across the age range. “The biggest benefit long term,” he anticipates, “will be in the field of injury prevention.”

Japanese star Shinji Kagawa, who joined United during the summer, was particularly pleased that such an established company from his home country was now part of the club. “Manchester United is well known for being a leader in football and now it is the first to have its own medical equipment at its training ground,” he said. “I think that it is great that they can attract companies like Toshiba Medical Systems and install state-of-the-art equipment in the training facilities.”


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