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Ferdinand and Vidic attend Blackberry Clinic

25th November, 2011

England defender Rio Ferdinand and his Manchester United teammate Nemanja Vidic have visited the Blackberry Clinic, a specialist sports clinic based in Milton Keynes, in a bid to save their top level football careers.

United have placed their faith in the Clinic, which has developed a reputation for forward-thinking methods that work and for employing some of the best musculoskeletal physicians in the world.

Clinic director Simon Petrides oversees the progress of footballers referred to the clinic. Both players have recently returned to first team action and played the full 90 minutes in the successful visit to Swansea City at the weekend, in a 1-0 victory for the Premiership champions. Ferdinand has admitted that his frequent visits to the Clinic have made a significant contribution to helping him to get back into contention for selection in Sir Alex Ferguson's team.

"My spine was too loose," said Ferdinand. "There was no stability there, so I wasn't able to move as freely as I had been in the past. The specialist came up with a treatment he thought was appropriate and assured me there wouldn't be any future problems. He kept saying: "Listen, you are going to be fine." So it was a six-week course [of Prolotherapy] with an injection once a week to stiffen up the ligaments in the spine. I felt relief almost immediately."

Speaking to The Guardian last year, the former England captain described the procedure in more detail: "The jab goes into your ligaments and you have to train during that period, too. If you stop training, obviously the ligaments get set in one position. You have to keep working to make sure the spine heals the right way. He [Simon Petrides] warned there would be a couple of deferred problems along the way, but they would be minor. They expect a redirection of some of the nerve pain to different areas. I'm feeling good now."

There is stiff competition for first team places at United, not least due to the encouraging starts that Phil Jones and Chris Smalling have made to their Old Trafford careers. But both Ferdinand and Vidic are determined to stay fit and retain their positions at the heart of the Manchester United defence for a few seasons to come.