Looking after number one is taking off

By Matthew Pryor
The Times, Thursday 7th September 2006

Important though the health and wellbeing of Marcus Trescothick is, it should not faze the man leading the company looking after him. David Raines, the chief operating officer of Performance Healthcare, the company “supporting the physical and emotional wellbeing of sports professionals and private individuals”, according to its website, spent seven months in Iraq two years ago as director of public buildings, health and education for the United States Government.

Raines started a $1 billion (about £580 million) reconstruction programme that included 800 schools and 150 healthcare centres. “The scale of the job meant working 15 hours a day, seven days a week, wearing body armour for all meetings, travelling in armoured vehicles and sleeping in 20ft containers inside Baghdad’s green zone,” he said after being named 2005 British Consultants and Contractors Bureau (BCCB) Individual of the Year.

As well as running Performance Healthcare and being a former chairman of the BCCB, he is a director of LSA Healthcare Ltd, British Expertise and Health Network Associates Ltd and Iraq HC Consultants Ltd.

The Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA) hired Performance Healthcare last season to run a confidential 24-hour helpline in response to emotional and psychological needs of a number of its members. It has already helped half a dozen professional cricketers in England.

The PCA has tried to remove the stigma from sportsmen asking for help. It sends a representative to every county to advertise the services available and all players are given a card to carry in their wallet with the helpline number on it.

With so much money in top-level sport, players’ psychological health has become a big business. Performance Healthcare offers a range of services. It says that it offers psychotherapy and medical advice to sportspeople worldwide.

“After his return from the tour of India in March, Marcus sought specialist help for his ongoing symptoms,” a Performance Healthcare spokesman said. “In addition to the deleterious effects of the acquired gastrointestinal infection on his health, it later became evident that he was also suffering from an underlying stress-related illness.”

As well as help for mind and body, Performance Healthcare also offers life coaching. “Fundamentally, we are trying to prevent players from getting into problems of substance abuse [drugs and alcohol] and marital issues,” Raines said when the helpline was set up.