Injuries – The Hits Just Keep On Coming

Oh rapture. Bacary Sagna has joined the ranks of the Arsenal walking wounded alongside Cesc Fàbregas, Robin van Persie, Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey, Thomas Vermaelen, Nicklas Bendtner, Abou Diaby, Manuel Almunia and Emmanuel Frimpong.
Sagna is likely to be out for three weeks or so. Not what we wanted to hear. We can but hope that our players suffer no further injuries in the second round of international matches tomorrow. With only one point out of nine in the last three League games we need to get back on the horse a bit lively on Saturday against Birmingham City. As it is already a big gap has opened up between us and Chelsea at the top.
One of the things mentioned in chief executive Ivan Gazidis’ section of the annual report and accounts are plans for a new medical rehabilitation facility at our training ground out in Hertfordshire at London Colney. We need not only to invest in buildings and equipment in this area but make sure we’re investing in the right expertise and experience too.
I’ve mentioned in the past that Brazil has a lot to offer in this area. The financial management of the game in Brazil is too often marked with incompetence and corruption. The prevention and treatment of injuries is cutting edge however. Necessity being the mother of invention, Brazilian clubs can’t afford to have injury take senior players out of action for too long. The clubs’ squads simply aren’t big enough given the tight budgets.
The reaction to this has been for the senior clubs to build up excellent expertise in the prevention and treatment of injuries. Each club has a permanent comissão técnica (technical committee) comprising experts in sports medicine, sports psychology, physiotherapy and so on. It’s not all change whenever the manager changes (which is all too frequently in Brazil). That allows for continuity and for a body of expertise to be built up.
We’re now using a state of the art GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) system to track players in training. This will become more and more helpful as data is built up on each player, allowing the coaching and medical staff to predict when a player’s body is likely to break down through injury thus allowing remedial action before rather than after the event.
Whilst each sport places different stresses and strains on the body, and even within one sport playing tactics and style can have an influence there’s always something to learn from other clubs and countries and other sports. I’ve said before that football tends to be very insular, no more so than in this country. We need to look for any edge we can get over the competition.  I’d like to see an expert panel set up within the club charged with looking at ideas and approaches in sports medicine elsewhere inside and outside of football. We clearly need to be right on the cutting edge in this area. Our continuing run of injuries can’t be just down to bad luck.
Keep the faith!

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