A lot of footballers are given the tag of being “injury prone” because they spend so much time on the sidelines with a variety of niggling injuries rather than spending their time out on the pitch. Some of the very best players in the world pick up problems that put them out for several weeks at a time – including the world’s most expensive player, Gareth Bale, who has had a number of hamstring problems and now seems to be having issues with his back and ankle.
The question is though, are the players who spend so much time out injured genuinely injury prone, or have they been over-worked to such an extent that injuries are inevitable? Teams at the very top level employ sports scientists to monitor the physical conditioning of each player, while modern equipment like the compression clothing from http://www.compressionsportswear.co.uk/ helps to keep the muscles warm and reduce the risk of injuries.
Nothing frustrates supporters more than watching one of their top players walking off during the game, assisted by the physio, or worse still being carried down the tunnel on a stretcher. When it’s someone who is frequently injured, however, it becomes even more annoying because you spend your time wondering quite what is wrong with that particular player.
The actual answer is, their body just isn’t in the same condition as some of the other top players in terms of its structure. While they might look like fantastic specimens that have been designed in a science lab of some kind, they’re still human beings underneath and no amount of training on the pitch or in the gym can cover the fact that their muscle fibres aren’t as strong as other players’ and that injuries do just happen.
A lot of players have had so many injuries that they’ve been forced to give up the game because they’re never going to reach the level they were once at – or could have reached. The likes of Owen Hargreaves and Dean Ashton were both forced to retire due to a series of injuries that took their toll eventually with both players missing a full season with a combination of injury problems (Hargreaves with tendonitis aged 32 and Ashton with an ankle problem aged just 26).
The problem is that a lot of the players struggling with injury problems have come into the game in an era when there are more games than ever before, and players are working much harder than previous generations in training. The sports scientists might be able to monitor how far each player ran during a game, measure their speed and also be able to judge when an injury is likely to occur, but they can’t physically stop it happening without telling the manager not to play them – something many can’t choose to do at certain points in the season or for certain fixtures and they end up, like Ashton, burning out before they reach their peak.
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