Injuries, and how they are dealt with, have become a large talking point in modern football.
Most fans, when discussing their team’s fortunes throughout a season, will at some point discuss injuries. Whether that be trying to excuse poor runs by showing the injury record that they’ve had to deal with, or simply trying to predict how long a player will be on the sidelines for.
This week, The Real EFL got the opportunity thanks to the team at stocklytics.com to speak with Ben Dinnery, an injury analyst, to provide an overview of the sport’s complex world of fitness and injuries.
“The assumption is if a team has a high injury burden, the first default is to blame the medical department, say the physio is rubbish, the club doctor is rubbish when those members of staff are reacting to what happens on the pitch, they typically have no involvement in the coaching or determining the load on players,” Ben told the site exclusively.
January transfer deadline day is fast approaching and it is expected that there will be the typical flurry of late activity, and one of the key stages in any deal is a medical for the player. These are often billed in the media as a test that must either be passed or failed by a subject of a transfer, but it is not as black and white as that.
“In an ideal scenario, a manager would outline a list of targets and the club doctor, the physio may do some due diligence on the player, that may last a week or two,” the analyst explained. “They would find out where the player was in terms of availability, in terms of his playing minutes, in terms of injury burden, before then spending a few days really putting the player through their paces. What the club doctor is then doing is creating a document of recommendations, for the club to make a decision on.”
On fast-paced deadline days, a full process like this often is not possible.
“Some club doctors have been called at 5 pm on a deadline day to get down to the club to run a player through the most basic of medicals to hopefully get them signed on. You may be taking a bit of a punt.”
There are a lot of myths around the medical side of the game. The best thing to remember is that no two cases are the same, these are humans, not robots.