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The ACL Epidemic

A_G

Rice Rice Baby 🎼🎵
Moderator

In normal times, the news that Chelsea midfielder Carney Chukwuemeka required knee surgery this week would be a source of significant concern. Chukwuemeka, after all, is only 19. But these are not normal times in elite football and for the midfielder to be ruled out for around six weeks instead feels like a cause for mild relief.

Strange as it might sound, Chukwuemeka is one of the lucky ones. In recent weeks, an extraordinarily high number of top players across Europe have not been quite so fortunate. The list of stars who have suffered serious knee injuries since the start of pre-season is unusually – and worryingly – long.

At Aston Villa, they have had two anterior cruciate ligament injuries already (Emi Buendia and Tyrone Mings). There have also been two ACL injuries at Real Madrid (Thibaut Courtois and Eder Militao). Arsenal’s Jurrien Timber has suffered an ACL injury, too, as has Chelsea’s Wesley Fofana. Monaco’s Breel Embolo had an ACL rupture earlier this month, while former Manchester City midfielder David Silva has retired after an ACL injury of his own.

Analysis by Ben Dinnery, of Premier Injuries, shows that only four ACL injuries were reported in the Premier League in the entirety of the 2022/23 season, and only five in the season before. This time around, including pre-season, there have already been four.

The issue is not limited to ACLs. Chelsea’s Christopher Nkunku, a £52 million signing from RB Leipzig, has been ruled out until December after surgery on a knee injury that he picked up in pre-season. Arsenal’s Gabriel Jesus has also had a knee operation, although he is expected to be out for weeks rather than months. Kevin De Bruyne has been ruled out for months after surgery on his hamstring.

There is an acceptance within the game that serious injuries are more likely at this time of the season than at any other point of the campaign. This is largely due to the sudden increase in intensity when competitive action begins.

But to see so many issues, so early in the season, is unquestionably strange. Telegraph Sport spoke to one physiotherapist at a Premier League club who was taken aback by the sheer amount of significant injuries already, particularly involving knees.

What, then, is going on? In the eyes of certain managers, including Pep Guardiola and Mikel Arteta, these problems are the result of the enormous physical demand on players. “Look how many ACLs there are,” said Guardiola last week. “They make you go to Asia, to the United States, really tough matches, derbies, big games, and people fall, and they will keep falling and falling, because the show must go on.”

Asked last week about the spate of serious injuries, Arteta said: “There is something there. The games, plus the tours, plus the World Cup in December, plus internationals – it is a lot. It is too much for the players. It is incredibly demanding. When you see the next 36 months of the calendar for those players, it is just better not to look at it, because it is incredible what they are going to have to be doing.”

Maheta Molango, the chief executive of the Professional Footballers’s Association, said that the “number one topic” in his meetings with players and managers is the issue of injury prevention and protection from burnout.

“An increase in player injuries is a natural consequence of an increasingly crowded football calendar that shows no sign of slowing down. Players feel like they are being pushed to breaking point, with one season blurring into the next,” Molango told Telegraph Sport.

“They are saying that they sometimes feel like they are simply focusing on making it through game by game. They have no time for proper recovery and are constantly fatigued or carrying injuries. It is a situation that is just not sustainable.”

When it comes to ACL injuries in particular, the situation is not simple. According to consultant knee surgeon Saket Tibrewal, more research is required for the sporting world to fully understand the cause of such serious knee problems, which are even more prevalent in the women’s game.

“ACL injuries are not really related to fatigue, as far as we know,” said Tibrewal. “More of the injuries happen in the first half of matches compared to second halves, which does not fit in with that theory. We have the National Ligament Registry and we are collecting data to look for trends. In the future we will have a better idea.”

There are theories, of course. One is that this hotter time of the year leads to harder pitches, which could play a role as a firmer surface results in more force going through the leg.

There are also risk factors – “having an ACL injury on one leg puts you at higher risk of getting a second ACL injury on the other,” said Tibrewal – and other possible explanations. One of which, as unsatisfying as it might be, is coincidence. “It could just be bad luck,” said Tibrewal.

Work is being done to find solutions, and to hopefully unearth a way to better protect footballers from these injuries. It is too late for those already on the treatment table, though, and the fear in the game is that this run of injuries is a worrying sign of things to come this season.

“How we predict who it is going to happen to is the tricky bit,” said Tibrewal. “And then how do we prevent it happening? That is the next stage.”
 

jones

Not German FFS
Trusted ⭐
Don't think there's anything in this, just a bit of a spike at this point. Four ACLs is the average per match day in Italy.

Most of these millenial fairies are just being soft let's be honest here. That giraffe Courtois is a goalkeeper what's he needing his legs for anyway.
 

Macho

CEO of Rustlers burgers.
Dusted 🔻

Country: England
Asked last week about the spate of serious injuries, Arteta said: “There is something there. The games, plus the tours, plus the World Cup in December, plus internationals – it is a lot. It is too much for the players. It is incredibly demanding. When you see the next 36 months of the calendar for those players, it is just better not to look at it, because it is incredible what they are going to have to be doing.”

Also Arteta:

But even with that injury risk, Arteta insisted he had no issue with selecting Saka whenever he can.

He said: “Look at the top players in the world, they play 70 matches, every three days and make the difference and win the game.

“You want to be at the top, you have to be able to do that. And if we start to put something different in the mind of a young player, I think we are making a huge mistake because then [he would] be like ‘No, I don’t play now, on astroturf I don’t play’.

“I don’t want that. I want them to be ruthless every three days. I want them knocking on my door (saying) ‘I want to play, I want to win the game’.

“There is no fitness coach in the world that is going to tell me that they cannot do it, because I’ve seen it. 72 games and scored 50 goals.

Also ALSO Arteta:

 

Vinci

The Sultan of Unai

Country: Netherlands
There's definitely too many games, although not sure that causes ACL injuries, more likely muscle injuries.

They could probably cut down on the traveling, with all these Super Cups and tours half way around the world.
 

albakos

Arséne Wenger: "I will miss you"
Administrator

Country: Kosova

Player:Saka
Analysis by Ben Dinnery, of Premier Injuries, shows that only four ACL injuries were reported in the Premier League in the entirety of the 2022/23 season, and only five in the season before. This time around, including pre-season, there have already been four.

The word epidemic made me think we've had over 10 or 15 already in PL alone.

Think the article is over-exagerating the effects while numbers are not as dramatic as it may seem.

Too bad that we've been at the end of it with Timber though.
 

A_G

Rice Rice Baby 🎼🎵
Moderator
The word epidemic made me think we've had over 10 or 15 already in PL alone.

Think the article is over-exagerating the effects while numbers are not as dramatic as it may seem.

Too bad that we've been at the end of it with Timber though.
There have been 7 so far if you include the ones in Europe too.
 

jones

Not German FFS
Trusted ⭐

GoonerJeeves

Established Member
Trusted ⭐

Country: Norway
I would imagine there are some statistics on injuries in top level football. It isn't too fanciful to expect serious injuries to increase if players play more.

You'd need the proper numbers with a large enough pool of players followed over time.
 

albakos

Arséne Wenger: "I will miss you"
Administrator

Country: Kosova

Player:Saka
If it was every PL club, they would’ve called it a pandemic.
:lol: :lol:

Epidemic implies regional coverage, hence I fail to see it as a PL or European epidemic

Come on..... pandemic implies worldwide coverage, if we'd call it like that, there'd have to be maybe tens of thousands of ACL injuries to label it ACL pandemic.

Screenshot_20230823_120530_Chrome.jpg

Since when is 7 injuries across Europe become a large number? :lol:
 

A_G

Rice Rice Baby 🎼🎵
Moderator
:lol: :lol:

Epidemic implies regional coverage, hence I fail to see it as a PL or European epidemic

Come on..... pandemic implies worldwide coverage, if we'd call it like that, there'd have to be maybe tens of thousands of ACL injuries to label it ACL pandemic.

View attachment 17891

Since when is 7 injuries across Europe become a large number? :lol:
7 is bigger than the number they usually see at this point of the season. Didn’t you read the article? :lol:
 

albakos

Arséne Wenger: "I will miss you"
Administrator

Country: Kosova

Player:Saka
7 is bigger than the number they usually see at this point of the season. Didn’t you read the article? :lol:
Here comes the "Did you read what I posted" defense :lol:

I read the piece you quoted and my point is that 7 injuries or 17 whatever many injuries happened in Europe where there are thousands of players playing; that is too sensationalist to call it an epidemic.

Epidemic also implies the fact that health officials are over capacity are not able to treat the whole number of infections (ACL problems), the reality is that although the numbers imply higher incidence, the treatment is going right according to the plans.

It's just that the author made the bait to sound a hysteria alarm over the *epidemic* levels of ACL injuries.
 

A_G

Rice Rice Baby 🎼🎵
Moderator
Here comes the "Did you read what I posted" defense :lol:

I read the piece you quoted and my point is that 7 injuries or 17 whatever many injuries happened in Europe where there are thousands of players playing; that is too sensationalist to call it an epidemic.

Epidemic also implies the fact that health officials are over capacity are not able to treat the whole number of infections (ACL problems), the reality is that although the numbers imply higher incidence, the treatment is going right according to the plans.

It's just that the author made the bait to sound a hysteria alarm over the *epidemic* levels of ACL injuries.
Tired Kenan Thompson GIF by NBC
 

Paperino

= Ex TimoJens > Ex Highbury_2006 > Ex ExtjExhtts

Country: Sweden
If Arteta oppose the idiotic tours in the USA he can say that to Stan Kroenke. I doubt he will, the little yes man.
 
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