Premier league injury watch – same old story?

Undergraduate perspective on Sport & Exercise Medicine  a BJSM blog series

By Jonathan Shurlock (@J_Shurlock)

A new football season is upon us, with the premier league back in action alongside the lower divisions which recently kicked off. Already much of the focus is on who is going to be contending for the premier league title this year, with pundits everywhere adding their two cents. Sporting commentary is filled with often repeated; supposedly insightful phrases. One such adage, which remains true is that to win the league you need to win games. One of the most important undertakings in this process is keeping players healthy, as was nicely explored by Michael Davison recently.[1] In this vein, and inspired by the injury tracking work at the PhysioRoom website, we thought it pertinent to carry out a semi-regular review of premier league injuries. We will aim to give a brief overview of recent injury profiles, and which teams are struggling with injury burden, followed by a more in-depth look at specific injury types.

A review of the weekend’s premier league action indicates seven new injuries picked up by players from five different teams. Before reading ahead, we challenge you to have a go at predicting which injury type was most prevalent amongst these seven. Are you at all surprised that the most frequent injury type seen in the opening weekend is of the hamstring muscles? Simon Francis of Bournemouth, Isaiah Brown of Brighton & Hove Albion, and Paul Dummet of Newcastle all picked up new hamstring injuries; the most common single injury seen in football (More on this topic in this past blog).[2] It certainly seems to be a relevant time to discuss hamstring injury, off the back of watching Usain Bolt bow out from his track career with a potential hamstring injury.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMmMIK1-LGw

Despite increasing knowledge of the mechanism of hamstring injury, and ongoing research outputs on diagnosis, management and re-injury, the burden of hamstring injury has actually increased in recent years.[3] Perhaps this is due to increased work load, or perhaps due to clubs not utilising evidence based prevention programmes.[4] One thing appears clear, we’re still not getting it right.

The BJSM team have covered hamstring injury in almost every multi-media format, including one of their most popular podcasts with Gustaaf Reurink (http://bit.ly/1zsDDDS). It’s certainly worth checking out the various outputs from Gus’ PhD as they give some great insight into topical areas of hamstring injury including Platelet-rich-plasma use and role of MRI.

Struggling to remember useful hamstring exercises? Have a watch of the following videos for a refresher:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TO47AQuYphE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=McvuPAInukY&feature=youtu.be

There’s plenty more BJSM hamstring to get into get stuck into via blog posts, podcasts and editorials (just click on the “Hamstring” tag to the right). We’ll revisit in a few weeks and keep an eye on which teams are struggling with injuries, and whether hamstring remains the most common injury type. Additionally we will develop a more in-depth look at the diagnosis, management and return-to-play decisions for some of these injuries.

References

  1. Davison M. Extra workload will disrupt rhythm of the champions. The Telegraph. 2017;
  2. Askling C. Types of hamstring injuries in sports. Br J Sports Med. 2011 Feb 1;45(2):e2–e2.
  3. Ekstrand J, Waldén M, Hägglund M. Hamstring injuries have increased by 4% annually in men’s professional football, since 2001: a 13-year longitudinal analysis of the UEFA Elite Club injury study. Br J Sports Med. 2016 Jun;50(12):731–7.
  4. Bahr R, Thorborg K, Ekstrand J. Evidence-based hamstring injury prevention is not adopted by the majority of Champions League or Norwegian Premier League football teams: the Nordic Hamstring survey. Br J Sports Med. 2015 Nov;49(22):1466–71.

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Jonathan Shurlock is an academic foundation year 2 doctor based in Sheffield. He coordinates the BJSM Undergraduate Perspective blog series. If you would like to contribute to the blog series please email jhshurlock@gmail.com.

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