Since the arrival of Dr Peter Brukner and his small army of Sport Scientists last summer, it has been hard to gauge really how successful the big changes in the medical department have been. There was a lot of talk of improving the injury situation at Anfield, with the Reds being hampered by a number of players sidelined with so called “soft tissue injuries.” Dr Brukner, a pre-eminent figure in the field of Sports Science and Medicine back in his native Australia, felt that football in particular, despite being the world’s most popular sport, had a lot to learn from other sports in regards to fitness and injury management.
This season has seen the likes of Daniel Agger, Steven Gerrard and Fabio Aurelio , three players who have lengthy injury records, being sidelined once again with recurring injuries, and it looked like any edge we would get for being at the forefront of Sports Science in football would be negligible, but Brukner talked to LFC Weekly this week about how their procedures and programmes may make a difference next campaign:
“They all have a programme. If they’re playing internationals, they’ll have a month off and the ones who are not will have six weeks off. But in this day and age you can’t just do nothing for four or six weeks. The players won’t have to do an awful lot but they will be on a maintenance programme so three or four times a week, they’ll have things to do.”
Martin Skrtel stated last week in an interview he was keeping to his programme, and it has also been mentioned that these programmes are also targeted to strengthen the weakest areas of their bodies (i.e. where they had injuries last season) and to make sure they come to pre-season training next month as strong as they can be to ensure that these injuries don’t reoccur next campaign. In addition, Brukner believes the absence of the World Cup will give the Sports Science team greater time to implement their programmes to ensure the team is in the best shape possible for next season:
“It is very different to last year when we got everyone back in dribs and drabs as and when they got eliminated from the World Cup. It will be a good opportunity for us to really work with the players. With the World Cup, we didn’t have that lengthy period of pre-season training to do that. We’re looking forward to working with them in that period. They may not be looking forward to it so much, but we are!”
Although it is very hard to see a great difference in Reds players’ injury record last season, perhaps this campaign will be different. With the Medical department in its second year at the club, knowing more about the strength and weaknesses of each player, as well as the absence of a summer tournament for the majority of the players, we should see better fitness levels next season, and hopefully it will give us an extra edge in tight matches as next campaign draws to a close.
Read more of David’s articles at Live4Liverpool