Keeping the Wolves from the physio's doorSaturday, January 26 2019
Injuries had a “significant influence” on team performance in professional football an 11-year UEFA Champions League study concluded back in 2012. The main finding was a correlation between low season injury rates and increased performance domestically.
Wolverhampton Wanderers had been tipped for a top half finish in the Premier League following an impressive 2017/18 Championship campaign. A season which saw Nuno Espírito Santo benefit from a squad largely unaffected by injury.
"We do a full screen on all the players when they come back from pre-season," Head of Medical Phil Hayward explained during a behind-the-scenes tour undertaken by 5 Live Sport in 2018. "We'll get a clear picture of how each player moves, what happens to each of their joints, and according to that we'll have a clearer idea of areas which may be exposed to certain injuries. We'll then put some programmes in place to help prevent those injuries."
And a quick look at the injury table tells you everything you need to know about how the squad is faring currently. Wolves boast a clean bill of health and haven’t reported any fresh absences for over six weeks – Diogo Jota (hamstring) in December being the last.
They have suffered only 4 significant injuries (9+ days) this term, the fewest of any top-flight side and almost a third of the next best. To give some perspective - Manchester United have eight-times as many reported problems (32) although they are involved in European competition which has resulted in five additional competitive games.
Increased exposure to game play = higher risk of injury incidence.
A valid point, until you consider that United suffer on average 1 injury for every game played compared to that of Wolves which is around 1 in every 607 minutes.
Of those four injuries, one was muscular – hamstring – and another occurred whilst on international duty – Jonny MCL knee. Having lost 76 days in total to injury, Wolves not only suffer less, but those sidelined return to play quicker on average (19 days) - almost a week faster than their league counterparts (25.7 days).
In recognition of their success during 2017/18, Wolverhampton Wanderers were awarded the ‘Medicine and Performance Team Award’ by the Football Medicine and Performance Association. An accolade which could be bestowed upon them once again come May.
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