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.
Ben is football’s leading injury specialist. The ‘go-to’ guru for big hitters like Sky Sports, ESPN and NBC Sports when they need data. Or the BBC, talkSPORT and the broadsheets when a quote is required. His unique insight has helped provide a better understanding of what is really happening in the treatment rooms.
Johnny is a respected physiotherapist and sports scientist, specialising in football injuries and rehab. Johnny has headed up the medical departments at Chesterfield, Scunthorpe and Notts County. Overseeing everything from player-specific training loads to pre-signing medicals. He has a proven record working with elite athletes in Private Practice and is regularly called upon throughout Europe to deliver presentations on the latest rehab innovations.
Matt's short, unremarkable football career was ended by his own bad driving. His long, distinguished career as a football tipster was ended by his own good advice. Because bookmakers don’t like a winner. First, they closed his accounts. Then his members’ accounts. Then his tipping service. And now they employ him as a consultant. Funny old game.