O'Neill: We Will Continue to Look at Every Aspect From a Medical Point of View
Thursday, 11th Feb 2021 15:23
General manager of football operations Lee O’Neill says "nothing goes unturned" as the Blues look for reasons behind the injury problems which have plagued the squad over the last few years but adds that Town aren't the only club to have had such issues.
Last week, Kane Vincent-Young’s long-awaited return was put on hold for another six weeks after the right-back hyper-extended his knee in training.
The 24-year-old has been out of action since October 2019 having undergone two groin operations during that campaign. He returned in pre-season but suffered an achilles problem which has subsequently kept him sidelined and was close to being back in match action before picking up his latest injury.
However, Vincent-Young is far from the only player the Blues have lost to injury in recent seasons - 13 were unavailable for the Oxford match in December - and the ex-Colchester man is similarly not unique in having suffered setbacks during his recovery and rehabilitation.
O’Neill says he has looked into factors which may have contributed to the injury problems.
“First of all, contrary to what other people say externally, I know that our medical team and ground staff and everyone else work extremely hard to try and provide the best possible facilities and the best possible outcome for all of our players,” he told TWTD.
“We recruit staff that have got expertise and knowledge in that area. I have looked into the traction control of grass, I’ve looked into footwear, I’ve looked into training loads, GPS, everything.
“Unfortunately there are things we don’t have answers to. There are some things you can attribute soft tissue injuries to in relation to the way people train. There are contact injuries, we’re in a contact sport, that you cannot legislate for.
“They are very common also outside Ipswich Town, they do happen at other clubs. We’ve had more than most, but that is what it is, we have had injuries and we will continue to look at every aspect from the medical point of view.
“[Physio] Matt [Byard] and his staff work very hard to try and make sure the lads are fully fit. With Kane in particular they have been very diligent in trying to get him rehabilitated back to being able to get out on the grass.
“We obviously delayed his game experience and made sure he had a good amount of training in place and he simply got his studs caught in the grass and hyper-extended.
“Very unfortunate but it’s part of football unfortunately, people do get injured. We will continue to observe and review everything and it’s on a yearly basis, month-by-month, week-by-week, we look at everything. I don’t have the answers unfortunately.
“We speak to other clubs, look at Arsenal, look at Liverpool now, they’ve got the best of everything, they really have, so to have four central defenders out, to have their centre forwards out, for Arsenal to have the number of injuries they have season upon season, they looked at everything. There is no explanation of some aspects.
“Even when we’re recruiting players [we look at those] that have had robustness, that have been playing week in, week out, at their previous injury history. We looked at all of that but unfortunately for us Kane has had a few since he’s come here.
“He is as determined as ever to work hard and we’re hoping it’s only a small blip and in four-to-six weeks he might be back again.
“We’ve just got to keep working hard with the players and try and avoid getting injuries, but if you speak to other clubs they’re not dissimilar.”
He says the pandemic and the protocols which have been put in place haven’t helped matters.
“We can’t do the normal things we were doing prior to lockdown," he added. "Turning up in your car, going out and training, going straight back in your car and go back home again, that’s not normal, you would have had massage, recovery rooms, doing extra strength training and stuff like that.
“It’s been very difficult to do our normal programme over the last nine months. Players have had that difficulty as well.
“A shorter pre-season, getting back again and going back into a games programme as quickly as we did, the most condensed games programme we’ve ever had with the number of games we’ve played in a short period of time, it’s just not normal and I don’t have the answers unfortunately, I wish I did.
“But we will continue to keep reviewing everything and continue to look at everything and we’ll definitely search out and seek new advice, you always look at new footwear, you look at everything, the whole lot. Nothing goes unturned to try and get answers.”
Photo: Matchday Images
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