There are few things quite as frustrating as seeing your club put together a good season, only to have them lose a star player due to injury, derail the entire season, and end the chances of collecting any trophies. For some clubs, the injury bug seems to be much more infectious than it does for others.
Superstitious supporters will tend to believe that their club has been cursed, but there is far more to it than anything supernatural. There can be several reasons one club suffers more injuries than others, and we’ll break down some of the most common reasons.
The Pitch Type
The English Premier League is known for having some of the best-looking grass in the world, as there’s a high standard for pitches across the league. While most clubs have their pitches down to a science, there are some that are lacking in the pitch department. Some clubs haven’t invested in pitch types that are safer for players, and a bad pitch can result in a slew of ankle or knee injuries.
The clubs at the top of the fixture each year invest a lot into making sure that their pitches are perfect to protect their highly-paid players. Those that are lower in the fixture, though, may not be able to afford the upgrades. Jason Booth is the director of the Grounds Management Association, and he said that “We’ve had some clubs (that) have had to cut their cloth.” Even American football has the same problem, with some pitch types resulting in an increase of ACL injuries.
The more fatigued somebody is, the more prone they are to injury. One major study concluded that “fatigued muscles are able to absorb less energy before reaching the degree of stretch that causes injuries.” Because of this, it’s important that all of the players are in great condition, and the staff is responsible for making sure that they’re at that level.
Of course, with the football schedule the way it is, not every player is going to have time to work on their conditioning outside of matches. There are very few breaks throughout the year, and managers have to keep their stars accountable. Also, when a player is showing signs of serious fatigue, a good manager will pull them from a match before injury occurs.
There are certain ebbs and flows to a match at the Premier League level, and you can certainly tell the difference when watching an EPL match compared to lower levels. Some of the players aren’t accustomed to the speed and strategy of an EPL match, and that can lead to injuries. Accidents happen when a player is in the wrong spot or can take risks that cause them to crash into other players at a high speed.
This is why supporters of all sports are nervous to see their star players go against those that are inexperienced. Many of the top players are pulled from matches early or withheld altogether as their talents aren’t needed to beat the more inexperienced clubs, so the injury risk isn’t worth them playing.
There was a time when players would power through injuries because they didn’t want to lose their spot on a squad. However, players weren’t given millions every year. These days, players are a much larger investment for a club, and they want to know when their stars feel even the slightest bit of pain so that they can keep them out of the lineup.
Athletes are also receiving top care from health professionals, whereas in years past, they would simply take a few painkillers and get back on the pitch. Teams at the highest level have far more reported injuries due to the perceived minor ones being taken seriously.
While these are the main reasons some clubs have more injuries than others, sometimes it comes down to just plain dumb luck. Even the most conditioned and experienced players can find themselves with a torn ACL or a concussion from just being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Injuries happen all the time, and they’ll continue to happen to your favorite club, unfortunately.