London (AFP) – Newcastle United’s doctor warned on Tuesday that Premier League clubs are preparing for “a lot more injuries” as players return to full training ahead of this month’s restart.
UK government guidance has paved the way for teams to resume full-contact training, with the season set to resume on June 17 after being suspended for several months because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We are expecting more injuries at this time,” Newcastle doctor Paul Catterson told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“The players have been running on treadmills and working indoors for eight weeks so that transition is a different stimulus for the body.”
He added: “There was an NFL lockout a few years ago and there was an increase in Achilles injuries so we are looking at that.
“We have had players asking if they can have ice baths after training and they can’t at the moment — all we can do is give them ice to take home. It’s like going back 15 years.”
Stringent health measures have been put in place at all top-flight clubs to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including twice-weekly testing of players and staff and thorough cleaning of all equipment.
“I am confident now that a Premier League training ground is one of the safest environments around,” said Catterson.
But he added a huge responsibility lay with the players when they were away from club premises.
“We are only as strong as our weakest link,” explained Catterson.
“So far we have had no positive results and we can only do that if we stop the players from being complacent.”
Meanwhile, Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud said that he wished he could have better post-training treatment.
“Something else that’s changed compared to usual pre-seasons is that we only get 15 minutes of treatment after training,” Giroud told Chelsea’s website.
“Normally in pre-season, you’re very demanding with your muscles and use them a lot, especially when you haven’t been training for over two months.
“Muscles strain and creak but we respect the rules from the government and the Premier League.
“I’ll admit that if I could have more care and treatment to look after my body, it would be better.”
Nevertheless, even though Giroud said almost all of his team-mates got blisters after resuming training, he added it was a “pure joy to be back on the pitch”.
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