The start of the 2014/15 Premier League season is just a few days away, and excitement levels are off the charts.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a player, manager, coach, physio or fan; it’s hard to match the sense of anticipation that we all feel as a brand new campaign draws nearer. Whether you play for Burnley or Manchester City, this is the only time of year when everybody is equal and all of us can dream about impending glory.
For some sports stars, however, this is an extremely difficult time.
Heartbreaking Sports Injuries
Anybody who has suffered a sports injury will be well aware of just how devastating it can be to have all of your meticulous preparation and planning suddenly thrown into disarray.
At Summit Physio, we work with a number of footballers, so we know that mentally it’s particularly difficult for them to recover from a long-term injury alone in the gym while their teammates are out on the training pitch preparing for the next match. While most footballers – aided by the very best physiotherapists and rehabilitation technology in the world – usually make a speedy recovery, there are plenty that are constantly blighted by injuries.
In some cases, some footballers have been forced to retire prematurely. Two high-profile players that immediately spring to mind in this case are Dean Ashton and Ledley King.
A Potential Hammers Legend
Dean Ashton was just hitting his stride when he was forced to retire in 2009 at the age of 26. He suffered an ankle injury while on England duty, and he wasn’t able to shake it off.
A £7.25 million signing for West Ham United, Ashton bagged 19 goals in 56 appearances for the club, and was seen as one of the best all-round English centre forwards in the country at one point. It’s always a shame when a talented player has to hang his boots up early, but there was something about the huge potential that Ashton was displaying prior to his injury that made this particular case all the more galling, even to neutrals.
A Rolls Royce of a Defender
You don’t have to be a huge football fan to know that Tottenham’s Ledley King had something special. Often referred to as a “Rolls Royce of a defender”, it was a running joke that King’s chronic knee problems prevented him from training all week, yet he’d still be one of the best players on the pitch come the weekend.
Injuries eventually caught up with the former England international, and he announced his retirement in 2012 at the age of 31.
Are Times Changing?
We’ve already seen that players are returning from common injuries much sooner than they used to.
Technological advancements and improved physio methodology are helping players not only to overcome niggling injuries, but to prevent those injuries from happening in the first place. At Summit Physio, we always believe that prevention is better than cure, and our programmes are designed to minimise the risk of injury in all sportspeople. Our cutting-edge screening process is officially used in the Premier League, and it will make a big difference.
Of course, the nature of the game means that some injuries are unavoidable and for the likes of Ashton and King, it’s hard to speculate whether more modern methods would have helped them overcome their long-standing problems. What cannot be denied, however, is that young footballers emerging through the ranks of our professional football clubs now have a distinct advantage over their predecessors, and have all the tools at their disposal to enjoy a long and fruitful career.