There are only a few days left until the start of the 2022 World Cup. Gong.bg will offer you opinions, expectations and predictions of people related to Bulgarian football. And since the subject of injuries has been the most discussed in recent times, our first interlocutor is Dr. Marian Dobrev, who is the doctor of the national rhythmic gymnastics team and the national under-19 football team. In his career, he has been part of Levski, CSKA and CSKA 1948.
To what do you attribute these numerous injuries before the 2022 World Cup?
– These injuries have been an expected concern, especially for the medical staffs of the big teams, because there things are prejudged. In summer, there was too little break between seasons. After that, a build-up of matches began. The matches in the Champions League and European tournaments cannot be accumulated in two months. We know how it was in previous seasons – every other week. Even if you are an extremely fit athlete, even if you have very good training, it cannot help you with overexertion. In fact, this is what happened – overload. That’s why such soft tissue injuries happened – such as muscle, tendon, ligament. Even Pogba, who tore his meniscus, was wondering what to do. In my opinion, he made the right decision to have surgery, and then he wanted to play some games before the World Cup break, so he injured a muscle. It’s a problem from a medical point of view this backlog of matches and this mid-season cut for the Worlds.
How much of a problem is it that the big teams played 40-50 games last season and now have virtually no rest in the summer?
– The new season started with an accumulation of matches. It is good to start earlier, but the calendar should be the same as in previous years. The accumulation of matches then causes a problem. Lack of rest also causes a problem. These are serious matters that should have been discussed before the decision was made to hold the World Cup now. I understand that it is warm in Qatar, but another decision had to be made about the dates.
How difficult is it for coaches, conditioning coaches and medical staffs to come up with a summer training plan to avoid these injuries?
– It’s not difficult – it’s a challenge. In the big clubs, these things are foreseen and different methods are tried – intensifying the training process at the beginning, then calming down. Of these things the coaches themselves are more aware, but the medical staffs certainly should have foreseen, and I’m sure they did, this clustering of matches. I repeat this several times because it is really a problem – the short distance between the last game of the season and the start of the World Cup. You can’t have a week. When the championship is in June, as I imagine it will be in the future, they have three weeks in which the players have a complete rest. The nervous system is also important here. This is tension, and any tension tightens the body. This causes muscle and tendon injuries.
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With a normal World Cup after the end of the season, these injuries will not be there, or most of them?
– Even if there are, there will be time for a football player to be ready to play, if not for the first match of the group phase, then for the second. For most, recovery is about a month. If this happens at the end of the season, you have the recovery month. That way they can take you in the team, but at the moment there is no way. You can come, recover and be ready just for the final, which is crazy.
Do you expect these injuries to become more frequent at the championship itself?
– Yes unfortunately. The medical community around the world is waiting for it. The bad thing is that these injuries may become more frequent even after the World Cup, because the breaks are again very few. It will be a big challenge for the club doctors, physiotherapists, for the coaches, because they are starting to run out of choices. This World Cup and its aftermath will be a huge challenge. I’m not saying it’s bad to run, but these things should have been thought of. England, for example, already have matches on Christmas.
How much rest should footballers get after the World Cup?
– I think three weeks is the gold standard in this regard. Now they have a very heavy workload before the World Cup.
Football has become a business, but why is there not more thought about the health of the players, because no matter how prepared you are, it is difficult to play 50 games a season?
– Unfortunately, football is already manifesting itself as the apotheosis of life. Because it’s a business model that everyone in it can benefit from. Finances are unfolding more and more and it must have been expected in the world of football that sooner or later it would come to such a World Cup or to a point where money matters more than the footballer. However, this is a big problem. For a football player, this is his profession and he must have the necessary rest, recovery, and he cannot, leaving this profession, be ruined.
Do you get the impression that some football players take care of themselves during a match so as not to injure themselves?
– Yes, there’s that. There is no point in giving specific examples. It has this. When you see your teammates start to drop out…
What is different about this World Cup?
– The body habits of football players are different. Before the season changed because of covid, now it’s changing again. There are too many changes here for big players who have been playing for 4-5 seasons at a high level. They have some habits that now totally need to change. In winter, the workload was reduced, except in England when it was played at Christmas. The football player’s body is not used to such a thing in the winter and it starts to cause him problems.
At the beginning, you said that you would also touch on the subject of the covonarivus. How could the pandemic affect this World Cup?
– Not exactly on the world championship, but on the body. It is not enough that until very recently there were footballers who suffered from this problem and its consequences mostly. Not even a year has passed when there were football players with the consequences of covid, but now comes this burden. It is very possible that those players who are now dropping out had problems during the outbreak. The covid itself in the future also affects the body.
As I know you like unconventional teams – Werder Bremen, Zaragoza and Newcastle, is there an unconventional team you’ll be rooting for in Qatar?
– Unconventional – Canada. I expect Argentina to make a splash – not just because of Messi. All the football players around him look pretty cocky.