Blame game misplaced as Pies probe injury ‘crisis’

Collingwood is losing games and has a long list of unavailable players. According to some media reports, there is an "injury crisis" and a "review" needs to be done.

Contrary to what the media would have us believe, Collingwood are not top of the table of games lost through injury this year. In fact they are fifth. Three of the players (Dayne Beams, Jaidyn Stephenson and Sam Murray) on the "injured" list are unavailable for reasons other than injury (suspension, mental health). The Pies have lost two players (Dunn and Langdon) to season-ending knee injuries, while Daniel Wells continues to have knee problems.

Collingwood's Jordan De Goey is the latest of the club's stars to miss due to injury.

Collingwood's Jordan De Goey is the latest of the club's stars to miss due to injury.Credit:AAP

Nevertheless, the number of injuries, with the latest being a minor hamstring injury for Jordan De Goey and a bone stress injury to the foot of Isaac Quaynor, is a factor in their poor recent form and must be a frustration to Nathan Buckley and his coaching staff.

Injuries are an inevitable part of the game. They are either traumatic as a result of high-level contact leading to injuries such as concussion, shoulder dislocations, collarbone fractures, rib injuries and so on, or are overuse injuries as a result of the high running load required to play modern-day football.


Finding the right balance between maximising fitness levels while avoiding overload injuries and fatigue is the great challenge for the conditioning and coaching staff.

Nowadays, players are on individual training and conditioning programs depending on their age, maturity, body type and injury history. Every movement is carefully monitored with GPS. Factors such as frequency of games (five- or six-day breaks), travel, different ground conditions (for example, the hard surface at Perth's Optus Stadium), game style, and the ability to rest or "manage" players with minor injury all contribute to injury risk.

It is rare for an AFL player to run out at the start of a game 100 per cent fit with no niggling injuries or soreness. Some players cope better playing with an injury than others. Some players are deemed so essential to the team's performance, especially if the team is struggling, that they play with minor injuries with the risk that the injury may worsen.

Players want to play so are happy to push through pain. Scott Pendlebury played for the Pies recently, six days after finger surgery. The challenge for the medical staff is determining when the player is OK to play and when he should rest.

Are some players "injury-prone"? Certainly each club has one or two players who seem to get repeated injuries, either due to inherent poor quality of their soft tissue or because they never have the time to fully recover from one injury which may lead to another.

At the end of every season clubs have a difficult decision whether to cut these "injury-prone" players or give them one more chance.

The easy thing to do is to play the blame game. It always puzzles me why the doctors and physios cop it. I would argue that their job is to diagnose and treat the injuries once they have occurred. The Collingwood medical team is highly regarded and very experienced.

The reality is that there is rarely one specific reason why clubs have a bRead More – Source