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'Expect more injuries when season resumes'

June 03, 2020 15:33 IST
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Coronavirus

IMAGE: Aston Villa's Jack Grealish looks dejected. Photograph: Chris Radburn/Reuters

Newcastle United club doctor Paul Catterson says he expects players to suffer more injuries than usual when the Premier League resumes this month following the COVID-19 disruption.

The league was suspended on March 13 due to the pandemic and teams resumed training in small groups before voting last week to return to contact training ahead of a June 17 restart.

 

“We are expecting more injuries at this time,” Catterson told the BBC. “The players have been running on treadmills and working indoors for eight weeks so that transition is a different stimulus for the body.

“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.”

The league’s planned restart received a boost last week when the latest batch of novel coronavirus tests produced no positive results. In the three previous rounds of testing since players resumed training there were 12 positives.

“... I’m confident now that a Premier League training ground is one of the safest environments around,” Catterson added.

“There’s a big onus on the players, they have to conduct themselves professionally outside of this environment. We’re only as strong as our weakest link.

“If anyone doesn’t follow the guidance they put the group at risk.”

Villa's Grealish looks to make amends for lockdown breach

Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish says he has been doing as much charity work as possible to make amends after being disciplined by the club for ignoring lockdown rules during the COVID-19 pandemic.

British media had reported West Midlands Police opened an investigation after the midfielder was pictured leaving an estate in Birmingham following a traffic accident in March.

The 24-year-old apologised in a video posted on Twitter before the club said they would discipline him.

“I knew straight away that I had to come out and apologise myself,” the Times quoted Grealish as saying. “I didn’t want to hide behind a club statement. I’m old enough now and mature enough to know I’d done wrong. Since then I’ve tried to keep my head down, work hard and do as much charitable work as possible."

“I raised money for the NHS by raffling off my shirt I wore in the game against Birmingham City.”

Media reports said the shirt raised over 55,000 pounds ($62,910) for the National Health Service and that Grealish had also donated 150,000 pounds to a local hospital.

“I know I’m a footballer but I’m still human and we all make mistakes,” Grealish added.

“I’m also a role model as well to a lot of people out there, especially young children who might look up to me. I try to act in a respectable manner. I respect my job and absolutely love what I do.”

Villa are second bottom in the league with 25 points from 28 games. The season is set to resume on June 17.

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