Verheijen rips into Arsenal

February 26, 2014

Dutch fitness expert Raymond Verheijen claims that Theo Walcott’s ACL injury could have been avoided and has accused Arsenal of jeopardising the attacker’s career.

Walcott has been ruled out for the remainder of the season and looks likely to miss the World Cup after tearing his ACL during the Gunners’ 2-0 win over Tottenham in the FA Cup at the start of January.

Verheijen insists the injury is not down to misfortune, but rather the fault of the Arsenal medical team who rushed the England international back into action too soon after a lengthy lay-off due to an abdominal issue.

"Walcott’s injury is not bad luck, it is the logical consequence of the approach at Arsenal," he told Goal.

"They made a big gamble. It is Russian roulette with a player’s career. This whole [Arsenal] medical situation is deja vu. This shows you the low level of injury prevention in England."

The 24-year-old returned from injury on November 23 and after five substitute appearances the former Southampton youngster started six games on the trot, completing all but one of them.

Verheijen added: "Walcott went from nothing to everything. If you haven’t played for a while you are not totally fit. Then, when you play a game when you are not top fit you will need more recovery time than normal.

"A top-fit player recovers from the game after 48 hours. But a player who is not top fit takes 72 hours to recover. So a less fit player is more susceptible to injury.

"So, in December when you are playing all these games while needing more recovery time than the average player it is common sense that you are accumulating fatigue."

The Dutchman, who counts Barcelona, Manchester City, Chelsea and the Dutch national team among his former employers, went on to highlight the reasons why players who are not fully fit are more prone to suffering ACL injuries.

"Nine out of 10 ACLs can be avoided, because the main reason why an ACL happens is that the knee is temporarily unprotected when the players turns or leans" he said.

"Normally, your muscles contract to stabilise the knee and nothing happens. Over the holiday period when players play so many games and have accumulated fatigue, their nervous system slows down and the signal from the brain to the muscles gets slower.

"When they make explosive movements the signal arrives a millisecond too late, the player leans or turns with an unprotected knee and the ACL snaps.

"You often see the ACL happens with a very simple action – something a player has done in his career one million times. On one million occasions the knee was protected and everything was in its place. On the one-million-and-first time the signal arrives too late and the ACL snaps."

Verheijen insists a minimum recovery time of nine months is necessary for such an injury, and believes Walcott needs the full quota if he is to continue at the top level in the coming years.

"Nine to 12 months," He said when asked how long the winger needed to recuperate.

"Theo Walcott has to rehabilitate his career, not only his ACL. What this means is that you have to rehabilitate in a way that you don’t pick up a new injury a month after playing again.

"That is what often happens with ACL players. In the six months after the player returns he picks up another three injuries because he didn’t develop a good firmament in rehab and he was rushed back. When you rush a player back in six to seven months he will pick up a new injury and he is then threatening his career.

"Walcott needs proper rehab. It is takes nine months but once you are back you are so fit you will not pick up an injury again and you will give your career a major boost."

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