In-depth Dons Player interview with club physio
Physio Stuart Douglas has managed to keep the first-team injury list down to a minimum this season – and he believes great strides have been made in the medical department.
With Andy Barcham and James Shea set to return to full training next week, Neal Ardley will have virtually a full squad to work with at a crucial period of the season and Stuart pointed out that it’s been a real team effort behind the scenes.
Speaking during an extensive 20-minute interview for Dons Player, Stuart, who joined Wimbledon two-and-a-half years ago, said: “It has gone really well this season and we are pleased with the way things have gone. The injury to Will Nightingale was a big blow to everyone here, especially the player himself because he was playing so well after coming through a difficult time with injuries. Those sort of impact injuries are difficult pills to swallow, but they are part and parcel of football.
“Our job as a medical team – and I include our Sports Scientist Jason Moriarty in that – is to minimise soft tissue injuries. They are the ones we have most control over. We had one or two of them recently with Bayo Akinfenwa and Ade Azeez having thigh strains, but we have not had long-term soft tissue injuries. That comes down to the rehabilitation work that the players do, but also the prehab (preventative measures) that Jason goes through with them. Our squad is not large and it’s important that we try and keep as many players on the training pitch as possible.”
Stuart added that behind-the-scenes improvements at the training ground have played a key part in limiting injuries.
“It has vastly improved from the top down since I came here,” Stuart said. “Even though we are a League 2 club, the players get treated like Premier League players. They are looked after during their recoveries with protein and electrolytes. Breakfast and lunch is provided with training timed to the minute. The players want for nothing and they get second day recovery after games. Jason also managed to get heart rate GPS monitors in during the summer for the players.
“We have all these things in place and it makes my job easier. For the last two seasons, our injury record has been very good. When we have done the audits at the end of every season the figures have been low. From the medical side of things, it has changed a lot. The room I work in used to be the manager’s office and we now have an Under-21 physio to assist the younger players. We also have medical students in from St George’s and Sports Therapists from St Mary’s College. We have better equipment and it’s good for the budget that we have. We are doing really well, but you cannot rest on your laurels.
“I would like to think that I will be running out onto the pitch at Plough Lane in a new stadium and I will have a big physio room with six or seven beds! The club has come a long way and I love being here. You never know what will happen in football, but I would love to still be with Wimbledon at Plough Lane with the club in the Championship.”
are below:During his in-depth interview, Stuart provided an update on several players making their way back from injuries. Medical notes on each
JAMES SHEA and ANDY BARCHAM
“James and Andy both got injured in the same game (Morecambe). They are both likely to return to full training with the first-team on the same day next week. James has been out with a groin strain so that’s why we signed Ben Wilson. I think it was fortunate with Andy because it could have been a career-ending tackle. I’ve seen it a few times again and the referee missed it. Andy was in a lot of pain and we had to give him Entonox after the injury. My initial thought was that it was definitely his season over, but it turned out to be MCL (Medial Collateral Ligament) in the knee and that was a big relief.”
on Will’s progress on Wednesday. update“Will is our main long-term injury as he required an operation on his knee. We have to be patient with him. He wants to play, but the operation he had was a very delicate one. We have to be very cautious with his return because we could easily regress with him.” Will is set to start running again in a couple of weeks. We published an
“His injury is not that bad and it’s just a twinge. If there was a game for us on Saturday he would not have been able to play so we have an opportunity to use this time to make sure he’s fit for Stevenage. At the moment it is 50/50.
“Ade has relatively good strength in his thigh, but it is all well and good assessing things in here (physio room) and taking them out to do functional things. Players can control what they are doing in this situation. However, when they go out on the pitch they are doing things instinctively with movements that are not necessarily under their control. That’s when they can get injured.
“Hopefully during the next week we can get Ade doing functional movements, then get him doing things instinctively, and we will see. I am hoping it will have healed enough for him to be involved next Saturday. I am confident, but it’s not 100 per cent that he will be involved.”
George had previous issues with his hamstrings and he got injured during his loan spell at Kingstonian. I looked back and thought ‘did we do everything in our power to prevent that?’ We probably did, apart from the number of games that he played in a short space of time. It was his third game in six days. It was probably cumulative fatigue in that his body could not cope with that number of games in such a short space of time. George is back running now, but whether he returns for the first-team, Under-21s or goes out on loan, we will have to make sure the games are more spread out for him initially.”
A two-part interview with Stuart Douglas is now on Dons Player and an interview with Andy Barcham will follow tomorrow morning.