As Gor Mahia prepare to embark on the plane to Mozambique, there will be no less than seven key players who will be missing due to stress related injuries. They are Edwin Lavatsa, Demonde Selenga, Hugo Nzoka, George Midenyo, Solomon Nasio, Kevin Omondi. None of them will travel to Maputo. In addition, Baldwin Ngwa, Ivo Mapunda and Dan Makori recently suffered stress related injuries. It is not clear whether they have fully recovered. One only hopes that they are not being rushed back into the playing field before injuries heal.
It is perfectly normal for some players to pick up injuries. However it is completely abnormal for a team to suffer significant injuries to 10 key players within a span of two weeks ! When this happens it is usually a symptom of over-training and lack of sufficient rest between training sessions.
It is usual for players especially those who have been playing for a very long time and are on the other side of age 30 to experience muscle strains, However many of the players suffering the current injury plague are still relatively young. Some are recent form four leavers.
It is also normal to experience a rush of injuries after a long arduous season. Yet the current season is only one week old and players have only been training for about a month since the Christmas break.
Injuries like tendonitis occur due to stress and over-use of muscles. Overuse syndromes are common sports injuries that result from repetitive use, stress and trauma to the soft tissues of the body (muscles, tendons, bones and joints) without proper time for healing. Another injuries caused by over-use of muscles include bursitis. Shin splints and stress fractures can also occur.
Its worth noting that none of the injuries occurred due to rough tackles. Hugo Nzoka for example simply strained a muscle. Muscle strains are a classic symptom of over-training. Most of the other injuries have occurred during training. And most are stress related.
Many sportsmen do not recognize that by working out too much, they are actually decreasing their performance capabilities. They push themselves harder to prepare for competition. But without adequate rest and recovery, these training regimens can backfire, and actually decrease performance.
Most well run teams usually have a qualified physiotherapist on staff. His/Her task is to assign a training regimen to each player, monitor players closely, prevent over-training and ensure the exact right amount of training to achieve peak performance. When a team experiences a rush of injuries, the team physio will find himself in hot water and may even be fired because his training regimen is backfiring. However Gor Mahia most likely does not have a qualified physiotherapist who is in charge of the teams training regimen. Even if a physio exists, it is unlikely that he has full authority of the training regimen, Its is left to coach and his staff. Yet they dont know much about muscle recovery and other aspects of training.
Its possible that the coaching staff has been pushing the players too hard. It is however more likely that the players have been pushing themselves extremely hard due to competition for places. Everyone wants to impress the coaches. Internal competition is good. But moderation is needed. The players need a qualified physio who can give them proper direction.
It would behove the club to hire a qualified physiotherapist even part time to independently investigate the issue. All he needs to is work with the current setup to find out just what is going on. Further to that, the physio’s input must take precedence. If something is not done then at this rate the club’s ambitions of doing well in 2012 will be foiled by injuries.