Medical staff 'too protective' - Alan Pardew

Alan Pardew

Alan Pardew

ALAN PARDEW says sports science and medical staff have become ‘too protective’ and that this contributed to his sacking at Crystal Palace.

Pardew, who was dismissed at the end of December following a run of eight defeats in 10 games, believes the Eagles struggled to recover from an undemanding pre-season.

“When I started, the hard pre-season was a big thing, maybe too extreme among some,” Pardew told The Times.

“But I think we have come too far the other way - doctors under pressure at Premier League level, sports scientists protecting themselves a little bit, sometimes worried what the chairman will think if there is any injury.

“I am not saying devalue them [or] don’t take their opinion. I just think we have become too protective. I wonder if footballers are at the level they can be physically. I think many can go further.”

Pardew added that in his next job, the players would have “a pre-season to remember”.

Michael Davison, MD of the Isokinetic Medical Group in London, one of Fifa’s medical centres of excellence, has also said there is a culture of ‘overmedicine’ at many clubs.

This has led to players having scans and even surgery that they do not need, Davison said.

“There is data now, certainly from the Premier League, that shows the number of interventions - be them MRIs, surgical or injection therapies - have sky-rocketed in the last five years,” he told the BJSM podcast.

“Not just the total spend, but the actual number of procedures. What tends to happen is that there is an intense pressure to get not just a diagnosis, [but] people want to see something on a scan.

“It might be the agent, another player in the dressing room, the player himself, [and] there is so much pressure heaped on.

“Sometimes I think the doctors, the physios, might just throw their hands up and say, ‘right, if you want the scan, you can have the scan.’

Michael Davison, MD of Isokinetic

“The problem is that if you do a scan, you find something. What is happening – and this is something Phil Batty, my medical director at Isokinetic and the former head of sports medicine at Manchester City feels – is that clinical judgement is being devalued and lost and there is an over-reliance on treating the scan rather than the player.

“Sometimes it’s easy to have an operation in a player’s mind. It’s not easy to do six weeks of conservative management of dedication to exercise therapy knowing – and this is often the case with ankle ligaments for example – that you might still need an operation at the end of it.

“With some people they think there’s certainty if they have an operation, but there are always complications.

“I look at Daniel Sturridge as an example of a player who had hip surgery because there was too much pressure around the situation – American ownership, a desire to push on having lost Luis Suarez, and the player looking for answers - and I fear there may have been overmedicine. Time will tell."

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