The risks of the ‘new’ football during coronavirus pandemic

A number of risks have been identified with the potential return of football in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, as covered by Marca.

Spain’s higher council for sport (CSD) gave the green light for a return to individual training across the nation from 4 May in the first firm information that could signal a future return of the sport.

The media outlet have now developed a predictive mathematical model based on 11 games being played in 36 days in the context of a controlled pandemic.

It outlines how this is the longest period in history in which footballers have not been able to exercise normally, with the consequent loss of muscle function and cardio-respiratory function, while there could also have been a significant loss of co-ordination and it also claims that due to excess stress, the chance of injuries increase by 5%.

It is also highlighted that the regularity of matches will increase the chances for muscle injuries by 32% and 9% for general injuries while a decrease in training over the same time adds a 4.5% chance of injury.

There are then ‘non-quantifiable’ factors related to the coronavirus specifically – it is estimated that any player who has had the virus will have a decreased lung capacity of 10-30% within sports, while doctors stress the full cardiovascular effects are yet unknown.

It has also been highlighted how there could be neurological effects – there have been widespread reports of loss of smell and taste, with an unknown impact on the nervous system, while strenuous exercise could reduce your immunity to infection.

It is also said that temperature and humidity in the summer months will again increase the injury rate thus further – it is not recommended to compete over 32 degrees, which will have a particularly impact in Spain.

It is calculated that in a best-case scenario, there will be 11 matchdays spread over six weeks – a very significant increase on the normal volume of football.

There is said to be an increase of more than 50% in expected injuries – going from a standard rate of 11.4 (4.45 muscular, 1.94 ligamentous and 5 to the rest) compared to 17.12 (6.67 muscular, 2.91 ligamentous and 7.5 to the rest).

The alteration of the injury rates will probably be more noticeable among the teams who ae not used to playing during the week.

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