How to prevent injuries
SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - October 30, 2020 - 12:00am

It seems like the PBA bubble is haunted by injuries because players were rushed into competition without being in game-shape. But PBA medical consultant Dr. Jose Raul (George) Canlas said yesterday the exposure to more games within a shorter period of time is what’s making the situation appear more serious than it is, not the lack of preparation or training or conditioning.

So far, two players have left the Clark bubble because of season-ending injuries. San Miguel Beer’s Terrence Romeo suffered a separated shoulder in his second game at the Angeles University Foundation gym last Oct.16 and was in tears when he found out his season was over. Alaska’s Kevin Racal went down with an ACL tear in his right knee during the game against TNT last Oct.11 when the season was restarted. Last Wednesday, Racal underwent surgery at St. Luke’s Global with Dr. Canlas performing the procedure that took 20 minutes. The operation was successful and Racal is now resting at home. Dr. Canlas will coordinate his rehab with Alaska team physician Dr. Jun Sun and head trainer Gus Vargas. In 2014, Racal, playing for Letran in the NCAA, tore the ACL in his left knee and rejoined the Knights in time for the title surge the next year. “If everything goes well, he should be back to playing from 10 months to a year,” said Canlas.

Regarding the injuries that struck Romeo and Racal in Clark, Canlas said they were ligament ruptures. “We call them traumatic injuries,” he said. “Ligament ruptures like the ACL or the acromioclavicular ligament of the shoulder. Ankle and muscle strains are the same. These injuries are related to exposure to game or practice time. Since teams are playing more games in a shorter period of time, it seems that there are more injuries where in fact, it is the exposure to more games at a shorter period. These are accidents.”

Canlas said as the games go on, “overuse” injuries may crop up that are more related to fitness and conditioning. “The strength and conditioning coaches have to balance exerting too much effort between practice and games,” he said. “At this stage, nutrition, hydration, rest and recovery are very important.”

Canlas described the bubble conditions as “unchartered territory.” “It’s like clearing inconclusive COVID-19 persons eventually being confirmed as negative,” he said. “Although they’re definitely not infectious, there is no protocol practiced by the DOH or IATF to clear them to play as soon as possible.” Canlas referred to the referee and Blackwater player who initially came out positive but were found to be negative in confirmatory antigen and repeat swab tests. Because their first results were positive, they had to undergo mandatory quarantine in isolation at the Clark Athletes Village even if they were declared “false positives” in inconclusive testing. Under DOH and IATF guidelines, they could not be reactivated right away despite being negative in confirmatory tests.

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