While PSL teams are looking to beef up their squads in terms of playing personnel, it is a completely different department that needs beefing up during this time according to SAFA chief medical officer Dr Thulani Ngwenya.
As teams prepare to return to action on 1 August after a five-month layoff, they will have to adapt to unchartered territory in terms of safety protocols observed.
As part of the conditions for a return to the playing and training fields, teams have had to employ COVID-19 compliance officer, as well as outline their plan to ensure the dafety of their players and staff.
According to Dr Ngwenya, who opened up in Soccer Laduma edition 1182, teams need to beef up their medical staff in order to cope with the deamnds of football during the pandemic.
“This is now the new normal. For me, it would be suicidal not to beef up medical teams during these times, because a physio cannot deal with the issues of COVID-19, should there be an issue of COVID at a club or an emergency that is caused by COVID-19. So, you need a doctor to be there with the team and you need a full complement. Remember we are going to have a short period of time for teams to train before games, so the issue of periodization comes in. Physios need to be hands-on because of muscle injuries that might come, so a comprehensive medical team will be needed at the clubs.
“Right now, as clubs also plan for the new season, they should have it in their budgets because COVID-19 is not going anywhere anytime soon. All clubs need to beef up medical teams. It would be suicidal not to focus on that, because before we are athletes, we are human beings, and you need a healthy human being for them to be able to perform,” Dr Ngwenya explained.
To find out what Dr Ngwenya had to say about:
- The PSL’s bio-bubble
- The rise of COVID-19 cases in the country
- Protocols to be followed at the stadiums