Early January 2020. The Atmosfera Bar, Mykolaiv, Ukraine. The medical team of second-tier club MFC Mykolaiv are enjoying pre-Christmas drinks.

Dramatis personae:

  • Olexiy Zhuravlev (Head Physio)
  • Vasyl Kandaurov (Physio)
  • Taras Kaval (Head of Sports Science)
  • Rustam Ignatjev (Sport Scientist)
  • Dmytro Binevskiy (Club doctor)

BINEVSKIY: Well, gents, now we’re half a season into the gaffer’s reign, what have you made of his commitment to, as it were, fitness, fitness, fitness?

ZHURAVLEV: I think it’s genuine and I think it’s welcome.

KANDAUROV: It’s certainly been good news for us. There’s no doubt that we have a larger, and, I suggest, more respected, medical staff than before the Gaffer started here.

IGNATJEV: Yes, it’s been good for us. And, in turn, we’ve been good for the club. We’re certainly getting fewer injuries than one might have expected.

ZHURAVLEV: Although if we say that too loudly, people might start to think we’re underemployed.

KAVAL: So we need to ensure we keep on message. Our message should be that a reduction in the injury rate can get us into a positive cycle: more time devoted to rehabilitation and, above all, to injury prevention.

BINEVSKIY [raising his glass]: Amen to that.

KAVAL: And it could prove decisive. I think it’s clear that the playing staff are not…well, not world-beaters. And, though I’m no tactician, I have noticed that there have been, erm, questions about the Gaffer’s tactics.

IGNATJEV: There are plenty of other weak teams around, so if we can continue to make our squad the fittest, least injury-prone, in the league, we can keep the club up.

ZHURAVLEV: Which makes, I’m sure we can all agree, the medical team the club’s best investment.

BINEVSKIY: I rather think that the manager agrees with that sentiment. And, may I suggest, that calls for a bottle of Khortytsa?

Image credit: “Sports Training” by staciecmorris, generously made available under a CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 licence.

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