We spoke to Dr. Rajpal Brar about the risks of Virgil van Dijk going to the EUROs with Holland after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament rupture earlier this season.
Van Dijk suffered a complete tear of his anterior cruciate ligament when Jordan Pickford clattered into him during the Merseyside derby in October which required an ACL reconstruction surgery.
The operation was a resounding success but with van Dijk wanting to go to the EUROs this summer, he is at risk of suffering another knee injury.
Dr. Raj informed us of the risks of an early return, saying: “The main risk of VVD playing at the EUROs is reinjury or another injury. Introducing him straight away into a high-intensity situation is a higher risk and this would be a little over 7 months of rehab as well.
“Research shows return in less than 9 months following ACL reconstruction increases reinjury risks by up to 6x.”
We reported at the end of March that despite being unhappy with the situation, Klopp and co. would not stop the defender from going to the European Championship this summer but the risks mean it’s going to be a nervy summer for Liverpool supporters.
The club will send a physio with van Dijk, who will give feedback to the club and personally ensure his knee is undamaged during the tournament.
Dr. Raj on the pros and cons of this arrangement: “Sending a physio with him would be beneficial but the physio can’t change many of the inherent injury risks.
“ACL reinjury rates are a little less than 3% and ACL rupture risk in the other knee goes up as well. Further, as mentioned above, when coming back prior to 9 months, risk goes up significantly.”
Van Dijk’s attendance at this summer’s Euro Championship means that he will be unable to get a full pre-season under his belt which is crucial to maintaining fitness levels and managing stress levels on weak muscles following a major injury like an ACL rupture.
“Pre-season is very important to ramp up appropriately and mitigate those injury risks,” Dr Brar adds. “Higher intensity and potentially longer matches into extra time both increase injury risk.”
Anfield Central are told that Liverpool Football Club understand van Dijk’s desperation to play for Holland this summer for a number of reasons. At 29, it’s one of his last major international tournaments and his country has a great chance to progress to the latter stages of the competition.
Furthermore, they don’t want to harm their relationship with the defender and are willing to risk him suffering another injury to keep him happy.