The current break in Premier League action might be beneficial for Everton players Seamus Coleman and Bernard who both picked up minor injuries before the cessation of play due to the coronavirus outbreak, but for three other players with long term injuries, this has made it much more difficult to continue their healing process.
Morgan Schneiderlin suffered a torn meniscus and underwent season-ending surgery in the end of February, while Cenk Tosun picked up an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury that effectively ended his loan spell at Crystal Palace. Midfielder Jean-Philippe Gbamin’s woes continued when he had to undergo surgery again while still recovering from a previous surgery to correct a thigh ailment sustained early in the season.
With stay-at-home requirements now enforced due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all three players have found their progress hampered by their inability to see the Everton physiotherapy staff to monitor them, but the Toffees’ director of medical services Danny Donachie has found a way to work around this [Guardian].
“The two most challenging situations are with Morgan and Cenk. They are not able to do any weight-bearing exercise. Most of what we’d have done with them would be hands-on, and that’s not possible. We are doing regular Skype sessions with them but what we can do practically is very limited.
“Morgan is due to see the surgeon on Monday next week and we will do that via Zoom. From then he can probably do more exercise, so I will be doing one-to-one videos with him every day.”
Donachie added that with Gbamin edging closer to a return from his quadriceps issue, he’s further ahead on his recovery path than the other pair.
“JP is easier to treat. Adam [Newall, the club physiotherapist] sets him a weekly programme and checks in with him on video most days. We are checking in with Morgan and Cenk every day. Because they can’t do a lot, the disappointment about not gaining is not that large, they wouldn’t be seeing much improvement at this stage anyway. And they see the bigger picture over what is happening in the world.
“They appreciate what is going on and, because of that, you appreciate the smaller things don’t you?”
With no clarity on when (and if) the season will resume, the trainers have continued to try keep the players fit and ready to resume action on short notice.
“We are hoping to generate competition by doing some sessions together in our training groups,
“It isn’t always possible because of logistics. I have a group of four, for example, and two of them don’t have bike, so we can’t do the bike session together. But we have a weekly log of their sessions and that has introduced an element of competition because some of them want to do more sessions than anyone else – and see that recorded.”
With many of us cooped up at home, it’s good to see that the same technologies we use to stay in touch with friends and family, and in some cases work from home, are also being leveraged by Everton to ensure that injured players aren’t seeing their recoveries stall due to this pandemic.