Aston Villa boss Dean Smith: Ban on using cryotherapy units increasing player injury risk
Villa boss Dean Smith believes players are being placed at greater risk of injury by the current ban on using cryotherapy units.
Smith has revealed he was among the managers pushing for cryo chambers to be permitted under the Premier League’s restart protocols, in order to aid player recovery during the season’s hectic run-in.
But despite lobbying from the league, Public Health England ultimately ruled they posed too much of a risk at a time when everything possible is being done to reduce the risk of virus transmission.
Smith admitted the majority of Villa’s training is now based around recovery work, claiming clubs are putting everything into a schedule which will see them play their final 10 matches in just 40 days.
Relegation-threatened Villa will be without Neil Taylor (hamstring) and Kortney Hause (ribs) for tonight’s match at Everton, while Danny Drinkwater is also unavailable after picking up a knock in training.
“Unfortunately we're not allowed a cryo chamber, that's something I certainly pushed for,” he said.
“I've kept pushing it because no one has proven to me a virus can be spread in a single occupancy cryo unit at minus 130 degrees.
“We asked the Premier League, who asked Public Health England and I believe that it’s just been too much of a risk, or they feel it’s too much of a risk.
“Medically they obviously know more than I do. But it’s a single occupancy thing with a temperature of minus 130 degrees and then they wear a mask, gloves and then go and have a shower but it’s not allowed at the moment.
“It’s been a concern of mine, certainly for all clubs that are playing now."
The Premier League has confirmed it has no plans to alter its protocols for the final week-and-a-half of the season.
Smith continued: "We are playing an awful lot of games in this period and there have been a lot of injuries, certainly a lot of soft-tissue injuries for a lot of players at a lot of clubs. It will affect the start of next season too, that’s for sure."
Villa have been staying over at Bodymoor Heath after every match and Smith added: “Sleep is the best recovery you'll get. Our nutritionist is in every day making sure the players get the right food and soft tissue massages as well.
“Everything that can be done is being done and we have a fantastic performance team here who are working extremely hard with the players to make sure they recover.”
Smith also confirmed defender Bjorn Engels will not return this season. The Belgian defender has been struggling with an Achilles injury and not played since the season resumed.
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