In­juries are tough, but my playing days def­i­nitely over

Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - RUGBY LEAGUE - Gareth El­lis ■ Email: ■ Twit­ter: @YPS­port

IT SEEMS every­one is hav­ing prob­lems with in­juries at the mo­ment and I can’t ever re­mem­ber a time – through­out the game – as bad as this.

Peo­ple of­ten got nig­gly prob­lems but, in these last few years in par­tic­u­lar, there seems a hell of a lot more se­ri­ous ones.

I’m talk­ing about sea­so­nend­ing in­juries or is­sues that need three-month surg­eries. They seem to be more preva­lent cur­rently. I don’t know why that is. Speak­ing from a Hull FC per­spec­tive, looking at the in­juries we have now, I do won­der if it is just time catch­ing up with us.

By that, I mean we have played every round of both com­pe­ti­tions – Su­per League and Chal­lenge Cup – aside from the Grand Fi­nal it­self for the last two years and a lot of our play­ers had played al­most all of those matches.

Are all of those min­utes and all of those games now just tak­ing their toll?

Leeds Rhi­nos might be in a sim­i­lar po­si­tion, for in­stance. It’s hard to get a de­fin­i­tive an­swer.

Looking at the sci­ence of it all nowa­days, we know ex­actly how many min­utes play­ers are run­ning for, we can mea­sure all their work­loads and all the pre­hab and re-hab work is better than ever.

I know our phys­ios, med­i­cal and strength and con­di­tion­ing staff are re­luc­tant to talk about it all – the is­sue of all these in­juries – as it doesn’t look too good on them! But they have been bril­liant pre­vi­ously keep­ing the ma­jor­ity of our play­ers out there – we didn’t lose many be­fore – and it just shows you can put all the best prac­tices in place but, some­times, when it comes to in­juries, they just hap­pen.

With the game played as it is, you can find your­self in many tricky sit­u­a­tions and, when I look back to my playing days, I re­alise I was prob­a­bly only mil­lime­tres away from more se­ri­ous in­juries on nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions.

I might just have got away with things.

But now, de­spite all the great work our guys do, it’s looking like an A&E depart­ment at Hull and many other clubs are sim­i­lar. It’s tough to take.

With it be­ing a salary cap sport, it’s clear you need as many of your best-paid play­ers on the field at the same time. St He­lens are rel­a­tively in­jury-free and you can tell; they’re top of Su­per League and playing great.

As for me, this time last week, I was all ready to come out of re­tire­ment and I had it in my head I was going to play again.

But I trained on Mon­day and that night got home and just had a bit of a mo­ment.

I thought ‘why am I doing this?’ I couldn’t think of a re­ally good rea­son why I was es­pe­cially as we didn’t have in­juries in my po­si­tion. Brad Fash was com­ing back from his bro­ken jaw, too, and hav­ing spo­ken to Kirk Yea­man af­ter he came out of re­tire­ment for Magic it rammed it home. He was all set to play for the rest of the year af­ter that derby in New­cas­tle – but within 12 hours said he was never doing it again!

In that sense, per­son­ally, it’s prob­a­bly been a good ex­pe­ri­ence this sit­u­a­tion we’ve found our­selves in. It’s helped me fi­nally put my playing days to bed. You al­ways won­der if you can do one more year. But I re­alise I’ve moved on now. I had 20 years doing that. Now it’s some­one else’s turn.

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