Hamstring Injury: How Bad Can It Be?

Just like that, it happened.

You were at the family picnic, having a fine time playing softball with the nieces and nephews and while running to first base - POW!  You felt a quick jolt of pain in the back of your leg which steadily increased, causing you to stumble about.  You had difficulty extending your knee.

You weren’t sure about what had hit you until your second cousin – the one with the medical background – confirmed that you had pulled a hamstring.  What steps do you take to recover? Can it get worse?

Hamstrings occur in quick-sprint sports like rugby, basketball, football (soccer), and yes, softball.  Your hamstring muscles – there are three in the series of muscles – stretch from your lower pelvis to the back of your shin bone.     They work to flex your knee and help move your thigh backward as you run.  Interestingly enough, you don’t really use the hamstrings very much when you are walking and even standing, but they go right into action when you run.

Symptoms of a pulled hamstring include pain at the back of the thigh which may often extend down into the foot.  Microscopic tears occurred when you were running to first base (When was the last time you actually sprinted?   Hamstrings can be caused by sudden bursts of speed.)

Treatment of the pulled hamstring starts with rest:  stop immediately.  You may need to get an icepack on it.  If it is severe, you’ll need medical attention, but if it is a minor strain you can get crutches to help you along, but the main thing is to give it some rest.  Should you wrap it?  Good idea, but use a compressive bandage – one that will tighten around your leg and limit your stretching movements so that you won’t do more damage.  Doctors like to use the acronym RICE:  Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.  If you follow these four steps, you’ll get along well in the healing process.

Will you need surgery?  Probably not – just a good amount of rest.  Of course, if the injury is severe, consult your physician.  However, if you ‘twinged’ the back of your thigh and are doing a bit of limping, time to set yourself down and prop your feet up.

Next time you’re out and ready to prove your athletic prowess, do some stretches for about five minutes. Drink plenty of fluids before and during the workout to prevent dehydration and muscle cramps.  Then pace yourself as you play.

Avoid sudden bursts of speed if you can help it, but by all means, get active and enjoy yourself.  Those muscles could use some careful workouts, so get a moderate running or stretching routine and prepare for the next family outing.


Written by Dr. Brad Zockoll

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Eden Hazard: Goals aren’t everything to the PFA Player of the Year

From the start, Sunday was an excellent day for Chelsea. After seeing 6 of their players picked for the PFA Premier League team of the year, they headed to Arsenal and ground out a 0-0 draw to retain a 10 point lead at the top of the table which is enforced by a game in hand.

To finish off, winger Eden Hazard would receive the individual honour of PFA Player of the Year at the evening’s awards gala, leaving many to ponder if it was Jose Mourinho who had personally wrote the day’s script, just as he orchestrates so many football matches into his favour.

In typical Mourinho fashion, the draw at Arsenal was more down to supreme organisation and defensive committal than attacking flair offered by the likes of Hazard and co. but the Portuguese coach would owe it to the Belgian that he was in such a position to go and suffocate the game at the Emirates. Last week his grip on the title was made firmer by the 1-0 win over Manchester United, forged with just 29% possession, 5 shots to United’s 13 and a goal from Hazard, the one who sprinkles attacking conviction to a base of reinforced steel.

Hazard has 13 Premier League goals this season, including winners over West Ham and QPR at home as well as vital goals in the wins over Arsenal and Tottenham at Stamford Bridge. The 24 year old also has 8 assists to his name, offering the creative verve, together with Cesc Fabregas who has 16 assists, to a side that has the joint-best defensive record of 26 conceded.

Their inevitable league victory may be diminished somewhat by cries of a substandard league and the lack of genuine challengers, but Chelsea are indeed an excellent team, built on Mourinho’s extremely effective game-plan that relies first on the solidity of Gary Cahill, John Terry, Cesar Azpilicueta, Branislav Ivanovic and the titanium shield of Nemanja Matic in-front of them, before predatorily striking with the venom offered by Fabregas, Diego Costa, Oscar and Hazard in attack.

It may be simple, it may be boring as Arsenal fans acknowledged as they sang “boring, boring Chelsea” on Sunday afternoon, but Mourinho knows that such style has all-but won him a title. Nothing else matters.

It is Hazard, together with Fabregas and 19 goal Costa, who so often plays the role of match-winner. The Belgian goes into Sunday evening’s PFA awards ceremony top of the league charts in terms of chances created with 88, duels won with 287, dribbles attempted with 247 of which he has completed 153, also putting him first. They are statistics that highlight Hazard’s importance to Chelsea and what led Mourinho to warn off any potential overtures from Real Madrid by announcing that the Belgian is worth £200 million, £100 million for each leg.

It was a rebuttal from Mourinho that was perhaps tongue in cheek but maybe it was a serious insurance policy for a pair of legs that have earned 100 fouls this season, also putting him at the top of the Premier League’s most fouled chart. It is therefore remarkable that the Belgian has managed 40 appearances, starting in all 33 of Chelsea’s Premier League games, when the extent of the knocks he has taken has left him saying how he finds himself requiring 2-3 days to recover after matches and that he may not manage a career past the age of 32.

Hazard reportedly gauges his performances on the amount of fouls he has drawn- the more the better as it tells him how he has managed to attract the ire of his opponent- and it is that combativeness and resilience that has endeared him to his manager. “He wants to be a special player and a normal person. He’s a fantastic boy, a golden boy” said Mourinho, “he doesn’t cheat. He doesn’t dive. Nothing. So I think, even for opponents, he’s a fantastic kid.”

Hazard’s 18 goals in all competitions for Chelsea this term takes the winger up to 48 goals in 3 seasons for the club since making a £32 million move from Lille in 2013. That is a modest return for a player who has never been overly-renowned for his goal-scoring, the 22 he scored in his final year in France is his highest ever tally, so it is a redundant criticism to say he needs to score more.

Since he arrived in England he has made the team of the year 3 times, was Chelsea’s player of the season last term and has this year’s Premier League to add to the Europa League and League Cup medals. He may never be as prolific as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as some may challenge him to be, but goals are not everything; Hazard and his manager will be the first to point that out.

If Sunday could have been made better for Chelsea it was Hazard speaking of his desire for a long-term future with the club. “Why not?” he responded to the question of whether he could see himself being at Stamford Bridge for a while longer. “I am happy here, I play with big players and the most important thing is I want to win trophies and with this club, it is possible.”

With Hazard’s brand of strength, desire and technical genius that allows him to jink past defenders in tight spaces on the left, it makes the winning of those trophies easier for Mourinho and his team.


Written by Adam Gray

Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamGray1250

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Benfica’s Andre Almeida: Time to stick or twist

A series of star-studded Benfica sides have enjoyed considerable success domestically and abroad over recent seasons. In a club that employs a constant revolving door policy with regard to the playing squad, the unchanging pillars of the side, although few and far between, play a pivotal role.

Captain Luisão and right-back Maxi Pereira are the foremost examples, but utility player André Almeida has proven an equally crucial cog to keep Benfica’s engine purring smoothly amid the frenetic comings and goings.

He has never done anything other than a thoroughly competent job when called upon to play at right-back, left-back, or as a defensive midfielder. The fact he is asked to switch between all three roles has denied him the opportunity to excel in any one of them over a sustained period of time, when his flawless performances suggest it would not be beyond him.

Tactically astute, a good tackler, accurate passer and a tireless worker Almeida would be a certain starter in almost any other team in Portugal, and his relatively infrequent appearances have done no damage to his reputation as a dependable, albeit unspectacular, performer.

Coach Jorge Jesus likes his full-backs to bomb forward, something which does not come naturally to Almeida, although the two excellent assists in the recent 5-1 hammering of Académica de Coimbra shows he’s no slouch in the attacking third. But it’s his staunch defensive qualities that are most appreciated, and the Lisbon-born player has often been selected in the starting XI over the usual incumbent for crunch games when Benfica adopt a more circumspect approach.

As for international football, specialists in the positions he usually fills in for naturally get the nod ahead of a jack-of-all-trades, although in tournament play this very adaptability is an important trump card in his favour, and one which earned him a place in Portugal’s 2014 World Cup squad. He has 8 senior Portugal caps to his name.

Still only 24 years old, Almeida is edging towards 100 appearances in his four years at Benfica, and may feel the time has come to either stick or twist – to seek assurances of a more prominent role in the team or to further his career elsewhere.


Written by Tom Kundert

Follow Tom on Twitter @PortuGoal1

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Borussia Dortmund: As Klopp bids farewell and Tuchel takes over, what’s next for the Black and Yellow?

April 15, 2022 was  a day that would prove vital in the history of Borussia Dortmund as the charismatic manager Jürgen Klopp announced in a press conference that he will be leaving the Black and Yellow at the end of the season by stating that he was not the perfect man for this honorable job anymore.  The news spread immediately and the hashtag ‘Klopp’ was trending top on Twitter. Players started to express their gratitude and speculations mounted as who could possibly replace the lovable Klopp at the Signal Iduna Park. Many names have been thrown as candidates but finally the likeliest and most obvious choice Thomas Tuchel was confirmed as the new man to take the ranks BVB.                

It’s not difficult to point out the similarities between the two managers: both started their coaching careers at Mainz 05, have the same type of football philosophy and enthusiasm for the game, the same way of grooming their beard etc… But this doesn’t mean that their course as a Dortmund manager will turn out the same. Tuchel has arrived at a very critical stage. After a disappointing season, everyone expects BVB to get back into their fine form of recent years in which they have won two Bundesligas, one DFB Pokal and two Super Cups in addition to reaching the 2013 Champions League final. So it’s understandable that the 41 year old will be under immense pressure next season.

This was not the case when his predecessor arrived in 2008. By that time, Dortmund have long been absent from the Champions League and the Bundesliga title so the expectations were low unlike now. The possible departure of star players will not make the task any easier. Transfer rumors have already been circulating about who will follow Klopp out of Borussia Dortmund and who can be their replacements.

The unsettled captain Mats Hummels, who has been long linked with Manchester United, is one of the players who might leave the Bundesliga side. According to Sky Sports, team mate Ilkay Gündogan has already agreed a €30 million deal with the Red Devils. While players who endured a rather poor season like Ciro Immobile and Henerik Mkhitaryan are also other possible additions to the list of players who may bid a summer farewell to the Yellow Wall.

The ‘new’ Borussia Dortmund will be filled with youngsters rather than star players. Tuchel’s confidence in youth has been demonstrated in his previous club and he will be keen to bring that to his new home. Loaned out players like Maurice Litener, Jonas Hoffmann etc are set to return in the summer. Mainz’s 21 year old talented midfielder Johannes Geis could also join them, as a replacement for Gündogan.

With Sebastian Kehl’s retirement and Roman Weidenfeller’s aging and inconsistent season, new faces will arrive to take over the responsibility from these BVB legends who have been the symbol of the club for a long time. The team is in need of a change and this seems the hallmark of the Tuchel Dynasty.  It will be a transitional period for BVB and it will be difficult but the fans and administration will always be behind their manager, as they have demonstrated on several occasions this season.

In the mean time, the club will look to finish the season with a Cup title and a Europa League spot as a final tribute to Klopp and as a way of putting this horrendous season behind. But the players know the task will not be easy. They will have to face last year’s DFB Pokal champions Bayern München in the semifinal on Tuesday and have couple of important games ahead of them in the Bundesliga.


Written by Brook Genene

Follow Brook on Twitter @brookbvb

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Champions League Quarter-Final Second Leg: All four favorites seal their places in the semis

So all the four favourites made it through to semi-finals, but what can we make of what happened?

On Tuesday night:

-  PSG showed the entire football world just how good, bad and limited their team is. Their first half at the Camp Nou was horrifying (entertaining if you are Barca fan), but in the second half, they put Barca under so much pressure that even Messi started diving.  But of course they messed up all the chances they created.

-  David Luiz showed us that he is one of the few players, who have the power to be the worst and the best player in the same game with his immense contribution at the Camp Nou.

-  Despite being on course to win all three titles in France for the second year running, Laurent Blanc is expected to be relieved of his duties at the end of the season. Now what could possibly be the reason? Is it his inability to go beyond the last eight in Europe? Is it the fact that he turned Cavani, a fantastic forward, into Ibrahimovic’s favourite left-sided or right-sided sidekick? Is it because he is building his team around Ibrahiselfish? Or just all of the above? Wondering…

-  Neymar spent the entire second half of the game against PSG trying to set up his Boss; sorry, I mean teammate Messi instead of actually creating a goal-scoring chance for his team. Is he expecting a pay raise? From Barcelona, I mean.

-  Luis Suarez did not dive in the entire game against PSG. Maybe there was something wrong with him. But anyway, congrats to him for not diving; and to Neymar as well.

-  Somebody needs to tell Javier Mascherano to stop his falling and touching the face nonsense because no matter how hard he tries it won’t get him into Captain America 3, Suicide Squad or any other Hollywood movie. And the new Spiderman role already belongs to Aubameyang so por favor Javier, stop this nonsense.

-  As we all expected and anticipated, Bayern Munich made a fool out of Porto at the Allianz Arena. But the good news and of course the silver lining for Porto is that they didn’t concede 7 goals and they manage to score one goal. But despite that, they were ghosts during the entire game. Honestly, did those guys went to Germany to play or did they just go there to be slaughtered?


On Wednesday:

-  Real Madrid finally managed to do the unthinkable; they beat Atletico within 90 minutes. But that was not the only surprise. One of the three surprises was that it wasn’t Ronaldo who scored the goal, it was Chicharito. Yes, the king of outcasts, one of the very few players who managed to be the best bench-warmer in not only two different clubs but in two different countries: jersey number 14, Javier Hernandez.

- But if you thought that Hernandez goal was the cherry on top, you were mistaken. And although it has happened before, it has to be the biggest surprise of the week.  So here it goes: CRISTIANO RONALDO MANAGED TO BE UNSELFISH IN FRONT OF GOAL IN THE DYING MINUTES OF A VERY IMPORTANT GAME. Yup, he is the one who gave to vital pass to Hernandez. And that merits a big congrats to CR7. I guess if Messi can dive, Ronaldo can be unselfish. Freaky auarter-finals.

- Despite being the hero for Real Madrid, Hernandez managed to make Arsenal legend Thierry Henry angry for not celebrating with Cristiano, who assisted the goal. Now, I don’t know if it is Henry’s Arsenal’s side or his Barcelona’s side talking but what’s wrong with running for joy and waiting for your mates to come and celebrate with you? Ronaldo does that for every goal. And no offense to ‘King Henry’, but how many times has he run to the teammate who assisted him when he scored goals? For what I can remember, he would run slowly and wait for the rest of the team to congratulate him. So with no disrespect to your opinion Thierry, I don’t see what’s wrong with running for joy.

-  Sticking with Real, Hernandez  heroics might just have allowed Ancelotti to live another day, but Los Blancos boss will be hoping that his boys rediscover their ability to finish off their opponent earlier in the game as the season enter its final stage. And if UEFA ‘fair’ draw keeps Barca and Bayern apart for the semis to set up ‘Europe’s most wanted final’, Real will be in for a tough end of the season.

- After taking a page from Mourinho’s book by not rotating his players, Ancelotti used another trick from the ‘Special Book’, book of the Special One, by playing a defender in central midfield. What’s next? Loaning 30 players?

- After an amazing 2013/2014 season, Atletico Madrid is showing us just how much they have fallen. They went from Champions League finalist and La Liga winners to… just another good team. That’s what happens when you sell most of your best players and replace them with excellent but cheap bargains. In football terms, that’s called doing an Arsenal.

- After realising how dangerous Monaco can be on the counter, Juventus left their fancy football in Turin and honoured their Italian origin by playing the Italian game; defend with 12 men, with the twelfth men being the coach.  Although it’s not many people’s glass of Heineken (Champions League sponsor), it’s a genius tactic.



With the draw sealed and dusted in Nyon, which have set two gigantic semi-final clashes: Real Madrid vs Juventus and Bayern Munich vs Barcelona. Two matches, both rivalries that evoke memorable moments and tight encounters. They should prove worthwhile as always, no matter the result and outcome.


Written by Christopher Kayembe

Follow Chris on Twitter @SupraKays

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