By Walter Broeckx
I just read an interesting article about the injury that Theo Walcott sustained in the North London Derby last weekend. And as it was mentioned in the comment section earlier by one of our readers I think it would be interesting to have a closer look at this.
Now I must warn you that I am not a doctor or a surgeon so I first wanted at first to just copy what the media has reported about this and hope that their information is correct. But I have gone further. Because last year a study was published about this subject by two orthopaedic surgeons from the University of Leuven, the most famous university of Flanders.
When I looked it up I even found a link to the website of the University where they publish this and they also mention that the their study has been published in the Journal of Anatomy. Not really my daily magazine but well…. A link to the website of the University of Leuven can be found if you are interested in this.
For those who are not that interested I will try to summarize it a bit.
The two orthopaedic surgeons have published a study in which they stated that they found a rather unknown ligament outside the knee capsule. A ligament that also usually is damaged when the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) is torn. The unknown ligament is called the anterolateral ligament (ALL), if you are still with me.
Now when the ACL is ruptured (as with Theo) up to now the surgeons fixed the ACL and that was it. But then some people experienced problems when pivoting. Their knee remained unstable and they got new injuries. In technical terms they speak of so-called ‘pivot shift’, or episodes where the knee ‘gives way’ during activity. Not really ideal for top sport people of course.
So when the ACL is fixed but the ALL (the new one) not this would lead to this unstable knee after surgery. So the surgeons Johan Bellemans and Steven Claes have said that surgeons need to make sure that they not just fix the ACL but also should repair the ALL. Don’t ask me how as that is far away from my knowledge. Like I said I am not a doctor.
In the media in Belgium yesterday there was this article about Walcott and where the Leuven Surgeons talked about the injury. And they said that if the right technique would be used and the ACL and the ALL would be both repaired there could still be a chance of Theo being fit in some 4 months time. And that would mean that Theo could still play in the world cup.
Watch Arsenal Live Streams With StreamFootball.tv
Now I must say that I am not that keen on this idea but I am very keen on the idea that whoever does the operation on Theo repairs every ligament that has been damaged.
Now the doctors said that they cannot speak about the Walcott knee situation itself as they are not aware of how the situation is. So they didn’t want to speak about him specifically. But the general idea is that they think that a player that has a complete surgery now could still make it to the world cup. As they said it: If you repair all the ligaments quickly and correct, the chance of a substantially faster, safer and more stable recovery is much higher. They speak of a possible recovery time of less than 4 months.
Just imagine Theo making it for the last game of the season to lift the trophy with the rest of the team?
Now you might say that this is all fine and well but it will not really help us or Theo with what they found in Leuven. But I wouldn’t be surprised that Walcott and Arsenal would take the findings of the Flemish surgeons on board. Because in this article it was also mentioned that there has been made enquiries from within England to the surgeons. So it is fair to say that whoever will decide the treatment and the consequent recovery time might consider the help or use the expertise from the Leuven surgeons.
It probably will not help Arsenal this season. But in the long run having his knee ligaments repaired in the best possible way is important for Arsenal and for him personally.
People who have been reading my articles in the past know that I don’t like Fifa and the world cup. But I do understand that for any professional player it is very important to be at a world cup. Last world cup Theo was injured I think. And now again missing out with an injury would be a big blow for him. So I wouldn’t mind him being fit for the world cup. For Theo. Not for England. But just for him as a person.
I always liked him for his friendly character. He always seems to be a friendly, nice young man, well educated and not a silly type we sometimes see. So if there is one player who deserves to shine at a world cup it is Theo.
And after showing the spuds the score last weekend…he is turning in to an Arsenal legend. Can we get a statue of Theo showing the score outside the Emirates?