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August 2021

The Untold Injury Records – Part 6

By Walter Broeckx

After the introduction part 1   and part 2   and part 3   and part 4    and part 5  we now are going to have a look at some of the injuries in detail. And remember this is based on the injuries since 2002.

Now as I have said before we have some 124 different injuries and I will not go over all of them. I don’t think anyone is waiting anxious to know how many times a player has suffered a toothache. But I went over the list and tried to have a look at the most current injuries and some of the more severe injuries. And the result of that will be shown in the next articles.

I will present each injury in a table and then give some more information about the type if injury and how it was classified in our contact/non contact tables.

1.Achilles injuries

This type of injury is classified as a contact injury. This is because usually an Achilles is not just something that tears while you are walking or running. It might happen of course but that is a very small chance. Certainly for footballers. This injury is mostly a result of being kicked on the Achilles from behind. A very current way of getting injured on the Achilles is the famous tackle from behind going through the attacker (mostly). A tackle that should have been banned many world cups ago and once was automatically punished with a red card.

Nowadays you sometimes see it returning and most amazingly some refs even make the played the ball gesture if the defender coming in from behind unexpectedly makes some contact with the ball. Coward refereeing it is called.

Achilles Injury Injuries Coefficient risk
Arsenal 14 157.50 %
Aston villa 11 123.75 %
Chelsea 5 56.25 %
Everton 3 33.75 %
Fulham 11 123.75 %
Liverpool 9 101.25 %
Man City 5 56.25 %
Man United 11 123.75 %
Newcastle 10 112.50 %
Tottenham 15 168.75 %
League average without Arsenal 8,89
Total injuries 94

So in this contact injury type we had 94 injured players since 2002. Giving us an average of just under 9 players each season.

As Arsenal is part of the kick them to pieces team (on the receiving end I quickly add even though this seems not really necessary) it is no surprise to see that we had much more of this type of injuries. But even then we are not even top of the table. This is something we give to Tottenham. So at least they are first in one table.

But for Arsenal it means that our players have more than 50% chance of getting such an injury than most other teams. Where are the refs when you need them? Well not to be seen if you are from North London apparently.

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2. Ankle/foot injury

Another contact injury. Because once again a foot or an ankle is rarely injured from just running around. Most of the injuries on the ankle are a result of being kicked.

So here is the table for this type of injury

Ankle/foot Injury Injuries Coefficient risk
Arsenal 176 158.560 %
Aston villa 95 85.59 %
Chelsea 108 97.30 %
Everton 121 109.01 %
Fulham 85 76.58 %
Liverpool 96 86.49 %
Man City 84 75.68 %
Man United 150 135.14 %
Newcastle 105 94.59 %
Tottenham 155 139.64 %
League average without Arsenal 111
Total injuries 1175

Kick them on the ankle. Kick Wilshere on his foot. I think we have seen it enough and heard it enough. It is a tactic to kick people where they have a soft spot in their body. But this is just not alone about Wilshere of course. It is used as a common tactic when a kick the shit out of them takes the field against Arsenal.

The result of this “fancy footwork” can be found in this table. Arsenal have by far the highest injury score on ankle and foot injuries of all the teams in the database. This time we beat Tottenham even with a big margin.

This leaves our players with yet again another big injury risk and a risk that only can be made better when refs start acting like refs and protect players. And no not just our players. All players.

Can Arsenal, Wenger, the medical staff do anything about these injuries? No, alas not. These injuries are down to the ref doing his job in the right way. And to cut kicking against the Achilles or foot or ankle out. That is the only way we can reduce such injuries. And it sure would be nice if we could reduce them.

Let us move on to the next injury type.

3. Back Injury

This is what I have classified under a the type 2 category. You can get a back injury from making a bad movement. But you can also get a back injury from being fouled and landing badly. Or being pushed in the air (= foul) and then landing badly. Or being jumped in the back by another player. So in our table where we made the difference between contact and non contact injuries we have split all they back injuries for half of them as contact injuries and the other half as non contact injuries.

Back Injury Injuries Coefficient risk
Arsenal 49 214.08 %
Aston villa 18 78.64 %
Chelsea 24 104.85 %
Everton 27 117.96 %
Fulham 22 96.12 %
Liverpool 22 96.12 %
Man City 24 104.85 %
Man United 18 78.64 %
Newcastle 21 91.75 %
Tottenham 30 131.07 %
League average without Arsenal 22.89
Total injuries 255

In this type of injury we see an amazing thing. Arsenal have more than the double than the league average! This is very worrying I would say. Like I said many of those injuries are a result of fouls and landing badly on the back. Or being fouled and getting a foot or a knee in the back. Not much we can do about that except ask the referees to perform better.

But we also most take notice that there will be a lot of back injuries that are not result of being fouled. Now I suffer from some chronicle pain in my back because of lifting something very very long ago. So I know you can get injured by not playing football or being kicked.

And I know that by doing exercises you can  make your back stronger. But once there is damage done it is difficult to get rid of it apart from an operation and even then.

Is Arsenal or has Arsenal done something wrong when it came to preventing back injuries? I don’t know. I’m not a member of the coaching staff or the medical team. But I do hope that Arsenal are aware of this and do something about it.

In the next article we will have a look at a few other injuries.

41 comments to The Untold Injury Records – Part 6

  • Mick

    The terrible truth with the ankle and achilles injuries is, at least as far as Wilshere is concerned, that there appears to be deliberate targeting of what is seen as a weak spot. This deliberate intention to minimize (to put it politely) Jacks ability to influence the game by foul means presumably initially comes from the manager/coaching staff. To put it in plain English, it looks like opponents are being instructed to intentionally injure Jack Wilshere.

  • Georgaki-Pyrovolitis


    You are truly performing a service to Football in general and Arsenal in particular.I hope other, non-Untold statisticians get involved and develop this further to the point that it transcends Untold Arsenal. Then the likes of the cynical British media will no longer be able to manipulate the evidence with ease….well, they will do the next best thing…ignore the evidence

  • Micheal Ram

    I remember once Gilberto Silva fractured his back vertebrate because of back challenge by an Everton player. No foul and he was out for 4 months. What the hell?

  • Brickfields Gunners

    There has many stepping on the foot and ankle late ‘tackles’ on the likes of Wilshire and earlier Ramsey.
    Giroud gets kneed and shoved in the back.
    The players ought to take ‘selfies’ of those bruises and cuts and post them on the internet !
    Dragging/ strangling the defender by the neck as was done to Kos at Spuds and BFG earlier for which a penalty was given, are other areas to look into.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    An Ear Full – Or Not?

    Hazel went to her family physician with her crying baby. Doctor Cassidy diagnosed right away that the baby had an earache and he wrote a prescription for ear drops. In the directions he wrote, ‘Put two drops in right ear every four hours’, and he abbreviated “right” as an R with a circle around it.

    Hazel returned to the doctor after several days and complained that the baby still had an earache, but his bottom was getting really greasy with all those drops of oil.

    Dr Cassidy was amazed and looked at the bottle of ear drops and realized immediately what had gone wrong. The Pharmacist had typed the following instructions on the label:

    ‘Put two drops in R ear every four hours.’

  • Brickfields Gunners

    While working as a radiology technician in a hospital emergency room, I took some X-rays of a trauma patient and took the results to the senior radiologist, who studied the multiple fractures of the femurs and pelvis.

    ‘What on earth happened to this patient?’ he asked in astonishment.

    ‘He fell out of a tree,’ according to the report.

    The radiologist wanted to know what the patient was doing up a tree.

    ‘I’m not sure, but his paperwork states he works for Mark’s Expert Tree Pruning Service.’

    Gazing intently at the X-rays, the radiologist blinked and said, ‘Cross out ‘expert.’

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Sadness depresses the immune system as well as the mood. Happiness acts in the opposite way. Therefore being healthy sure beats being unhealthy. In fact, happiness and health are a two-way causal street.

  • Gord

    Something which is dated (beginning of Premier League? Before?), is that it wasn’t uncommon for a forward backing into a centreback or fullback to get punched in the kidney, which would report as a back injury.


    Seen one news report that Ryo is out for the season, in that loss to Barcelona for the U21.

  • Ben

    If i remember correctly from the Arsenal Magazine a few issues back that they hired 2 ex London Irish players to help strengthen players so they are not injured as much. I hope this works out in the long run.

    One off topic good news is that Campbell won the Greek title with Olympiacos.

  • sukebe

    i am printing all of this… (hey, i am a paper reader, not a monitor reader, type of person)

    and i will submit this as my thesis……. nah, kidding. Haven’t had the chance to go higher than high school…

    Well, my deepest thanks for the knowledge, Sir…

    salam… 🙂

  • sukebe


    now i see you’re true principle on life: “happiness and health are a two-way causal street.” 🙂


  • WalterBroeckx

    Subeke and Brickfields, if I understand it correct the AAA by their moaning are taking away the happiness of the Arsenal players and thus also their health.

    Damn not the refs are responsible but the AAA 😉 🙂 Skip the articles Tony…skip all of them in the waiting list 😉 🙂

  • Sukebe

    Hi Mr. Walter, how are you?
    Still officiating with your son?

    It’s Sukebe, subeke janai yo…. :E

    I definitely wth you, Sir… It’s not the ref’s fault…. 😉

    It’s them dark souls to be put all the blame to..
    AAA, the dark side of the cannon… 🙂

  • Sukebe

    Oh, i remember something i want to ask to Mr. Tony a long time ago..

    Mr. Tony, can you please put a little button at the bottom of the very last comment says “back to top?”

    IMho, it’ll help alot when the comment come flooding.

  • WalterBroeckx

    To answer your question about refereeing: yes still am. But my son will now leave me behind. Despite us having the same scores but he is so much younger and can still make it to the top and who knows even get a Fifa badge. While this old body will remain at the current level (as long as my knee holds it).

    Needless to say that I feel very proud about him. And I know he will be a great assistant. But we do a match together occasionally for the moment.

    About the back to top button: that is a great idea and I would support it if it can be done

  • AL

    Impressive analysis. Again, most of these injuries support the view that the majority of our injuries are not down to “poor training” methods, but rather are a direct result of thuggish behaviour from players of other teams.

    Regarding the return to the top button, Walter and Sukebe, I’m not sure WordPress allows you to do that. I think it offers the options to insert page jump links which take you up or down a long page. Not sure if that will work well on content that’s every changing/increasing as more people post. But I’m not a coder so might be wrong. The one and possibly easy option that comes to mind is limiting the number of posts per page, to say something like maximum 15 posts per page and create another page. Like when you do a search in Google, it displays a certain number of results on one page and a navigation menu at the bottom to flick through the results. I believe this site was once like that actually.

  • Gord


    What is wrong with your knee? Cartilage has no blood supply to think of. It gets “nutrition” through the release of compounds from the knee lining into the joint fluid, and via joint motion, getting pumped to the cartilage surface. Hence, if you never get any exercise because of joint pain, the joint never gets better. Bicycling and work in the swimming pool (laps, aqua-aerobics, …) involve knee joint motion without shock. Most other ways to effect joint motion, involve shock at the knee.

    A big part of what the cartilage is made of, is glucosamine. Sure, you can buy pills which have it. Making soup from bones where you simmer the bones a long time to dissolve gelatin and cartilage might be better for you, certainly it tastes better.

  • Mandy Dodd

    As ever, some interesting facts in here. The foot ankle injuries do not seem surprising the way our players are treated.
    Then the back injuries, a real strange one. Off the top of my head, I remember denilson, Gilberto and I think clichy having small fractures in vertebrae, think sanogo also had a back injury? I am sure I read we relaid some training pitches a couple years ago? If true, wonder if the surfaces have caused at least some of these problems? Know you can get back injuries from fouls, but these figures confirm my fears we get more of these injuries than others

  • WalterBroeckx

    in one knee I have a grade 3 injury meaning the cartilage has gone almost completely at some places.
    Two seasons ago it looked game over for me. Knee on fire during each match, very painful and impossible to walk decent days after the match.

    Physiotherapy to improve the muscles above the knee helped. I try to train most of the time on my bicycle. I can only train by running 1 time in the week and only on soft surfaces like grass. And I take glucosamine and in a combination with some other substances.

    And now two years later I reached the highest level still possible at my age, passed the fitness test that we have to do and they are rather heavy for a person of my age. At my age most fail on the fitness test but not me…. so far.

    I have to be careful during matches when the pitch is very soaked and muddy as it asks a lot from my knee as you slip a bit and that can cause the bones to touch each other.

    But other than that I’m fine 😉
    I just have to be careful and then I should be fine. Would like to stay at my level for the next 5 years still and then slowly take it easy a bit.

  • Gord

    Any movement where we are upright and need to keep our balance can lead to back injuries. It’s the price we pay for a design meant to walk on 4 legs, and then we turn two legs into arms and stand up.

    For most people, we lack core strength (the muscles between the pelvis and ribcage). Part of this, we have no idea how to sit. If you have one of the big (50-80cm diameter balls) meant for therapy, sit on the ball. Let your stomach muscles relax as much as you can. Measure the distance from your pelvis to bottom of ribcage with your hands. Now tighten your stomach muscles as much as you can. Neutral for your back should be about half way between those two extremes.

    My Mom can tell the difference between walking on concrete (no covering) and walking on concrete with a thin layer of linoleum. There can be some cushioning in 1/8 inch linoleum, but a bigger source might be traction (can your foot rotate about the maximum pressure point)?

    For years, we’ve (people that cook, or study kitchen design) have known the best floor covering in a kitchen is sealed cork. What do we see in kitchens? Ceramic tile (often with epoxy grout to keep from staining).

    Changing the surface might work (Emirates field), but is expensive. It could be a lack of fitness in the core.

    Two “exercises” I’ve run across that are supposed to be good for lower back, are to ride a horse (a real one), and to kayak (single person). Riding a horse is interesting. They are terribly athletic, and outweigh us by at least times 4. The saddle position does not describe a straight line in 2 or 3 dimensions when viewed over time. Riding a horse is all about our own internal need to have the spine upright, competing against this terribly more muscular horse, who is doing what he/she naturally does.

    I suppose in terms of football teams, setting up a pool for kayaking (pumped inlet and outlet) might be more practical and controllable. As athletes got stronger, they could inject air at the bottom of channel to produce bubbles to sway the kayak.

  • Gord


    Conventional sayings are that the cartilage in a knee WILL NOT repair itself. Truth is, cartilage surfaces in any joint are slow to repair themselves. Truth? My truth, too much studying and no ability to point to a paper.

    There are many muscles which cross the knee joint. The quadriceps is obvious, as it connects to the knee cap, which connects to the tibia via a tendon. So, keeping the quads strong is good.

    There are abductors (legs apart) which cross the knee joint, and adductors (legs together) which cross the knee joint. The ab/ad muscles are important in medial knee injuries.

    The hamstring has components which cross the knee joint, and usually people get more than enough exercise to keep all 4 parts of the hamstring strong (biceps femoris, semitendonosis, and semimembranosis). But what many people seem to miss is strengthening gastrocnemius in the calves. Soleus doesn’t cross the knee joint, but gastrocnemius does.

    Doing “toe raises” where the knee is almost straight maximizes how much work gastrocnemius can contribute. A place easy to work on this, is the stairs. Hold both walls (railings), and do toe raise exercises (let your heel sink as low as it can with the ball of your toes on the edge of the stair, lift your body as high as it can go by contracting soleus and gastrocnemius). Gets too easy? Stand on one leg.

    Doing the exercise gives the incentive to get stronger, by damaging the muscle (if you go to failure). The important part is recovery, the 36-48 hours after going to failure, when your body will try to rebuild the muscle stronger.

    If you have a balanced diet, all that is needed is just not to overload that muscle. Want a little extra help, add a bit more of your favorite protein to your diet. On a reduced budget? Tofu is probably one of the most cost effective sources of protein.

    If you work a muscle too soon after the last workout, it gets weaker.

    Strengthening gastroc is the only thing I’ve added here. From everything you’ve written on Untold, you have a balanced diet. You are bicycling. Maybe just adding this other exercise for below the knee gets you closer to 100%? If nothing else, it should help. If you find it isn’t helping, stop doing the exercises. At that point, maybe doing adduction or abduction strengthening might be something to look into.

    Lots of people have these problems, and maybe my rambling helps lots of people.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Amazing Gord, wish Mr Wenger would get in touch with you with his players injuries!

  • Gord

    Thanks Mandy. A competent professional should be more knowledgeable than I am. I just happen to read the athletic rehab literature fairly often.

    Having an engineering background probably helps a little.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Interesting Gord, thanks.

    Will see if I can add the “toe exercise”. My physiotherapist let me do something while laying down and making me push with my toes against his arm while he was pushing against it. I think it has the same outcome as the exercise you described to do on the stairs.
    Will add this whenever I go upstairs from now on 🙂

  • Gord


    Did you read the Wikipedia page on cartilage repair?

    There are a few different kinds of cell repair procedures mentioned. It doesn’t sound like you are being treated by any of those procedures. My guess might be that they are expensive, and they (doctors) might feel you are too old for such a procedure. I’ve heard that story before (I’m about your age).

    A while ago, I was reading some NASA related literature. Astronauts lose bone mass in space. Diversion. If I produce an equation describing the position of some surface as a function of time, the first derivative of that function gives me the velocity as a function of time. The second derivative gives me the acceleration. And the third derivative gives me something called “jerk”. What some in NASA had hypothesized, is that bone growth is stimulated by controlled exposure to “jerk” (not to _a_ jerk like Mike Riley). Which if you imagine the right way, sort of sounds like damaging the bone surface under cartilage.

    Finding situations where jerk is present aren’t common, at least until a decade or so ago. Seen high end stereos? Seen something called a subwoofer? It demonstrates jerk. Anyway, NASA was looking at I think it was raising sheep, where the pen the sheep was in for some of the day, was actually a subwoofer (fairly big one). I would imagine the periodicitity of the motion of the surface of the subwoofer might also drive some circulation in the joint as well.

    I never did return to that subject. But I wonder if NASA got anywhere on this? And if so, did they see any effects on cartilage?

  • Gord

    Here is a study on how the knee joint moves, comparing Earth and the International Space Station.

    The paper is free of charge. 8 pages long.

  • Gord

    A study of loads on the knee, and how this related to bone loss in astronauts (with applications to osteoporosis).

    You need to visit this page to have it serve the paper to you (available as a PDF). The paper itself is free (open access).

    8 pages long.

    Bone recovery time (from stimulus) is on the order of 2 hours. I.e.: if you do an exercise for 5-20 minutes whose intent is to strengthen bone, a rest period of 2 hours should be used before repeating the exercise.

    No mention of cartilage.

  • Gord

    The above paper might be of interest to Arsenal medical people, if anyone knows how to contact them. It might be helpful in healing bone fractures. It is relatively recent (2009).

  • Gord

    Here is an older pointer to the vibrating plate thing (2001). Rats, turkeys and sheep took part (turkey in picture).

  • Gord

    Brand new program on articular cartilage degeneration in space.

    No results yet.

  • Gord

    Another brand new program on how to grow cartilage in space.

  • Gord

    Another new. Can help understand how cartilage is related to bone. The animal model here is quail (incubation studies).

  • Mark

    When we look at the injuries I think we have to be in absolute awe of how Arsenal have been consistently competitive in EPL and various cups. If the refs had more quality and were less biased then there would be less ankle, foot, Achilles and back injuries.

  • Gord

    Ryo has not been having much luck on the injury department. Hopefully this injury is his last one, and he gets healed enough before next season that he can spend some time getting stronger.

  • rantetta


    Amazing posts. I only revisited this thread to post a pic of Ryo, and offer some sympathy.

    Athletically speaking, I seem to be truly blessed, despite weird gnarled up toes, flat feet and broken elbow. Presently I’m experiencing mild plantis fasciwhatsit (to give it its technical name) but I’d like to think I’ve got it undr control.

    Ginger is my drug of choice. I drink it all day for 20 years. It’s an anti -imflamitory and I take it in preference to NSAIDS any time. Years ago I tore my calf muscle, I sliced ginger, warmed it in the microwave, then used a stocking to keep the slices attached to the injury at nights. I don’t remember how long the injury took to heal, or the grade of the tear, but it done the job. I was partly inspired by the ginger chapter in a book called Beyond Aspirin, in which the authors describe a man crippled by arthritis, putting a good amount of ginger into his cooking every day for 3 months, who recovered so well he didn’t need operations.

    I am a Gingerholic.

    However, seeing excercises to help Plantis involved the kind of stretching you’ve described, on stairs, to stretch the calf. I done something similar using a big phone book. Except I didn’t keep it up for long as the pain retreated and only appeared, mildly, when stepping out of bed in the morn.

    I’ll be doing that stretching prior to excercises, I hope. Fact is, I’ve had a lifetime of not warming up, relying, probably stupidly, on the concept of muscle memory negating need for bloom in’ stretching an stuff.

    It’s bollocks, but as I said, I’m blessed. I’ll look at the links you’ve posted over the next days, thanks.

    Good luck Walter.

  • Gord

    plantar fasciitis I think. Fascia is a covering around some structures in the body. You’ve irritated it. You don’t use turmeric as well? Tumeric also has anti-inflammatory properties (curcumin).

    A stretch should be held for at least 20 seconds. Not really much point holding it longer than 1 minute.

    Heard of tennis elbow? Tendonitis. Swollen tendon. Often has scar tissue on it. People with tennis elbow tend to not do anything, and eventually the pain goes away. As soon as they start using that elbow, the pain returns soon. The scar tissue and swelling never did go away.

    Instead of doing nothing, use the elbow (or in your case the heel) until the pain gets annoying. The pain is telling you among other things things, that you have broken up some of the scar tissue. Put ice on area for about an hour or so after exercising (take off occassionally so you don’t get frostbite). The object is to make all the blood vessels in the area constrict, so that they don’t let blood get to the fascia (or tendon) and cause it to form a bunch of new scar tissue. By regularly working the area and cooling it off, you hope to eventually get rid of all the scar tissue, then all that is left is reducing the swelling, if still present.

    As far as I know, ginger dilates blood vessels. So you would want to not have a lot of ginger in the blood stream when exercising or icing. A couple of hours later, is probably okay.

  • Gord

    Occassionally if I am cooking hamburgers (from scratch), I will put something in the centre. I have often put fairly big pieces of ginger in hamburgers. Garlic cloves, a piece of strong tasting sausage, anchovies, chocolate are other things. I think a bit of wasabi might might be nice too.

  • Gord

    It is about quarter past 4am in London now, the game is in 8.5 hours. I’ll probably work another 45 minutes, then call it a night (it is 10:20 pm here). So maybe talk to you later tonight or tomorrow Rantetta.

  • rantetta

    Thanks Gord.

    In the same book I referred to above, was a chapter on turmeric. Strangely, I haven’t used it though I had an unopened pack for at least a decade, which I threw away last week, having now bought cayenne pepper powder. I’ve sprinkled CP into my ginger tea. Hot it up even more, haha.

    Your description of PF is spot on according to what I’ve read. You put it appropriately, simply. Much appreciated. I’ve gotten away without tennis elbow, which is great seeing tennis is my bag, big time. Occasional hints of carpal tunnel, yet untroubled by hitting. Perhaps healed by hitting. The comparison you’ve made between PF & TE explains things very well, I find.

    Seems I’ve also gotten away with drinking ginger, hitting or not. But the thing I think I know for sure, is that drinking water is simply the best thing. When the PF was at its worse, I took a frozen bottle from the freezer and rolled my heel over it, back and forth for awhile. That was the extent of my icing. It done a good job.

    Thanks again, Gord. I’d better have some zzzzz’s. I’ll check in tomorrow. Good night.

  • rantetta

    I’m supposed to be up at 7, GMT.

    Conve4sation too engaging. And now talk of hamburgers. You’re sounding like Walters road trips, lol, smiley winky face.