Collecchio, 11 June 2020 – With nine days before the first official match is due to take place after the league’s forced break, Parma Calcio 1913’s Health Manager, Dr. Paolo Manetti, wanted to address the current situation:

I wanted to address the situation and provide an update on the players’ current situation. Managing this pandemic has been difficult for everyone throughout Italy, and our athletes have of course been involved in that. They’ve all acted with a lot of responsibility and awareness, and of course there was some sadness when we had to stop training and adapt to the regulations. Some lived with their family, others were in isolation, and overall it was a long and tough period for them all.”

“From a clinical point of view, that phase is passing and the disease is much less formidable, but the precautions, like distancing off the pitch and other protocol, continue to be in place. The most difficult moment has passed but a more complex one is coming, where, in order to finish the season, we will be playing every three days in temperatures that will make matches and training more difficult.”

“From a statistical point of view, it’s been proven and documented that playing every three days, therefore two/three times a week compared to one, increases the number of injuries by four times. So, every thousand hours of training, instead of four new injuries we could have twenty-five: those are the statistics. So, what we’re trying to do is all the prevention work and to try and manage this period well after being inactive for so long. We’ve had a few small muscle aches, which we’ve managed with extreme caution for that exact reason, and we’ll go into this last week with the aim of solving all those little issues.” 

“The time has allowed us to continue to work on the biggest injuries, in particular Roberto Inglese’s: even with Italy in lockdown we have found a way to continue daily physiotherapy that Roberto has carried out with great dedication and commitment. We’re collecting the results now, and it was a serious injury in which perhaps the most important tendon in the human body, the flexors in the back of the thigh, were damaged. Dr. Lempainen’s successful operation in Finland restored everything anatomically and the planned time frame was five months, so we’re almost there and we’re in contact with the Professor daily to exchange tests. The aim is to get him back training with the group from next week, and from then on he’ll gradually return to his peak physical condition. Whether it’s more or less than a week, it’s a question of having rebuilt the player’s body and confidence so that he can continue to do his job, that has been achieved thanks to the willpower of the player as well as the surgeon’s skill.” 

“The other serious injury we had was that of Luigi Sepe, who ruptured an adductor tendon. We took a conservative approach with this case that paid off, because his body has fully recovered and he’s now training with the group and doing everything with normality. The group is getting back together, and some have directly experienced COVID with symptoms, but all minor: nobody was seriously affected and so we are lucky from this point of view. The problem at that stage was that we didn’t have the possibility to use swabs, even for those who had light symptoms, to understand what the situation was. Now we have a lot of swabs and we don’t have any more positive results either among staff or players. We have overcome this tricky period and we’re ready for the final part of the season.”