Anji doctor Khadzhimurad Khizroev shared his thoughts on the first half of the season.
- How are you spending your time off, Khadzhimurad?
- Our family went to Israel. We spent time in Tel-Aviv. We swam in the famous Dead Sea, where it’s impossible to sink and across which you can see Jordan. Of course, we also went to Jerusalem and visited the third holiest site in Islam – the Al-Aqsa mosque.
I also dream of visiting the two holiest Islamic sites – the mosques in Mecca and Medina. But then I would also need to complete the hajj and for that to happen the time for pilgrimage must fall during football’s summer or winter break.
We’ll spend the remaining time until the team’s first training camp in our native Dagestan.
- What do you think of the football season thus far?
- You’re asking for my opinion as a doctor, right? Well, I was pleasantly surprised by how we mostly avoided injuries despite a very busy schedule, playing twice a week. That means we trained properly and helped our players recover correctly. As for major injuries in the past six months – Traore, Akhmedov, Diarra, Shatov, G. Gabulov come to mind. Lassana and Odil’s injuries, for that matter, were sustained through direct hits, in collisions with an opponent, which can happen no matter the schedule. Traore and Smolov pulled hamstrings thanks to sudden bursts of acceleration, which is also impossible to predict and prevent.
- Who serves on Anji’s medical staff?
- My colleague Andrey Grishanov, physiotherapists Arno Philips, Stijn Vandenbroucke, Chima Onyeike, masseurs Ibragim Khalipaev and Vadim Asriyan. To clarify, Chima is also officially a fitness trainer, but that’s quite close to our job – doing everything we can for the players to be healthy and capable of handling practices and games.
- Some might think the work of a football doctor is laid-back and easy: Just run out on the field to ice injuries…
- (Smiles). That’s only part of our work, and even that must be done properly. One must determine instantaneously what happened to the player (the injuries can be quite different) and quickly offer practical help.
There’s plenty of work after each practice. By the way, every player has his own personality and quirks. Some have to be calmed down and reassured that it’s not as bad as he thinks. Another, meanwhile, has to be convinced to pay proper attention to the treatment process. It’s important to be flexible, pay individual attention to each player and perceive what’s hiding behind his sensations and his description of those sensations.
Ordering medication and tracking the market for medicines is our responsibility. As expected, caring for the players’ nutrition is also a very important aspect of our work. It’s unthinkable that we’d fly somewhere and that the team would just eat whatever. All of that is agreed upon in detail beforehand and carefully double-checked.
Finally, though I pray no one is forced to do this, a sports doctor must be able to perform resuscitation –even on the field, if necessary. I’m talking about situations where someone’s heart stops or other extreme circumstances. In these days intensive, all-encompassing medical examinations of players are carried out in an effort to prevent such sudden tragedies from happening.
I’ll note that despite difficulties and the high level of responsibility, I like my work. This is truly my calling.
- By the way, a medical examination of Anji players already took place, correct?
- Yes, Guus Hiddink made a smart decision. Rather than have the players travel to wintry Moscow in January prior to training camp in the Emirates, we decided to hold the examinations at the beginning of December, at the end of the first half of the season. Now the players will fly directly to Dubai from their countries. Ongoing athletic testing can be done there.
- How entitled are Anji players?
- It’s easy and simple to relate with them professionally. Yes, we have a very diverse squad, including some highly-decorated stars, but I can’t recall a single incident of rudeness or conceit on the part of a player when interacting with the medical staff.