Transfer Talk: Is Erling Haaland Injury Prone?

Dr. Raj, DPT delved into the BVB phenom’s injury record

Borussia Dortmund striker and transfer target for the world’s top clubs Erling Haaland has missed over 15 matches this season due to muscular injuries.

With the massive investment required to sign him, this poses the pertinent question:

Is he injury prone? Let’s take a closer look at his injury history.

Injury History

His injury record prior to this season doesn’t bring up any yellow or red flags. He dealt with some muscular issues & knee problems with his longest absence due to a grade 2 hamstring muscle tear in December of 2020.

However, this season, he’s had multiple extended absences and according to manager Marco Rose, continues to struggle with movement confidence and fitness as he recovers from an adductor injury after missing significant time with a hip flexor injury.

Injury prone?

Seeing this cycle of muscular injuries is unfortunate but it’s not entirely unexpected in-season because once you pick up a significant muscle injury, there’s risk for knock-on effects and further injuries due to compensation along with fluctuations in fitness and ramping up to match fitness – both of which come with inherent risks.

In Haaland’s case, that risk is increased by his high pace and positional demands, namely the amount of sprints per game. Both combine to place a higher load on his muscles and risk for overload. Further, at only 21 years olds, he’s still developing towards his fitness and physical peak. 

All that being said, one season of muscular injuries doesn’t mean someone is injury prone. Once you enter into the vicious cycle of injury-reinjury during a season, it’s very difficult to get out of it until the off-season where you have the proper time to really address the underlying issues and ramp up more gradually. If you see that across multiple seasons, then that’s definitely a yellow flag.

For that key reason, I can’t say he’s injury prone. Of course, any club interested in a transfer will have access to his medical records & do a full work-up.

A similar example

The example that immediately comes to mind is Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey. He had a very good injury record prior to arriving in London but picked up a quadriceps injury, reinjury, a hamstring injury, and then adductor discomfort in his 1st season.

This led to some calling him injury prone but after a summer to get completely right, he’s dealt with no muscular issues this season even after missing a month due to a contact-based high ankle injury & is starting to look like the premier midfielder Arsenal shelled out 45 million pounds for. 

A key positive

A critical positive for Erling is that according to multiple accounts, he’s extremely committed & disciplined when it comes to his health & fitness. That mentality & daily work is critical towards guarding against future injuries & building up resilience. 

Thank you for reading and thank you for your time.

Dr. Rajpal Brar, DPT, (@3cbperformance) is a physiotherapist, movement expert, strength and conditioning/fitness coach, sports scientist and mindfulness coach. He runs the LA and online based physiotherapy and athletic performance clinic 3CB Performance and you can subscribe to his Youtube channel (which posts a variety of sports injury, performance, and fitness related content).

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