Dr. Raj, DPT details the Bayer Leverkusen and German national starlet’s knee injury, return timeline, and return to pre-injury levels
Bayer Leverkusen & German National starlet Florian Wirtz – who has been targeted by Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Bayern Munich according to Fabrizio Romana – injured his left knee vs FC Koln and had to be stretchered off the pitch.
Mechanism of Injury
Based on the mechanism of injury (how it happened), with Florian taking contact (termed a “spontaneous perturbation”), planting his left leg, and then his knee diving inwards (valgus) on an externally (outwardly) rotated foot, this was most concerning for damage to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).
That diagnosis has been confirmed by the club following an MRI. There’s also potential for damage to the medial collateral ligament (MCL) & especially the meniscus.
Wirtz’s return to play timeline is around 7-9 months but there is research showing that returning to play in less than 9 months for players under 25 years old results in 7x increase in reinjury risk. However, you rarely see that in elite football and especially with the World Cup on the horizon.
Return to Performance
Florian’s return to pre-injury performance levels will take even longer. Typically, I’m looking at the 2nd season back as the key benchmark. I’m sure the top clubs will be closely monitoring the recovery as well.
I’ll keep you updated as we learn more.
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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).