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Berrichonne: prevention is better than cure

The Berrichonne medical staff does behind-the-scenes work that is sometimes difficult to measure.
The club’s two doctors, Xavier Roy and Ludovic Lemasson, explain their approach.

chateauroux articleXavier Roy and Ludovic Lemasson are proud to be able to work with an isokinetic machine. © Photo NR

The Berrichonne infirmary has rarely been at capacity this season. This good news can be largely attributed to the medical team that supports the players and works in close collaboration with the technical staff. “We’ve had 150 fewer days of absence than last season,” says Xavier Roy, the club’s referring doctor. Most importantly, there have been no muscular injuries.” 

With Ludovic Lemasson and the rest of the medical team (read below), Xavier Roy has implemented an injury prevention strategy that works perfectly. And one fundamental factor changed everything, according to the Berrichonne doctors.

Important work on the detection of muscular imbalances

“The first three years after the team switched to the synthetic terrain, we were very pleased, since the old turf was very difficult on the athletes, and we had seen a lot of sprained ankles and cruciate ligament ruptures. And so for a while, it seemed that the synthetic turf had put an end to this type of injury. But over time, it hardened and new injuries appeared: stress fractures, tendinitis, hernias and lumbar problems.” The synthetic turf was then replaced by a hybrid one last summer, not due to injuries but out of obligation, as the LFP no longer authorised this type of surface for professional teams. It was the right move, since, above and beyond the financial cost, the new turf is also a surprising tool for preventing injuries. “It’s a smooth surface,” says Xavier Roy. “And it’s a much softer structure than the synthetic turf. So much so that we realized we have fewer cases of tendinitis, and no more stress fractures or hernias. The only injuries that we identified are accidental and often shock-related.” 

One thinks in particular of the dislocated shoulder of Oumare Tounkara, in Brest on the first day, and that of Mouez Hassen, who was injured during practice, on a turf in La Tremblère, or the torn meniscus of Fallou Niang.

But the doctors are not content to note the benefits of the new turf; they are moving further and further ahead of the competition. “For about seven years, we have focused closely on prevention,” continues Xavier Roy. “Particularly on the detection of muscular imbalances, which can lead to injuries, and that we measure using an isokinetic machine (1). This allows us to develop personalised programmes for each player. Based on the isokinetic tests and his medical history, the player receives a specific prevention protocol. Of course, all of this is done by working hand in hand with the technical staff, and in particular with Jean-Luc Vasseur. This major work on prevention has allowed Berrichonne to become one of the L2 clubs with the fewest injuries.” 

This detection of muscular imbalances is complemented by a series of medical tests (mainly cardiology and dental) that the players undergo at the university hospital in Limoges each summer, in the care of professor Jean-Christophe Daviet, a specialist in sports medicine and, like Xavier Roy, a native of Argenton.

As for the FFF, it systematically takes two blood samples per year (in July and January) as well as four or five spot tests per year to detect doping risks. Thankfully, in France, these controls have so far never shown up positive.

(1) Isokinetism. This technology is used to evaluate dynamic muscular capacities. The principle of auto-adaptive resistant allows us to offer optimised rehabilitation or strengthening programmes in secure conditions.

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