SunSport delves into a world of musculoskeletal stability, body fat & sprint tests to explain what clubs expect of new signings
A FEE is agreed, the personal terms set in stone and the club shop is already putting his name on the back of replica shirts.
But then comes news every football fan fears – the player who is going to fire your team to glory has failed his medical.
The process is often seen as foregone conclusion – but what does a football medical actually entail?
SunSport delves into a world of musculoskeletal stability, body fat and sprint tests.
EVERY player is different – and therefore every medical is different.
Each player has their own knocks and issues and the medical is designed to check that these won’t stop him from performing at his peak.
You wouldn’t want to shell out £40million on a player with an undiagnosed calf issue – and the process is designed to rigorously ensure that the player in question is in top working order.
Depending on the club, a medical could take as long as two days and feature a number of tests conducted by a fitness team, physiotherapist and possibly a club doctor.
The information they then collect is passed onto the manager and chief execs for a final decision.
It’s all in the heart
EVERYONE remembers Fabrice Muamba’s heart attack on the pitch at White Hart Lane.
The Bolton midfielder was lucky to survive – but others such as Marc Vivien Foe and Phil O’Donnell have succumbed to undiagnosed heart problems.
So more than ever before medicals have a greater focus on the heart, performing cardiac screening with an ECG and heart history questionnaire.
Players up to the age of 24 will ideally have annual checks to detect any heart-related issues and this is now fairly standard practice after past tragedies.
Besides, cardio is a huge part of the modern game as fitness levels are pushed to the limit by ever increasing hikes in intensity and player safety is paramount.
Put your back into it
REMEMBER when Liverpool seemed to have players go down every week with hamstring problems?
Medics look at musculoskeletal stability – the strength of the back and lower abdomen – to determine if a player will have any problems with the quads or hamstrings.
Players will be forced to do a number of squats, hop tests and lunges as they show the assessors that these regions are strong enough for a 50-game plus season.
Whether they have a backbone for the mental fight is a separate issue.
Who ate all the pies?
WE’VE all seen it, the journeyman striker who returns from pre-season looking like he’s enjoyed a few too many lagers and BBQs during the summer break.
But how do medics determine if a player has put on too much timber for a move?
They use a clever technique called Bioelectrical Impedance technology which scans the body and measures lean tissue and fat.
A modern footballer would probably be looking to be around the 10 percent mark, otherwise they’d probably be failing the medical.
Fat callipers – those peg like clips – are used for accuracy in many occasions and a good photo op if a player is a little on the porky side.
The bleep test
FINALLY, it’s all about the dreaded sprints.
The ergometric sprint test lets a team know about a players speed over a certain distance.
For the 20m dash, players in the Championship or above would be expected to beat the 3 second mark.
Although we’re in doubt that Per Mertesacker would make it.
If a player fails a medical it’s usually for a reason that the club in question deems unacceptable for them to take on.
For example, Arsenal took on Kim Kallstrom despite him suffering from a back injury.
Whereas Nottingham Forest wouldn’t sign George Boyd because they weren’t sure that his eyes were up to scratch.
It’s a fine line but ultimately up to the club. In general, if your club has rejected a player because he’s failed a medical – you’ve dodged a bullet.