Liverpool backroom staff have been praised for their prompt treatment of child prodigy Harvey Elliott after he suffered a horror injury to his ankle against Leeds United
Elliott, 18, was felled yesterday by Pascal Struijk after an hour-long game for the Reds at Elland Road, resulting in a dislocation and possible fracture of his ankle.
But expert sports surgeon and Liverpool fan, Mike Hennessey, said the quick response from the club’s medical team will aid Elliott’s recovery and he should be back on the pitch in six months.
Red star Harvey Elliott suffered a dislocated ankle after a tackle by Pascal Struijk
Liverpool will face Manchester United at Anfield on March 19, heralding a run-up of nine Premier League games, which will also see Manchester City away and Everton at home.
Mr Hennessey, who was one of Liverpool’s away supporters to watch their 3-0 win, said: Sports post “They planned to give him some anesthetic. It’s a good pain reliever that they’re on now and it’s inhaled.
‘Looks like they’ve narrowed his ankle’ [put it back in place] there and then, and that’s what you need to do, because the longer the ankle stays dislocated, the more problems there will be for the soft tissues and that makes your pitch unsure of when to fix them.
‘He was very concerned. They were straight ahead.’
The Liverpool medical team immediately recognized the seriousness of the injury and were on the pitch within seconds to attend to the stricken player, who was visibly in great pain.
Elliott’s ankle was put back in place on the pitch thanks to the quick response of the Liverpool medical team and the use of a modern drug called Penthrox, an effective painkiller.
The surgeon, who treats top footballers and athletes at the London Foot and Ankle Centre, as well as NHS patients at Wirral University Hospital, said care for players has improved tremendously.
The green bag Elliott had in his hand contains a highly effective pain-relieving drug called Penthrox, which has been increasingly used in NHS hospitals for orthopedic procedures during the Covid pandemic when operating rooms were less accessible.
“To get a dislocation means you have broken several parts, he either broke the bones on both sides or broke the bone on one side and tore the main ligaments on the inside,” Mr Hennessey said. “It’s a serious injury anyway.”
He added: “They have men on the side of the field who can handle it these days.
‘There are field doctors, the physios are all trained in sports injuries and know what to do in an emergency.
“I was delighted when I saw Penthrox. That means they can manipulate things back into place, instead of driving him away with the foot still pointing in the wrong direction.”
A debate has raged about whether Struijk (photo) should have been sent away for the challenge
Players and staff from both sides (pictured above) were visibly shaken by the shocking incident
This rapid response drastically reduces swelling around the injury so that surgery can take place more quickly, aiding recovery and rehabilitation, Mr Hennessey said.
He said that with reduced swelling, Elliott could have surgery this week and be able to play again in six months, and the player is expected to make a full recovery.
According to the athleticElliott is believed to undergo surgery on Tuesday and begin the rehabilitation process shortly after.
After surgery, Elliott will undergo six weeks of rehabilitation and physical therapy without putting any strain on the joint, another six weeks of some weight-bearing activity, including hydrotherapy, and three months of light training before he can return to the field, hopefully in March.
‘He’s young. He is a professional athlete in top condition and will have no healing problems,” said Mr Hennessey.
Elliott posted to Instagram shortly after the incident, saying he was on his way to recovery
The former Fulham youngster, who was hailed as a brilliant talent for Liverpool and the English game at the top level four times this season, was transferred to Leeds General Infirmary and later sacked.
In a beautiful gesture, Elliott donated his Liverpool match shirt and a worn-out boot to a young boy, who was hospitalized with a broken arm.
Elliott wrote on Instagram on Monday: “I am of course absolutely devastated by what happened in Leeds yesterday, but I am totally blown away by the love and support the whole football world has shown me after the injury.
“Thank you so much to everyone who reached out or messaged me and my family – it means so much to us. Also a huge thank you to everyone within Elland Road for the welcome you gave me immediately after it happened.
“I am now fully focused on my recovery and will give everything during my rehab to get out of it as soon as possible. I know I have an incredible support network behind me at Liverpool and together we will get through this.
“To all Liverpool fans, your support means the world to me. I’m one of you and I can’t wait to be back faster, fitter and stronger to help the team in the future. You are never alone!’
Leeds defender Struijk, meanwhile, has said he is “disenchanted” with the situation and that he “would never wish for such an injury”.
Struijk was sent off by referee Craig Pawson after the incident.
Leeds midfielder Kalvin Phillips (No.23, centre) was among the players reacting to Elliott’s injury
Struijk was ‘discovered’ about the situation and that he would ‘never wish for such an injury”
Struijk nam Instagram to say, ‘In today’s game something happened that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
“Harvey Elliott, my thoughts are with you. I am gutted and this was never meant to happen. I wish you a speedy recovery and hope to see you back on the field soon.
In the past, where footballers returned from similar injuries, permanent damage could curtail their careers and hurt them later in life.
Now treatment is much faster, techniques have improved and there is much more focus on rehabilitation than decades ago.
Former Leeds United and Manchester United forward Alan Smith has told how a similar injury to Elliott’s means he is now struggling to run after withdrawing from competition in 2018.
Smith suffered a broken leg and dislocated ankle while playing for United in Liverpool in the fifth round of the 2006 FA Cup after being hit by a free kick by John Arne Riise.
Mr Hennessey said he was also present at that match, remembering Smith lying on the pitch with the dislocation visible for a long period of time.
In the end, the daily training did more harm than good. I couldn’t compete at a level that I felt easy before. I get out of bed and can’t walk properly, my ankle is stiff all the time,” Smith said after his release from Notts County.