Aston Villa manager Dean Smith says lack of cryotherapy is harming players

Paul Doyle on 15 July 2020

Dean Smith has warned Premier League players will continue to sustain significant injuries because they have been prevented from using cryotherapy to recover since the season resumed. Aston Villa’s manager said the ill-effects of the hectic schedule would be felt into the next campaign.

The use of cryotherapy chambers has become commonplace in the Premier League, with players spending short sessions in extreme, cold temperatures in an effort to speed up recovery, reduce injuries, increase energy and improve sleep. Clubs have been banned from using them owing to fears of spreading coronavirus. Smith says he appealed for the players to be permitted to use the chambers but was told it was not safe to do so.

“We asked the Premier League and then the Premier League asked Public Health England and I believe that it’s just been too much of a risk, or they feel it’s too much of a risk,” Smith said. “Medically they obviously know more than I do but it’s a single occupancy thing with a temperature of minus 130 degrees and then [players] wear a mask and gloves and then go and have a shower, but it’s not allowed at the moment. It’s been a concern of mine and certainly for all clubs that are playing now.

“We are in the hottest months to play football in. We are normally a winter league from August to May and now it’s arguably the warmest part of the year and we are playing an awful lot of games in this period and there have been a lot of injuries, certainly a lot of soft-tissue injuries for a lot of players at a lot of clubs. It will certainly affect the start of next season.”

Villa’s Neil Taylor is a doubt for Wednesday’s game against Everton after sustaining a hamstring strain and may be replaced by Matt Targett, who has not started since he damaged a hamstring in the defeat by Wolves last month – the fourth match Villa played in an 11-day period.

Smith says that in the absence of cryotherapy, players rely on other methods to cope with a lot of matches in a short space of time. “We go back to the hotel and make sure we get good sleep. Sleep is the best recovery you’ll get. Our nutritionist is in every day making sure the players get the right food and soft tissue massages.”

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