The History of Young Pepito
Giuseppe "Pepito" Rossi was born in Teaneck, New Jersey of USA to an Italian father who coached football and taught language along with his wife at Clifton High School. Rossi was offered a contract introducing him into Parma youth system at the young age of 12 years old. Rossi moved to Italy a month before his 13th Birthday, and his father joined him. He stayed in Italy for more than four years until Manchester United bought his contract at the age of 17 in 2004. Three years later in 2006-07 season, Rossi played a few cup matches with the English club and had a main role in qualifying Manchester United to the final on which he was not part of its roster. Nemanja Vidic at that time passed his medal to Rossi acknowledging the young striker's efforts. Former Manchester United coach Alex Furguson still did not have plans for Rossi and so he was loaned to Newcastle and Parma in a span of a year. Upon his return to Manchester in summer 2007, Rossi was sold to Spanish side Villareal to play a few seasons in order to eventually find from and get his breakthrough in 2010-2011 scoring 32 goals in 56 matches in all competitions. The dreaded year of 2011 and with the beginning of the new season, Rossi was brought down with an Anterior Cruciate Ligament injury in a match against Real Madrid in La Liga sidelining the new star striker for six months. His absence was no joke to Villareal and when his return was due in April 2012, the team was fighting against relegation. The 25 years old was set to make his comeback and fight with his teammates only to re-injure his Anterior Cruciate Ligament and be forced according to Doctor Instructions and program to have no playing time for another 10 months. Villareal were relegated and accepted an offer from Fiorentina to sign Rossi in the 2013 winter window to join his former Villareal teammates Gonzalo Rudriguez and Borja Valero. His first appearance with Fiorentina was not until 13 months after his injury in May 2013 in a 5-1 win against Pescara. In Fiorentina, Rossi rediscovered his form in the current season 2013-14 scoring 14 goals in Serie A to lead the top goal scoring charts with 5 goals difference from his closest competition. January 2014 witnessed Rinaudu from Livorno unnecessarily tackling Rossi Violently causing yet another injury to his knee causing doubts to his participation in the rest of the Serie A campaign and the upcoming World Cup. A month into the injury showed no damage to the Anterior Cruciate Ligament. The damage was on the Medial Collateral Ligament and due to his physician does not require surgery.
Dr. Muthusamy Veerabahu Professional Input
I was fortunate enough to be able to set up a meeting with Dr. Veerabahu who is a specialist in Orthopedic Surgery at Burjeel Hospital Knee & Sports Injury Department in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The meeting purpose was to interview Dr. Veerabahu on the physical, technical and Psychological aspects of knee injuries in general and in the specific case of Giuseppe Rossi. The interview was started by presenting the medical case in terms of dates and injury type along with recovery periods then followed by questions and answers of the general subject while trying to apply the answers on Rossi's case
MiQ: Dr. Veerabahu, thank you for allowing the time to conduct this interview, I am sure your professional opinion will be of great value to our English speaking Fiorentina fan base. I would like to start by explaining why this subject required an interview and a professional opinion. Almost everyone knows someone who goes through such or similar injuries or long period diseases or worse. This case is different because of the following: Rossi has been injured (ACL) for the first time after his breakthrough season when he was at the usual start of a footballer prime age 24 years old. His recovery took 6 months only to return to the same injury while he was just starting to train again with the team. His second injury stopped him from playing for 13 months to factor in Villareal relegation to the lesser level league of Spain. During his injury, there was huge support from Fiorentina buying his contract and believing in his comeback which started realistically in August 2013. His comeback could not have been any better by topping the goal scoring table, getting a starting spot on the Italian National Team and playing beautiful football. In January 2014 and during a win for Fiorentina, Rossi's Medial Collateral Ligament was damaged by a violent tackle and the player had to wait a month for Dr. Richard Steadman to rule out ACL damage and Surgery all together. If you have no further questions to this specific case then we can start the set of questions?
Dr. Veerabahu: Go Ahead
MiQ: What are the main uses of knee ligaments movement wise?
"There are six ligaments in each knee:
(a) Pair of cruciate ligaments - gives stability in the plane of front to the back and also rotational stability.
(b) Pair of collateral ligaments give sideways stability.
(c) Pair of meniscus - acts like a cushion and so absorbs the shock. Reduces the bone contact and increases the surface area. Facilitates knee fluid distribution.
MiQ: What are the obvious causes for damage to each ACL and MCL?
"We receive two types of knee injuries, Impact types such as sports injuries or accidents/falls and the second type is age-related wear and tear, specifically after middle age. The main physical causes of ligament injuries are direct/sideways impact or rotational injury. Most often ACL tear occurs when pivoting or landing from a jump."
MiQ: What is the pain level at the damage instant for each ACL and MCL compared to more known injuries or diseases?
"If we consider a bone fracture pain in a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 is no pain and 10 is worst pain, then the worst ligament tear pain is somewhere around 6 or 7"
MiQ: How advanced are the diagnostics technologies for such injuries and are there any complications to them? For example would a swollen knee delay proper diagnosis?
"Technologies are very advanced as we have MRI scans that can generate a proper diagnosis in 30 minutes"
MiQ: Are there levels to either ACL or MCL injuries in terms of recovery time?
"It is dependent on which ligament and to what extent that certain ligament is damaged. For example, Medial Collateral Ligament injury can be divided into three grades where grades 1 and 2 could heal in 6 weeks to be followed by Rehab while a grade 3 injury to MCL may require a surgery and up to 8 weeks of recovery before Rehab. Reconstructed ACL needs 4-6 months to recover completely."
MiQ: Where is that line when a surgery is a must or not?
"If there is a complete tear then a surgery is required. Most of the time for ACL injuries operation is required as there is no return to having a normal knee performance without replacement of the ACL"
MiQ: Technically and if possible by visual example, how are those ligaments recovered or healed with and without surgery?
"In Rossi's case, with braces and support it will heal in 6 weeks and to be followed by physiotherapy program to strengthen the muscles."
MiQ: Why are knee injuries so difficult to treat, prevent, rehab from?
"If you ask me, knee injuries are not difficult to treat as the treatment technologies and doctors' skills have reached satisfactory levels. It was evident during my work in the U.K. that knee injuries are impossible to prevent in sports like football and Rugby. Rehab is on the other hand dependent on which ligament is injured. It is not difficult but it takes time."
Having understood and hopefully the understanding is conveyed to our readers, the questions were bound to take a turn into the psychology of the injuries our Pepito had to go through and still is.
MiQ: Doctor, What are the Psychological effects during various phases of the injury (Damage instant, prior diagnostics period, Diagnosis delivery, Rehabilitation period and its length, accumulating injuries on the same knee)?
"At the instant of the injury, there is always that fear of how bad is my knee going to be. The most psychological issue that the doctors have to deal with is bringing the injured into terms with his injury and help him accept it. The reoccurring injury is obviously difficult on the mentality but the moment the surgery is completed for ACL for example the mentality is always positive for the player because he regains his usual stability and it would be a matter of time only to regain full fitness and strengthen the muscle. So in conclusion, negative feelings are gone once Rehab begins."
MiQ: Does the psychological effect differ from normal achieving players to high profile players who are considered club favorites such as Giuseppe Rossi?
"Yes, in my opinion the pressure on a high profile player increases the negative feelings he may have until the operation or final diagnostic which becomes positive if it does not require surgery."
Following that question, some comments about Rossi through the media were presented to Dr. Veerabahu of high profile football figures such as Italy National Team Coach Prandelli insisting on waiting for Rossi until the last moment before the World Cup to be included in the roster. The support comments of his teammates, coach and Fiorentina Club owners the Della Valle brothers. The team qualifying for Coppa Italia Final after Rossi stated that his immediate dream was to play in the final. Do these comments and the fans support through social media channels have positive or negative effects on the player's rehabilitation and recovery quickness?
"Support is very important and the positive feeling it generates in the players does in fact help him work harder to recover faster."
MiQ: Are there any Psychological aspects to these situations/injuries that the fans may not be aware of?
Yes, the amount of physical and mental pain they go through to come back to normal is the most important thing. Even if one of the fans went through the same injury, they could barely relate to the players pain."
MiQ: Thank you Doctor Veerabahu, ViolaNation Appreciates your contribution.
Word to Giuseppe Rossi
As Fiorentina fans, everyone here in ViolaNation has a favorite player that lit a never ending purple fire inside their hearts. 20 years ago, I was a 10 year old counting the minutes to Sunday to watch Batigol's machine gun putting goalkeepers down week after week. Since his departure to Roma, the fire reduced to a small purple candle flame waiting for a repeat of that feeling. After all of that knee injury studying I went through over the last week, I may not have come any bit closer to understanding your pain. I was at the least able to understand that the support of the fans is helpful to your recovery in one way or another and so here is mine as I insist on every contributor in this blog to put in as many words as they can in the comments section.
I no longer have that small purple candle flame. I don't even have the big fire to count the minutes towards every Fiorentina match. I have recently become a purple volcano bursting with "Forza Viola, Forza Pepito" chants, screaming "Goal!" whenever you touch the ball, and raging with purple lava that grows millions of fluer-de-lis all over whenever you score. I raise my hands imitating your solo goal celebration, praying for this to be the last gloom of your career.
Word to the Fans
It has been a roller coaster of a month. A loss to Cagliari followed by an exact results repeat from the first round beating Atalanta 2-0, losing to Inter 2-1 and drawing with Parma 2-2. The team also secured a spot in the Coppa Italia final in Rome. Fiorentina is 90 minutes away from reaching Round of 16 in Europa League. The team performance might have been lower than usual with all the injuries and the compact schedule but in general this team is being destroyed by the referees in Serie A costing them a point against Inter and potentially many more in the following rounds with the suspensions as an added unnecessary burden. For what its worth, I am satisfied with the performance and the achievements so far even with all the injuries, number of matches and suspensions I still enjoy this team and i kind of believe in more achievements to come this season. All these burdens are none of the players, coach or management making and so our heads as fans need to get straight and focus on watching/cheering/screaming for Gomez recovering to a scoring beast, Cuadrado leaving defenders biting the dust, the renaissance of Vargas, Matri and possibly Anderson, Valero's magic touches and key passes, Pizarro and Aquilani re-living the best times of the three tenors era, bomber Gonzalo creating minefields in the opponents box, Savic to fly even higher in defense, Matigol painting beautiful goals on your TV screens and Neto protecting Fiorentina's Fluer-De-Lis from the giants stomps with his life.