Football medicals are the last hurdle a new signing needs to clear before being unveiled to the media in the home kit.
But it can be a nervous time for fans because a potential new superstars must pass the club’s medical first before he could be signed by a club.
This process differs depending on the position the potential new signing is set to take. For example, a goalkeeper’s medical will be different to that of a striker as there will be a greater emphasis on their upper body.
However, there are six key areas where a potential new signing – regardless of position – can expect to be tested:
Heart and health: A club medical includes cardiac screening with an ECG, echo monitor and heart health history questionnaire; these may also feature blood tests and a fitness check. The club doctor may include a urine test to detect proteins or ketones that indicate health issues such as diabetes.
Musculoskeletal stability: The physio team’s in-depth look at possible weak spots like the lower lumbar [back] and pelvic region – areas where hamstring and adductor problems can originate from. They may also check for any defects in function or muscle tightness when performing straightforward moves by using drills such as squats, hop tests and lunges.
Isokinetic issues: Focusing on muscles and movements [like the quads and hamstrings, for example], the physios can work out the ratios between the two muscle groups as they work together and identify weaknesses which may predispose injury or have developed post-injury. Knee flexion and extension drills are among those used to check the player’s movement.
Deep scanning: In the event of a history of problems, the medical team will have a hospital on standby for a magnetic resonance or ultrasound scan. Scanning units can be used to assess the majority of muscles and joints in the human skeleton.
Body fat score: Clubs may use Bioelectrical Impedance technology – a body fat monitor that sends an electrical signal through the body to measure lean tissue and fat. Most professional players are expected to be around the 10% body fat mark. Fat callipers are still used in many instances for reliability, as long as the same examiner is involved in any re-testing.
Ergometric sprint test: Does what it says on the tin – measures a player’s speed over a set distance. A result of sub-three seconds for the 20m sprint test would be expected for outfield players in the Championship.
Source: Vincent Abiwu| A football coach and talent identifier