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Lee Foregoes Surgery for World Cup Run

Posted April. 12, 2006 02:59,   


“It may already be too late. He has no time to waste shopping for an overseas treatment facility. The treatment should start here right now,” said Eun Seung-pyo from the Korea Sports Medicine Center. Eun, a cross ligament expert, pointed out that Pohang striker Lee Dong-guk’s injured muscle will wither if not used for two to three weeks. “Lee must start his rehabilitation treatment immediately in Korea,” stressed Eun.

Eun suggests the use of anti-inflammatory drug and physical treatment to settle the swelling and make the joint flexible, and weight training to rehabilitate the muscle. After two or three weeks of rehabilitative treatment, the muscle will recover enough to enable light jogging or cycling. From then on, jumping, turning, and landing exercises should follow in order to make his body fit for playing again. “About six weeks of treatment will get him up and running. But I can’t say at this point whether he will gain back his normal speed and jumping ability,” Eun said.

The best treatment option for Lee’s damaged anterior cross ligament is a surgery. After surgery, at least three months will have to be spent on rehabilitation training before he could go back to his club, and three more months to get his normal performance back. But a surgery would cancel any chance for Lee to be at the upcoming World Cup. Lee opted for an alternative treatment of strengthening his leg muscles through physical training so that he would not need to rely on the weakened cross ligament while playing. But there is too little time for this option to yield a solid result, and there always lies the danger of a relapse.

In a similar case, the national Judo team’s Jo Su-hee had sustained an injury to her anterior cross ligament two month before Athens Olympics, and had chosen rehabilitation over surgery like Lee did. But her injury relapsed three weeks before the Olympics and Jo had to give up her Olympic run.

Jae-Yun Jung jaeyuna@donga.com