Ludlow praises hyperbaric oxygen chambers for halved recovery time from broken wrist ahead of surprise return to fitness
It’s good news for Gloucester fans as flanker Lewis Ludlow is set to make his return to the field against Newcastle on Sunday, much sooner than first thought. The 24-year-old spoke of how hyperbaric oxygen chambers helped speed along his recovery.
Speaking to the media ahead of his return he said, ‘’I’m available for selection so it’s just about getting in the team now. Training today was tough because I haven’t done it for a while. There’s only a certain amount of running you can do, and I was lucky with the injury I had that I could still run so I'm hoping that fitness isn’t going to be too bad an issue.’’
Having been sidelined with injury and suspension for nearly a month, Ludlow will return to the game with the temporary help of a plastic wrist guard.
‘’I’ve got a plastic guard on my wrist and that’ll protect everything.” He said. “It’s on for six to eight weeks depending on how it feels, but I'd like it off a bit quicker if possible so I can just get out there and play freely as possible. It slips over the wrist and protects the one bone that was fractured.’’
Looking back at his time away from the game he reflected on just how difficult it was not to be involved saying, ‘’The first few weeks were hard to find out I was out long-term injured, rather than just short-term with the ban.
“It was unlucky really, but I got the injury in the Wasps game and did four weeks of training with it and was fine. I was ready to play in the Northampton game and it was only because I had the scan on the Monday, because it was still sore, that we found out it was fractured.’’
Despite being initially ruled out for around 12 weeks his recovery has taken a little less than eight. Ludlow accredits the use of oxygen chambers for his speedy recovery, halving the recovery time for bone injuries.
Explaining, Ludlow said: ‘’Things have gone well, I’ve been going to the oxygen chamber in Gloucester at the MS centre and that’s supposed to halve bone healing time. Everything I could do nutrition and fitness wise was done too.’'
It was a relatively slow start to his rehabilitation due to the nature of his injury. Focusing on lower body work has seen him bulk up, but, surprisingly, add speed to his game whilst maintaining a high level of fitness.
‘’There wasn’t a lot of activity for the first 6 weeks as I had a cast on, so I was in the gym a lot. I was unlucky, or lucky enough, that they don’t want me running too much as I'll lose weight; my fitness has come back quite quickly.
“I was dreading it, seeing the boys who have been injured and the running they’re doing. I didn’t need that, I've managed to get a new top speed and I'm four kilos heavier. We looked at it like a mini pre-season block, just without too many weights. So, a lot of lower limb stuff.’’
Ludlow will look to make his return for the first time since Gloucester’s victory at the Ricoh on the sixth of December, a fixture in which he was handed a retrospective four-week ban after being found guilty of stamping/trampling Wasps, England and Lions utility back Elliot Daly.
Alongside Ludlow, Springbok backrower Jaco Kriel is also expected to make his return from injury, bolstering an injury-ravaged Gloucester pack. Welcome reinforcements following long-term ankle injuries to Ruan Ackermann and Jake Polledri, the latter of whom has been ruled out of the 2019 Six Nations after undergoing surgery.
Newcastle Falcons vs Gloucester, Sunday 23rd December 3 pm.