Madayag laments nonstop games, says sked took a ‘toll’ on players’ health

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 14 2021 03:44 PM | Updated as of Aug 14 2021 04:42 PM

While thankful to play, Choco Mucho captain Madayag said league organizers needed to consider player well-being first before what’s good for the league. PVL media bureau
While thankful to play, Choco Mucho captain Madayag said league organizers needed to consider player well-being first before what’s good for the league. PVL media bureau

After suffering yet another heartbreaking injury, Choco Mucho’s team captain Maddie Madayag broke her silence to thank her well-wishers and point out how a rushed Premier Volleyball League schedule took a toll on players’ bodies. 

On Facebook, Madayag posted a lengthy message, starting with an expression of gratitude to all the prayers she received since she incurred a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her left knee last Wednesday. 

Madayag was wheeled off the court in the fourth set of their third-place game against Petro Gazz, having landed awkwardly after getting her attack blocked by Ria Meneses. 

“I would like to say thank you to everyone who sent me their best wishes and prayers. Thank you to everyone who supported me and the team since our first conference. We’re glad that we’ve accomplished more than what we’ve bargained for. But as always, we don't stop there,” she said.

The Flying Titans middle blocker went on to share how their coaching staff prepared them for the upcoming tournament, including closely monitoring their physical and mental conditioning. 

“The preparations done pre-season all kept us ready for the upcoming conference. I'm sure that my fellow athletes made sure to keep their bodies in top shape despite the lack of resources,” Madayag said.

Madayag added that she personally focused on keeping her knee healthy to avoid suffering another major injury again. 

She has had a history of knee injuries, having torn the ACL in her right knee in March 2016 while she was playing for Ateneo. She went on to make a full recovery, and was an integral part of the Ateneo squad that won the UAAP title in Season 81.

However, despite her preparation and intensive strengthening, she said the rushed schedule of the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference in Ilocos Norte hurt her. 

The PVL compressed its calendar following the spike of COVID-19 cases in the province, setting the semifinals and finals series without rest days in between. 

“It is unfortunate that despite the intensive strengthening and training done prior to the league had to be negated all because of a rushed schedule. It pains me to have incurred such a heartbreaking injury when all I did before the competition was to take care of my body to avoid getting hurt. I am truly lost for words,” Madayag said.

While she remained grateful to the league’s organizers for making the tournament happen, Madayag said playing seven consecutive games put the athletes at injury risk. 

“Coming into the bubble, I believe that the teams were put in an environment that was not conducive for any athlete, no matter how strong. 7-8 straight games of nonstop competing at a high level can definitely take a toll on one's body,” Madayag said. 

“No athlete deserves to be put into the risk of injuries when there are other options to carry on strategizing which will benefit all and lessen the risk.”

She said she hopes the PVL would have a better system that will protect the players and allow them to compete at 100% health.

“I'm sure all of the players want to compete as much as the fans would like to watch and support their squad. I just hope that in the future, the system will be planned out for coaches and players to thrive,” she added.