After spending three months on the sidelines, Mads Andersen is nearing a return to action as his rehabilitation programme cranks through the gears.
Our Danish centre-back made 94 appearances in all competitions for the Reds in his first two campaigns at Oakwell, but is yet to feature this term having picked up a knee injury in pre-season.
However, he is working hard to regain full fitness and hopes to be back out on the pitch as soon as possible.
“My knee is feeling better than ever,” asserted Andersen, smiling as ever. “I got a message back today from the ultrasound, which said my ligament is healed, so I only have a bit of inflammation, which is totally fine. So, it’s good news and I’m happy.
“I’ve been doing a lot of turning, passes, high speed running – not much sprinting, but we’ll increase that next week. At the end of this week, we started to try and do some more longer passes with my left foot.
“There’s been a lot of gym work every day. I have my knee programme, hamstring exercises and strength exercises, uppers and core. Basically everything.”
It hasn’t been easy for Andersen to sit and watch on from the stands, particularly in the opening weeks of the season as Barnsley have struggled for consistency.
The 23-year-old is eager to be back in the matchday squad in order to assist his teammates in the best way possible – by lining up alongside them on a Saturday afternoon.
“It’s annoying to sit there and watch the game,” he admitted. “I feel kind of helpless and I’m just looking forward to getting back in the team and helping as much as I can.
“This is the first big injury I’ve had in my career and, at some points, it’s been really frustrating. We had a period where nothing was happening for one and a half weeks because we just thought I needed some rest, but that wasn’t the case.
“I just needed to work my hamstring and, as soon as I did that, it got better.”
You may have seen a recent video we published on iFollow where our ‘Great Dane’ speaks to motivational speaker Wim Hof, otherwise known as the Iceman for his ability to withstand freezing temperatures.
The 62-year-old Dutchman provides a variety of breathing techniques that enhance the blood flow, leading to the decrease of stress levels and is something that Andersen has been practicing for a while.
“It gives me a lot of calm, it gives me a lot of clarity in the morning to wake up and be myself instead of just grabbing the phone and looking at everyone else,” insisted the defender.
“When you’re stressed, the blood tends to flow less around your body, but what this breathing does is the blood will flow five times faster around the body. This helps with all of the diseases that people get these days – it all comes down to stress.
“The breathing helps with the blood flow, which makes us not as stressed.
“I’ve been doing this for over a year now; I did it a bit before lockdown, but since lockdown I’ve done it ever since. If I don’t do it now, I feel stressed and my sleep is worse, so it helps with sleep as well.
“Now, I’m kind of addicted.”