Stamps sick bay sits empty

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:18 PM ET

The Calgary Stampeders lead the league in one remarkable category: Fewest injuries.

At Game 18 on the regular-season schedule, only one player is hurt badly enough that he can't play.

Centre Jamie Crysdale with his knee surgery is the lone occupant on the Stamps injured reserved with a legitimate injury.

Athletic therapist Pat Clayton hasn't been part of something like this going into the 20th game overall of 2005.

"This is the healthiest I've seen a professional football team in 30 years at this point in the season," said Clayton. "We've been fortunate that our coaching staff runs a very good practice situation that protects our players quite well.

"A lot of our injuries were early in the season and they turned it around and gone in the other direction."

Even at the midway point of the schedule, only six players were out at one time with ailments, which is a credit to Clayton and his staff that includes assistant Mike Gudmundson and strength and conditioning co-ordinator Mark Kilam.

The team uses a strong workout regimen outside of the football field with plenty of attention paid to core body training.

And Clayton's training room is often full of players using the cold tub and massages benches to take care of minor bumps and bruises before they escalate into major aches and pains.

"We're very proactive," Clayton said. "We have a very strong preventative program. It's paying dividends because we have a specialized type of conditioning program."

Clayton said the overall health of the team this season has become a group effort with his staff and the players themselves.

"We're all part of the same thing," he said. "My job it to keep these guys on the field. We've been fortunate this year we've been able to do it.

"It bodes well for us heading into the playoffs."

Another aspect that has helped keep the club healthy is success. When the Stamps are winning games by building leads, teams abandon the punishing ground game and air the ball out.

"When you're winning, the injuries are fewer," Clayton said. "When you're losing, the other guy is taking it to you. That makes a big difference in the structure of they way things have gone."


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