This week, Sporting Kansas City signed Stuttgart midfielder Erik Thommy to a contract that runs through 2024 with an option for 2025. Thommy brings added skill and starter quality at the attacking midfield and winger positions. Even more so, Thommy brings much needed depth to a Sporting Kansas City offense that has been decimated with injuries including losing its two Designated Players for the season (Alan Pulido and Gadi Kinda), frequent nagging injuries across the forward and midfield (Khiry Shelton, Johnny Russell, Remi Walter) and of course, international duty (Marinos Tzionis and Daniel Salloi). It’s safe to say that injuries to the core of the team have tested depth of Sporting KC and adding Thommy certainly does help the squad. However, even with his Bundesliga pedigree, Thommy’s long injury absences and limited playing time have caused some to wonder: Is Sporting KC getting an injury prone player? By taking deeper look into his injury history, we can start to glean some answers to this question.
First, it’s helpful to note that Erik Thommy has had four major injuries that have cause him to miss significant time. Using some data from transfermarkt.us I have them laid out in the table below.
Now let’s look at each of them in depth. Starting in 2014-15, Thommy missed six games with a shoulder injury while he was on loan at Kaiserslautern in the 2. Bundesliga. During this time, he played a total of four games including one start and scored one goal (a penalty).
In the 2017-18 season his first season at Stuttgart, Thommy suffered a high ankle sprain and missed two games. What’s missed in this injury though, is context. During 2017-18 season, Thommy suffered this injury over the January transfer window (after he had just signed with Stuttgart) and despite this he would go on to start 14 of the last 15 games with Stuttgart. During those 14 games he would enjoy one of the best stretches of his career with two goals and six assists, including a 3-assist game. Unfortunately, that stretch would be short lived as his manager, Tayfun Korkut was sacked early next season and Thommy fell out of favor for new manager Markus Weinzierl.
Next, following by far his best statistical season in the Bundesliga with Fortuna Dusseldorf (6 goals and 4 assists), Thommy reported to preseason with his parent club Stuttgart in 2020-21. It was during a preseason match with Liverpool that Thommy would suffer his worst injury (or at least the one that kept him out the longest) after sliding into the promotional board on the sideline in an attempt to retain possession. Here’s the video:
That freak accident caused him to miss the first 16 games of the season with a broken elbow. Despite much of his season lost, he still managed to gain three starts including one match where he had two assists. On top of the injury, Thommy’s Stuttgart side endured another coaching change with American manager Pellegrino Matarazzo taking over at the start of the season.
Erik Thommy’s latest major injury, a pelvic obliquity suffered this past season (2021-22) might be his most peculiar. After a little bit of internet digging, I found out that pelvic obliquity is the result of a “misalignment of the pelvis, where one hip is higher than the other.” Additionally, the causes seem to be physical abnormalities, such as an unequal leg length. Now I’m no doctor, nor do I claim to have insider knowledge on his health, but Thommy’s 12 missed games seem to be the result of a corrective surgery or physical therapy, than an injury caused by play on the soccer pitch.
So, what does this all mean? Did Sporting KC just sign an injury prone player? Well…. not really. You see although Thommy has missed large portions of his seasons due to injury, the bigger picture is more complex than that. Taken together, his most significant injuries were a freak accident, corrective surgery (or therapy), and a high ankle sprain. Moreover, none of these injuries seem to be recurring which is a sign that many of these injuries might be one-offs rather than an actual pattern of injury proneness. Ultimately, Thommy’s injuries and subsequent lack of playing time in the Bundesliga seem to be the result of great misfortune, inconsistent coaching, and potentially, a lack of regular Bundesliga starting talent. Though it did not work out in the Bundesliga, it’s fair to say that in a league like Major League Soccer, that is competitive, yet lacks the quality of the Bundesliga, Erik Thommy could project to be a starter and even main contributor for Sporting Kansas City. Only time will tell now.
What are your thoughts on Erik Thommy’s injury history? Do you think we should be more concerned? Share your thoughts in the comments!