Krasimir Balakov: I had bouts of shortness of breath - that's why I started practicing football

Krasimir Balakov: I had bouts of shortness of breath - that's why I started practicing football
Krasimir Balakov: I had bouts of shortness of breath - that's why I started practicing football

Krasimir Balakov is from the legendary generation of football players who led the Bulgarian team to 4th place at the World Championship in the USA in 1994. Then, together with Hristo Stoichkov, he was selected in the ideal team of the championship. Balakov was Bulgaria's 1 player in 1995 and 1997. He made his debut for the national team on November 2, 1988 in a world qualifier against Denmark (1:1 in Copenhagen). His last match was on April 30, 2003 against Albania (2:0 in Sofia).

Balakov was born on March 29, 1966 in the village of Hotnitsa, Veliko Tarnovo region. He played for "Eter" (1983 - 1990), "Sporting" Lisbon (Portugal) (1991 - 1995) and "Stuttgart" (Germany) (1995 - 2003).

His coaching career began in July 2003 in "Stuttgart", went through "Grasshopper", "St. Gallen", "Chernomorets" (Burgas) and since May 2014 he is the head coach of "Litex" (Lovech).

The legendary football player revealed especially for "Doctor" how he keeps himself in excellent he alth.

Mr. Balakov, do you have any injuries from football?

- Either I was born under a lucky star or everything I have done is so right and he althy that I am one of the few footballers without surgery in my career. I've had injuries that are normal for this sport, but nothing serious. Thank God it is.

What doctors took care of you during your football career?

- In the foreign teams in which I have played, I have relied on quite good specialists-sports doctors. This field is very different from what a regular orthopedist, surgeon or other doctor does. Because a professional athlete has to recover from an injury much faster than a normal person. I was lucky to come across very good specialists in both Sporting Lisbon and Stuttgart. For example, a football player's flu cannot be treated with an antibiotic for ten days. If I swallow an antibiotic for 10 days, then I need to rest for 5 days. That's too much time for professional sports. We use such drugs that get you on your feet for 3 to 5 days, so that you can quickly enter the training process. Everything is treated by the fast method, unless it is some serious illness. If it's an injury, people go to Pavel Banya for treatment for 15 days. Of course, it is very he althy, but a football player can hardly afford it. We have other methods by which we get the same effect in a shorter time. This is sports medicine as opposed to normal medicine. Every year, new sports medicine-specific devices are released for faster recovery. They are already available in Bulgaria.

Are you he althy now? When you wake up in the morning, does something hurt?

- Many of my colleagues are complaining. But when I wake up, I don't have any pain - neither in my back nor in my legs. I hope it will be like this in the future. Maybe it's genetic, maybe it's my lifestyle, and of course luck.

Have you never been in a hospital in your life?

- I was in hospital only when I was little, in 5th - 6th grade. I got some shortness of breath. But it turned out that I do not have such a disease. This made me take sports seriously. The doctors advised me to train and that's how I became a football player.

Do you go for preventive examinations?

- Yes. There are some principles that I have learned in Germany, where I have lived for 20 years. I do blood tests once a year. 5 years old

the basic preventive examinations must be done –

of colon, stomach, etc. They are in a package and I make them regularly. When I'm past 50, I'll start doing them more often.

Do you have a GP in Germany? What is the system there?

- In Germany, every family, every person is brought to the practice of a doctor. And if he can't deal with your he alth problem, he refers you to another specialist. Things are different with me. Because thanks to sports I have many contacts with specialist doctors and I know where to go.

If you make a comparison between Bulgarian and German he althcare, what makes an impression on you?

- In Bulgaria, as in every area, there are such doctors, and there are those. Very often it's a matter of luck which ones you come across. The whole system is messed up here. The biggest screen of Bulgarian medicine is the economy, the state itself. Everything goes together, hand in hand. Even the Bulgarian sport, football, with which I am currently engaged. If we don't have a strong country, good leaders and a desire to change, it will be difficult for us to change medicine.

Have you been illegally asked for money for reviews here?

- No. Maybe because I have such authority that they didn't even take money from me. When it came to my mother's or father's check-ups, I was ready to give anything for their he alth. But always the doctors with whom I had contact were very correct and did not take more than what they should get. In general, I have not encountered bad doctors here. But friends have told me about such cases and I know that not all doctors can be perfect. People make mistakes sometimes. But as in any other profession, they themselves lose interest and motivation to work well because of the mistakes of our state policy, of the system itself.

What do you personally do to stay he althy?

- I have had the unique fortune of being involved in sports for many years, although they say "professional sports are dead". Of course, there are downsides, but I haven't felt them. After my football career I started gradually, year after year, to reduce the loads, that I had as a competitor, and getting into the normal way of life. Because athletes have a completely different metabolism, and the heart is bigger – it pumps much more blood than a normal heart. It should not be stopped suddenly. Otherwise, you gain weight, you don't feel comfortable, and you can get much faster and more diseases than a person who is not a professional athlete.

You haven't gained any weight as far as I can see

- No. I'm one, two kilos at most more than when I played football. I have some physical activity almost every day or 3-4 times a week. I care a lot about strength and that's why I maintain the tone of the muscle groups. I also care about durability. I have been a professional athlete for over 20 years and I have to run 40-50 minutes three times a week to maintain this physical condition that I feel comfortable with. My classes are at different times, it depends on my coaching program. Very often after I finish the training of my football players, I train myself.

How do you eat?

- I don't have any mode. I try to eat meat only once a week, not to overdo it, and also with carbohydrates. That's why I don't eat spaghetti and stuff like that every day. I try to keep everything balanced, but no diets. By working out almost every day, I use up energy and have to replenish it accordingly.

Did your mother once treat you with babi ilachi?

- To this day, I am sometimes treated with grandmother's methods. For example, when I have a cold, I don't immediately take an antibiotic, but treat myself with teas and chamomile inhalations. This is totally practical stuff from a time, but it works.

Don't you take pills?

- Only minerals, s alts, vitamins. At most I take an aspirin with vitamin C when I feel sick. However, if the time comes to drink antibiotics, one must take them. But I avoid antibiotics.

Who created this he alth culture for you?

- I have personally built it over the years. I have always been curious and looked to take the positive from the people I meet. I learned a lot in Germany, and it is still one of the leading countries in medicine and in every respect. I have read literature and also from my own experience. I feel comfortable, I feel good, therefore my principles of he althy living work.

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