Karsten Warholm’s (26) match against the clock before the World Cup has led him to a German star doctor – who has attracted attention with his methods. The sponsor flew Warholm home in a private plane after the thigh injury in Morocco and offered contact with Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfart (79) in Munich.
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– I think he runs the World Cup and I think Karsten wins the World Cup, says Puma’s Norwegian top manager Bjørn Gulden to VG.
Warholm himself believes that “all the prerequisites” are now in place for him to reach the World Athletics Championships in Eugene. For the reigning world champion, the seconds, hours and days are ticking fast towards the championship in the USA. The test heats in the 400 meter hurdles will take place on 16 July.
– I only know that those we know who have been to Müller-Wohlfahrt with the same injury at the same time, have subsequently run championships, says Gulden.
Things happened very quickly after the injury in Moroccan Rabat on June 5.
Shoe and equipment sponsor Puma immediately rented a private plane that took Warholm home to Norway. He underwent examinations with ultrasound and MRI scan before coach Leif Olav Alnes and the athlete decided to travel to Germany after talking to the doctor Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt and discussing the matter with the Olympic team.
Warholm is now back in Oslo and working with a team at the Olympic summit, but was first in Germany for nine days to be treated by the doctor who for a number of years was both a doctor for Germany’s national football team and Bayern Munich’s regular doctor. He quit his job in Bayern after a conflict with then-coach Pep Guardiola in 2015, but later returned before the doctor ended his more than 40-year-long Bayern career two years ago.
Some call Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt the world’s best sports doctor.
– I do not want to set him up against others. But know that many people are happy with the treatment they receive. He is a good psychologist, spends a lot of time and takes a “second opinion”. Müller-Wohlfahrt has a reputation for being stubborn, but he is not, Gulden believes.
He states that Warholm was also sent to another doctor to get an independent second diagnosis. The 79-year-old still runs a clinic in Munich with several other doctors and also works closely with an osteopath.
Do not like the miracle image
Gulden himself has been a patient at Müller-Wohlfahrt. He has played football for Nuremberg, became cup champion with Bryne in 1987 and has matches at the Norwegian elite level in both football and handball.
– I have known Müller-Wohlfahrt for 30 years. He has always been the best at diagnosis when it comes to muscles and back. We have had so many athletes who have not only used him to get well, but have also been checked to see if they are ready to run fast. Usain (Bolt) was always here for one or two weeks before the championship, says the Puma boss – who in his time put the sprint king in contact with the doctor in Munich.
– I do not like the miracle image. That is not the right word. It’s not a miracle, but they look at me as a healer or something, Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt told ESPN.
The medical veteran is mostly based on “fingerspitzgefühl”.
– An athlete with an injured muscle is lying on the bench at the clinic and I examine and feel the injury with my fingertips. When I have to make a diagnosis, I completely trust my sense of touch, Müller-Wohlfahrt told Bild in April.
He is skeptical about basing the diagnoses only on MRI scans.
– If I have found a muscle bundle that deviates due to higher tension, I know: The damage lies in this bundle. Then I have to slide millimeter by millimeter, immerse myself completely in the anatomical conditions, he described in the biography “Mit den Händen sehen” – See with your hands.
He estimates to have felt more than 40,000 injuries in professional athletes.
– They come all the way here because they believe in me. It is a big responsibility, says Müller-Wohlfahrt.
Star-studded client list
Müller-Wohlfahrt has also had performers such as Rafael Nadal, Vladimir Klitschko and Ronaldo as clients, and cured the back of U2 vocalist Bono.
The praise has rained down on the doctor, but the methods have also sparked debate.
Müller-Wohlfahrt is known, among other things, for the use of the rooster comb extract Hyalart and the injection of the calf blood extract Actovegin.
– He has been doing this for 30 years. If he had been doing something illegal he would have been caught. None of his practitioners have been arrested for anything. It’s not like he’s squirting blood in you. There are things that are taken out of the blood, Bjørn Gulden describes.
– I am convinced that it is one of the world’s best medicines, says the doctor himself.
The details of Müller-Wohlfahrt’s treatment of Warholm are not known.
– In Germany, he has received medical and physical treatment, says Olympiatoppen’s doctor Thomas Torgalsen.
Håvard Moksnes leads the Oslo-based team that now works closely with Warholm and coaches Leif Olav Alnes.
– We think there may be a small effect of the treatment. It is not very large, as we perceive it, says the specialist in sports physiotherapy.
Müller-Wohlfahrt has been declared opposed to using cortisone to heal injuries.
– The treatments of Müller-Wohlfahrt are mostly about many syringes with mixed content. There are also manual treatments, such as physiotherapy and chiropractic. They work a lot with the back, thigh injuries often start there, says Thomas Torgalsen to VG on a general basis.
Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt turns 80 this summer. He is still in full activity and has kept his long hair from his youth even though it has got a touch of gray. According to Focus, the former athlete swears by work, fresh seasonal food, and at least three weekly jogging trips of 45 minutes. The job is the most important thing.
– I can help. I am needed. I know how it works. What a wonderful feeling it is, Müller-Wohlfahrt told the German magazine in May. He grew up as a priest’s son in northern Germany and has been married to the same woman for 48 years.
In 2009, Lars Engebretsen, who is also a doctor at the Olympic Summit, was critical of the fact that the sprinter Jaysuma Saidy Ndure had visited the Müller-Wohlfahrt clinic. The doctor claimed that there was a risk in visiting the doctor, as the medication he was using could be contaminated.
– I support that Warholm gets a «second opinion». It is important and completely reasonable as an elite athlete. Müller-Wohlfahrt has a lot of experience, Engebretsen emphasizes today.
He believes the German has approached more traditional methods over the years.
– He is an injector, but has become more of a stressor, and says a lot to the athletes about how much they are allowed to load themselves on training. That is largely what we are doing as well. Apart from the syringes, we are quite similar, Engebretsen believes.