In 1823, William Webb Ellis first picked up the ball in his arms and ran with it. And for the next 156 years forwards have been trying to work out why. - Tasker Watkins VC, LJ.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Concussion - After-Effects

A very harrowing article in today's Guardian about the effect of repeated concussions on an American Football player.

Now, it can fairly be pointed out that NFL players use their heads as weapons, and are trained to do just that. Even helmets won't stop injuries there. But it has to give you pause when you think about the effect of repeated concussions being so devastating. 

The last few lines of the article are particularly worrying.

"In Duerson's heyday, she recalls, if a player took a knock, the coach would hold up two fingers and say "how many can you count?", the player would say "three" and the coach would send them back on to the field.
"They treated it like a joke," Alicia says. "But that wasn't a joke."

Now, contrast that with the words of referee George Clancy to the physios dealing with England player Chris Ashton when he was concussed playing against the Springboks last November:

"He's nearly asleep. He's slurring his words. Make a reasonable decision now."

And yet, Ashton stayed on, and played on; he's said himself since that he remembers nothing about the game, and it wasn't worth it. He's right.

And let's not forget, this happened in 2010, despite the evidence having been there since 2007 from the NZ study about the use of SCAT cards for concussions; and yet nothing was done until June this year.

This may well be an issue for more than just NFL.

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