Concussion

Monday, March 25 2019

 

A heads-up on football head injuries

There’s a famous old football story that has gained its subject, the former Partick Thistle manager John Lambie, more notoriety than his playing or managerial career ever did. It goes like this:

During a Scottish League match his then centre-forward Colin McGlashan suffered a serious clash of heads with a rival. Lambie’s assistant Gerry Collins examined the injured player on the side of the pitch and reported back that McGlashan “didn’t know who he was”.

To which Lambie quipped: “Tell him he’s Pele and get him back on”.

Head injuries are no joke

It’s a funny line. Enjoyed countless times in after-dinner speeches. I’ve heard both Harry Redknapp and Sam Allardyce retell the story (as theirs).

The punchline was chosen as the title of a successful book of football anecdotes. The tale was even retold at Lambie’s funeral in April last year. As an epitaph, of sorts.

And no doubt brought the house down.

But would people be laughing if Colin McGlashan was now suffering from a premature onset of dementia as a result of the injury? Or, more pressingly, the shoddy treatment he received.

‘If you continue to play after you’ve had a concussion and you suffer a secondary knock, that secondary knock can significantly exacerbate the damage to the brain and cause real problems.’

Luke Briggs, Headway Brain Injury Association

I don’t know the state of McGlashan’s health. But he is now 55; four short years younger than Jeff Astle when he died.

A footballing first nobody wanted

The West Bromwich Albion and England legend was the first British footballer to die from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease in people (usually athletes) with a history of head injuries, often concussions.

He won’t be the last.

Football has come a long way from the days of the heavy, wet leather balls that Astle and his peers spent a career heading. We no longer see heads wrapped in blood-soaked bandages, or smelling salts used on players. And the sight of underqualified medical staff prescribing a splash of the ‘magic sponge’ and a blast of Deep-Heat to all injuries - before telling a player to ‘run it off’ – is also thankfully confined to history.

Considerable advances in pitch-side medical provision have been made. And there is a much better understanding of the treatment of head injuries, in particular. Mainly down to the great work of the Astle family and the setting up of the Jeff Astle Trust.

The FA have also worked hard lobbying football’s governing bodies UEFA and FIFA on the subject.

But there are worrying signs that standards have begun to slip.

Questioning the role of football’s rule-makers

Earlier this year (in February 2019) a report by the New York Hospital for Special Surgery found that concussion protocols were “ineffective” in two-thirds of matches in last summer’s World Cup. (1)

It was well reported that Nordin Amrabat ignored medical advice in returning to play for Morocco (versus Portugal) just five days after leaving the pitch concussed (against Iran) in the Group Stages. The Watford winger stated he was “his own doctor”, adding that he “hoped he hadn’t done himself any serious damage”. He also disclosed that he was suffering from memory loss. (2)

This raised understandable concern – and criticism - that FIFA’s protocol wasn’t fit for purpose and needed to become a rule, with concrete sanctions.

An even higher-profile incident happened in last season’s Champions League Final. It emerged afterwards that Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius suffered a concussion early in the match. He famously went on to make two howling mistakes, costing his club the game. But continuing malpractice could have (even) more severe consequences.

Are we heading for an on-pitch disaster?

In March this year Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina – currently on loan at Napoli - collapsed during a match having earlier suffered a head injury before being cleared to carry on. There were no snappy one-liners from medical staff reported in this story and luckily it had a happy ending. Ospina was given the all-clear after spending a night in hospital.

But the chief executive of brain injury charity Headway Peter McCabe wasn’t satisfied. “We are all shocked and appalled at these latest examples of concussion protocols not being followed in football”, he said. Adding ominously, “There’s a real fear that it will take a catastrophic injury to a high-profile player before any real changes in attitudes is forthcoming.”(3)

And that’s no laughing matter.

‘If you suspect that a player may be at risk of concussion, the decision as to whether the player remains on the pitch is now the responsibility of the medical practitioner rather than the player. You must assume that the player does not have the mental faculty to make a reasoned decision.’

Johnny Wilson, former Head of Medical Services at Notts County FC, Scunthorpe and Chesterfield FC.

Don’t suffer in silence…

If you or somebody you know has suffered at the hands of shoddy or incompetent medical treatment playing football. Related to concussion or otherwise, Stewards' Law Firm would like to hear about it.

SISC are an independent body that specialises in providing advice to professional footballers whose careers have been affected by injury. With a view to claiming compensation based on loss of earnings, bonuses or even transfer fees.

 

  1. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-concussions-world-cup/concussions-in-world-cup-soccer-often-missed-or-ignored-idUSKCN1NH26G
  2. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-cup/2018/06/20/concussion-row-breaks-world-cup-morocco-field-nordin-amrabat/
  3. https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/european/david-ospina-injury-head-collapse-napoli-brain-charity-shocked-appalled-a8829171.html

 


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View from the BaDMaN Boot Room - GW 31

Saturday, March 16 2019

 

Be honest… Were you actually surprised that Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick to take Juventus through to the Champions League quarters v Atletico Madrid?

It’s what he does. I would’ve been more surprised if he hadn’t.  

Met him once, y’know. Taller and nicer than you think. And smelt lovely. 

Anyway…

Goalkeeper

Total Pts

GW 30 Pts

Alisson (LIV)

143

0

Defenders

 

 

Robertson (LIV)

169

1

van Dijk (LIV)

163

1

Alonso (CHE)

134

0

Luis (CHE)

124

2

Midfielders

 

 

Salah (LIV)

203

5

Sterling (MC)

198

21

Hazard (CHE)

182

10

Mane (LIV)

173

14

Forwards

 

 

Aguero (MC)

165

5

Aubameyang (ARS)

164

7

 

While we’re on the subject of all too predictable outcomes…

There’s no change in the Dream Team. But at least the front six could be bothered to register a few points.

Raheem Sterling’s hat-trick and a brace from Sadio Mane was enough to put the deadly duo top of the class, although rumours are rife that the latter may miss out this weekend due to injury. The Senegalese star stole the show in Munich to help Liverpool progress to the quarter-final stages of the Champions League.

However, Mane appeared to suffer an ankle knock late on, and his absence from training on Friday sent the fantasy community into meltdown. With a restricted five-game slate, the Reds are the standout pick away at Fulham who are shipping goals for fun, and Mane is the go-to having scored 11 times in his last eleven appearances (all competitions). The in-form African is over £3m cheaper than his club team-mate Mohamed Salah and has averaged more than 9pts per game over the previous five fixtures.

There was no mention of a problem as part of Jurgen Klopp’s pre-match media briefing, although having arrived back late from Germany, those involved were given Thursday off and assessments would be carried out after the press conference on Friday afternoon. But, it isn’t unusual for players to be given an additional recovery day, especially during a busy fixture period and hopefully, this will be the case with Mane who could be working on an individualised programme away from the main group. 

And finally, Harry Kane has hit the ground running following his return from an ankle ligament injury. The Tottenham talisman is back in scoring form (three in four) which puts him on the verge of a return up top having closed the gap on a stuttering Aubameyang who has found the net just four times domestically in 2019.

Nothing more to say except to wish me a happy birthday for Saturday.

Cheers.

Matt Nesbitt

 


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View from the BaDMaN Boot Room - GW 30

Friday, March 8 2019

 

A couple of managers getting rough treatment this week…

Nathan Blake and Danny Gabbidon have both administered a size nine into Cardiff manager Neil Warnock this week. Suggesting that players have lost faith in him following three defeats on the spin.

I wonder what losing the opening five matches of the season did for Warnock’s faith in his players. And the nine in 13 in between. And if you think that’s rich…

The talk is that Ole Gunnar Solsljaer is finally going to get the gig at Man United. On half the money that Jose Mourinho was on. Yes, half. 

Eyes down, ladies.

Goalkeeper

Total Pts

GW 29 Pts

Alisson (LIV)

143

8

Defenders

 

 

Robertson (LIV)

168

5

van Dijk (LIV)

162

8

Alonso (CHE)

134

0

Luis (CHE)

122

0

Midfielders

 

 

Salah (LIV)

198

3

Sterling (MC)

177

3

Hazard (CHE)

172

6

Mane (LIV)

159

3

Forwards

 

 

Aguero (MC)

160

2

Aubameyang (ARS)

157

-1

 

Lookey, lookey. Same, same. Well, not quite. But very similar…

Hero two zero…

Chelsea defenders Alonso and Luis don’t even have to score to keep their places in the back four. Although zip wasn’t the lowest score last weekend…

Van Dijk was top man with 8pts. Doing his chances of landing the PFA Player of the Year award no harm at all.

Pog no longer the Mane man…

Pogba has missed all the fun this week. Suspended from the Champions League miracle in midweek and pushed out of our selection by Mane. He’s looked like Norman Wisdom (look him up, eyes roll…) in the last few I’ve watched, but you can’t argue with six goals in seven, I s’pose. 

An AA meeting up top…

Up top it’s an A+ for Aguero, taking top spot after eight in six. And an A minus for Aubameyang, who managed to register in the negative in the north London derby last weekend. Cor blimey.

The Watch List: I got five on it

If you haven’t got, or can’t get, or don’t fancy any of the above – this lot are handy alternatives. 

GK: Ederson (MC) – this ugly bleeder is back in the picture. 
DEF: Alexander-Arnold (LIV) – creeping up on the Chelsea pair.
MID: Pogba (MU) – will be back in the thick of it at Arsenal.
FOR: Rashford (MU) – Has come of age in the last few months. Bless.
FOR: Kane (TOT) – The man in midweek. And most likely this weekend.  

That’s how it looks from here.

Matt Nesbitt


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Ben Dinnery

Ben Dinnery

@BenDinnery

Ben is football’s leading injury specialist. The ‘go-to’ guru for big hitters like Sky Sports, ESPN and NBC Sports when they need data. Or the BBC, talkSPORT and the broadsheets when a quote is required. His unique insight has helped provide a better understanding of what is really happening in the treatment rooms.


Johnny Wilson

Johnny Wilson

@johnny_wilson5

Johnny is a respected physiotherapist and sports scientist, specialising in football injuries and rehab. Johnny has headed up the medical departments at Chesterfield, Scunthorpe and Notts County. Overseeing everything from player-specific training loads to pre-signing medicals. He has a proven record working with elite athletes in Private Practice and is regularly called upon throughout Europe to deliver presentations on the latest rehab innovations.


Matt Nesbitt

Matt Nesbitt On TipTV

@MattNesbitt16

Matt's short, unremarkable football career was ended by his own bad driving. His long, distinguished career as a football tipster was ended by his own good advice. Because bookmakers don’t like a winner. First, they closed his accounts. Then his members’ accounts. Then his tipping service. And now they employ him as a consultant. Funny old game.


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