The Badger: Sports Media Needs To Start Taking Concussion Seriously

 
 

Concussions, or as the media would want you to call them, bumps to the head, really get under the Badger’s skin.

IMAGINE one day your alarm went off in the morning. You stretch, reach out your arm to hit snooze and realize that your chest is covered in vomit, there’s dried blood coming from both nostrils, and you have very little recollection of the previous couple of days.

No, that’s not a hangover – that’s what happens when you get a concussion and don’t get the correct treatment. How does the Badger know? He’s had four of them. That’s one less than the legal amount you are allowed to have before you are unable to play contact sport again.

Taking a hit, which literally knocks you unconscious and causes your brain to start to move around inside your head. The most important organ in your entire body is confused.

But it’s fine, because it’s all in the name of sport and we’re looking after our players in this 21st century – a new era for medical technology, right?

Tell that to Hector Bellerin. He was knocked out cold by the elbow of Marcos Alonso during the Chelsea and Arsenal game. All of the focus afterwards was that Bellerin should have ‘jumped a bit higher’ or been in a better position.

He was knocked unconscious. How the hell would jumping higher in the air have prevented Marcos Alonso’s elbow from clattering into his head? Why is the focus not on why he was left on the field for so long while Chelsea and their fans were celebrating? Why are pundits not calling on the lawmakers of football to help prevent this?

Gary Neville and Theirry Henry gave out about Bellerin not doing his job properly. But it leads to the question of sympathy and accurate analysis among pundits. It’s like they want to ignore the fact he was knocked out cold. For several minutes.

Now, this isn’t to say that contact sport should be banned. The Badger is as much a fan of the hard-hitting nature of sport as the next person, particularly on a lazy Sunday when all you want to do is lie in your set.

Here’s the facts: a minor concussion will keep you out of action for two weeks minimum. The Badger suffered a minor concussion last summer when he was hit with a sliotair in the back of a (helmet-protected) head. He hit the floor, didn’t lose consciousness, but couldn’t tell where he was. Two weeks away from contact sport, on doctor’s orders.

Which makes it extremely difficult to see a player like George North, of the Northampton Saints and Wales rugby team, fall from around six foot in the air, onto his head. And was still allowed to play on after a ‘head injury assessment’. The same can be said about Conor Murray of Munster following a European Champions Cup game against Glasgow earlier in the year.

It’s bad when the governing body of the sport has to investigate whether a club has handled a concussion correctly. The Badger got hit with a small hard ball, not an eighteen stone tighthead prop. And he was only out for two weeks.

People like to criticise American Football for not being ‘tough enough’. The players need to be padded up and wear head protection. Haha, what wimps of a team, looking after their players’ health. Funnily enough, the NFL’s concussion rate is significantly lower than that of rugby’s – a solid 59% lower. But it’s the less ‘manly’ of the two. Funny that.

An article written in this very paper last year claimed that increasing awareness and the emphasis on player welfare is the most effective intervention organizations can make to try and help limit the amount of head injuries sustained on the playing field. But don’t try and tell the Badger that we’re protecting our players sufficiently, because he probably won’t be able to remember it once he gets hit again.

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