If you have read Fifty Shades of Grey you know what a hard limit is (yes I will freely admit I have read the series after my wife brought it home) and there is at lease one respected doc Down Under that has proposed such a limit to footballers. Quick reminder we are talking Australian Football, however this could be extrapolated across all sports. However there is danger is such hard limits, as we will discuss later.
From ABC news in Australia, Jeffery Rosenfeld the director of neurosurgery at Alfred Hospital in Melbourne feels that three concussions over a life-time in football should disqualify you from competitive and full contact forms of the game;
“I personally would say three significant concussions, three strikes and you’re out. I would be a bit wary of that player going back,” he said.
“They can still play sport but perhaps not the rough and tumble and risk associated with the tackling in a contact sport like football.”
Concussion in sport – and particularly in rugby league, rugby union and Australian rules – is now a hotly debated issue, with parents, players, coaches and administrators increasingly focused on the potential long-term brain injuries which may result from repeated head knocks.
And Professor Rosenfeld has found an unlikely ally in Australian rules great David Parkin.
“Jeffrey’s one of the more astute, I think, and well-balanced in terms of what needs to be done,” Parkin said.
“As a parent and as a grandparent that will stick in my gizzard from now on as I watch my grandchildren go through the same processes – because I think coming from him who has probably got as much knowledge as anybody else in this country about those issues – that seems to be pretty strong advice and something that we should maybe adhere to.”
The concussion issue is picking up speed in Australia, once a country I felt was in the know but for some reason was behind in implementation of their information on sports. If you recall we were contacted by a group in Australia for some insight from across the Pacific and the hopes it would bring clarity.
The only problem with such a hard limit is that the reporting of the injury can take a nose dive if the athlete is facing an early retirement due to brain trauma. Also of concern is that one concussion can be enough for some people, so playing to the threshold of three can cause further damage. Concussions are a case-by-case injury but caution should be adhered to and thought MUST be given to ending the high-risk playing if brain injury is becoming and issue for a player.
One thing that is becoming undeniable is a quote in the Australian article from Carolyn Mountford, director of the Centre for Magnetic Resonance in Health in Australia;
We’re at the stage now where we can say, ‘Yes, repetitive hits to the head does cause a difference to brain chemistry’. Whether we can do anything about it remains to be determined.