The center of the club soccer world resides in England (two teams in Wales) with the Barclay’s Premiere League (BPL). Being the “best” soccer league has allowed the BPL to be televised live here in the States as the sport is showing some growth in participation and in viewership. I have recently found myself watching more matches and even choosing “a side” – as they call it across the pond (it should be noted that soccer it called football everywhere else but here). Through research and general information gathering as I get further into the sport the BPL or other European soccer leagues are not much different in its fandom. Supporters of teams and players are similar to the fanatics that follow football here in America; critical of team play, ownership, players effort and results. One area where the fans and the sport of soccer is well behind, in terms of knowledge, is concussions.
The readers of this blog know quite well that a concussion is simply an event that alters normal brain function. Being primarily subjective it may be hard to distinguish a concussion by simply looking at a player or person. However, the vast majority of sports fans here in America and participants know that there are tell-tale signs of concussion that cannot be disputed. When one of those objective signs is observed it is and should be understood that said player was concussed and requires immediate removal from the game/practice/activity. The reason is simple, concussions are a brain injury and bad. Research has shown that playing through a concussion is very detrimental to short-term and long-term mental health.
Years ago, pre-2004, getting knocked out or displaying signs of a concussion was a mere nuisance and even a “badge of honor” among the top-level sporting participants. It was known back then that something as obvious as someone losing consciousness was not a good thing for the younger participants, however it wasn’t looked upon as it is now. When a sports participant absorbs enough force to effectively “reboot” the body’s central nervous system that is NOT A GOOD thing. As the information about concussion has become more clear through the years if a player is KO’ed that player is removed from play immediately and does not return for the period determined by the medical staff. In the NFL the soonest anyone has returned to practice or game after being knocked out, since 2010 has been six days. Even that may not be enough time for the brain to recover. Heck, in boxing and MMA, fighters that are KO’ed are medically suspended for 90 days.
This leads me to the bloody mess that occurred in Everton, England yesterday. Continue reading