Cup match with a dislocated shoulder, because “if him come off ... we dead”. In the NFL recently, star quarterback Cam Newton was allowed to continue playing after suffering an obvious head injury in a game where recent lawsuits by NFL players with brain abnormalities, who were encouraged to continue playing by technical and sometimes medical personnel, are becoming more and more frequent.
The recent, untimely sudden death of youngsters involved in sports in Jamaica has galvanised interest in pre-participation-evaluation by schools that have been sending team members for evaluation. But, if a star player is sent for an evaluation before a crucial game, and that evaluation detects an abnormality that needs further investigation before clearance is obtained, the star player is allowed to play, with no one taking responsibility for the obvious breech of agreed protocol.
This defiance of medical advice became international news last week when it was revealed that the team physician of the Trinidad
and Tobago national senior football team, Dr Terence Babwah, a member of the FIFA medical committee for over 10 years, resigned because his professional integrity and that of the team’s medical staff had been compromised by decisions leading up to the Honduras game. Dave Isaac, the team physiotherapist for the past four years, has also resigned. Dr Babwah’s resignation has brought into sharp focus the importance of medical advice to teams given by those entrusted with the awesome responsibility to PROTECT squad members from possible serious injury. The team member was the goalkeeper, Jan-Michael Williams, who, during the game, suffered a head injury and had to be substituted 10 minutes into the game. Apparently, the medical team had advised against his playing the game in the first place!
It is high time that administrators of team sports in Jamaica ‘take sleep mark death’ and begin to make rules and protocols that MANDATE that the medical advice given by suitably qualified medics is followed, with serious consequences for proven defiance of their advice. Unsubstantiated rumours about medical advice being ignored in the death of children involved in sports, makes this call an urgent priority.