Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORTS -

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.


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