IF MO­TOGP WAS A GAME OF RUGBY...

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Sport -

Of all the in­juries that rid­ers sus­tain in mo­tor­bike rac­ing, there are few as likely to bring a hush to the pad­dock as re­ports of a head in­jury. The hu­man brain, while an in­cred­i­ble com­puter, is also a frag­ile or­gan, and it is still al­ways a ma­jor con­cern when a rider is re­ported to have suf­fered a head trauma.

Which makes last week­end’s ac­tions re­gard­ing Danilo Petrucci all the more con­cern­ing, af­ter the Pra­mac Du­cati rider was al­lowed to con­tinue to com­pete af­ter suf­fer­ing an in­jury that would have ruled him out of a sport like pro­fes­sional rugby for up to three weeks.

Petrucci was per­haps the un­luck­i­est rider of the week­end, af­ter he was wiped out by Pol Es­par­garó’s bike when the Mon­ster Yamaha rider crashed at turn two as Petrucci ex­ited the pits. The Ital­ian hit the Yamaha full on, send­ing him head over shoul­ders on to the track to take the brunt of the im­pact of the crash on his head.

Ad­mit­ting af­ter­wards he had no mem­ory of the crash, de­spite not los­ing con­scious­ness, the dazed rider showed signs of a con­cus­sion, in­clud­ing con­fu­sion and mem­ory loss – he ad­mit­ted af­ter­wards he was ‘scared’ to not re­mem­ber the fall or the pre­vi­ous laps.

And while in rugby that could have side-lined him for the re­main­der of a game, Petrucci was al­lowed to con­tinue the free prac­tice ses­sion only min­utes later.

As more re­search is done into the side-ef­fects of re­peated con­cus­sions fol­low­ing re­ports from con­tact sports like Amer­i­can foot­ball, it’s crazy the on-site med­i­cal team al­lowed the Ital­ian to put not only his own life but those of his fel­low rid­ers at risk by al­low­ing him back on track with­out proper as­sess­ment.

Far too of­ten in Mo­togp, rid­ers are lauded as heroes for re­turn­ing af­ter in­jury, be it Rossi com­ing back from a bro­ken leg af­ter four weeks, or Jorge Lorenzo the day af­ter surgery to re­pair a bro­ken col­lar­bone.

Maybe it’s time for us to start wor­ry­ing more about the po­ten­tial con­se­quences of in­jured rid­ers on hugely pow­er­ful mo­tor­bikes rather than urg­ing them to re­turn as soon as pos­si­ble for our view­ing plea­sure.

‘Petrucci showed signs of con­cus­sion, such as mem­ory loss’

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