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May 26, 2004

Comments

John

Frank, my wife sometimes uses "head the ball", which I had assumed was a Dublin expression. So, it's obviously not just Dublin or Louth.

Now, as for the NHL's headgear and the number of head injuries, I'm not sure there's any link between hockey and soccer here. Hockey players with helmets have suffered far more head injuries, but the explanations as to why this is vary. I tend to accept that in the days before helmets, the players accepted the unwritten rule against targeting the other guy's head - either with your stick or when checking.

You need to read about Don Cherry, who argued against mandatory helmets 25 years ago and has been proven right in time.

Frank McGahon

I have read about Don Cherry, albeit through Colby Cosh's blog but I think the point holds. If you have a helmet you feel invincible, and you feel the other guy is also invincible so you are more likely to indulge in riskier behaviour, riskier for you or the other guy.

Brian

Actually, it's not so much that you think you're invincible when you have a ice hockey helmet on. It's more that the OTHER guys thninks it's ok to take more liberties.

Though, it's also questionable to assert a direct link between more injuries and mandatory helmets. One OTHER difference between the late 70s and today is the makeup of the ice hockey player. Back then, players were either big or fast. Now, they're both.

Brian

Though I'm a bit concerned about this banning the header thing. Right now, it meets with general derision. But radical changes often start out meeting general derision but slowly gain traction.

Brian

Besides, poorly executed, reckless or malicious slide tackles cause far more damage than headers.

Frank McGahon

But radical changes often start out meeting general derision but slowly gain traction.

Quite right: The "boiled frog" syndrome - Nobody ever specifically voted for the level of government intrusion into quotidian life considered normal these days, it just expanded due to apathy and inertia. Ireland's workplace smoking ban is a good example.

Besides, poorly executed, reckless or malicious slide tackles cause far more damage than headers.

I thoroughly agree. The thing is, poor old Jeff Astle aside, it's not like there is an epidemic of footballers with brain-damage or dying from head injuries but there are countless footballers with serious leg injuries and many have been crippled. What's more, a Race/Morientes-style headed goal is a thing of beauty. A sliding, crunching, studs-first tackle is a sickening sight, no matter whether incompetence, carelessness or malice is behind it.

Tony

You mentioned boxing.

The introduction of boxing gloves is probably responsible for more life-threatening and life-quality-reducing injuries than any other single factor.

In the days of bare-knuckle boxing, broken hands and smashed jaws brought fights (and careers) to a close long before repeated blows to the head could injure the brain. Broken bones are painful then they mend, but they don´t kill.

Protecting the hands with gloves turns them into blunt clubs ideal for repeated battering of opponents. Poor old Mohammed Ali.


T o n y
www.tallrite.com/blog.htm

Frank McGahon

Interesting observation!

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