Tuesday, 20 March 2012

The line between health and illness

If you ask a metallurgist to test drive your car then be careful as metallurgists test to destruction. Different people have different definitions of how to test. How do you test health? Well there are plenty of ways. Height and weight will tell you your body mass index which may well be the most important factor in preventing cancer, but that doesn't mean there aren't people with cancer who have a perfect BMI. You don't get perfect answers by screening.

I remember Daley Thompson while he was at the height of his athletics career saying that his peak performance always bordered on illness. As he pushed himself to his limits his body's resistance to illness would be pushed to its limit. He was talking about things like colds and flu but in fact it was a hamstring injury that ended his career, and you don't get many of those by watching TV. When an athlete is training they are looking at performance and also things like cardiovascular fitness.

Now if a footballer is looking for peak performance (and the business demands it) then they will be close to illness or injury by the very nature of their actions. It is no surprise that occasionally players like Fabrice Muamba collapse during a Premiership game. It happens all the time on UK sports fields but you are unlikely to hear about it if it happens to Joe Bloggs. Roberto Mancini is in the news calling for better screening and it may be that such tragedies occur less often in the top flight, but we should all expect things like this to happen again.

I wish Fabrice a full and speedy recovery but let's not fool ourselves into thinking that the demand for better and better football will not have consequences. Our thoughts and prayers can be with Fabrice or with Joe Bloggs but some prayers have already been answered when fans and players from all clubs are united in a caring attitude.

Change the world

No comments:

Post a Comment