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article imageOp-Ed: Concussion care should be determined by doctors

By Walter McDaniel     Jul 17, 2014 in Sports
Calls for doctors to have the last word on whether soccer players will return to the pitch have escalated after recent World Cup events.
The debate escalated during the World Cup when Uruguay's Alvaro Pereira was allegedly knocked out and then returned to the game. This sparked some controversy both in sports and scientific circles.
Big names in soccer such as FIFPro are calling for a full investigation. Doctors with the Lancet posted a response to it as well in the form of "Tackling the sports-related concussion crisis". The journal asserts that if a player appears to suffer a concussion they need examinations from a doctor instead of "by those with a vested interest".
The NCAA is a perfect example of what happens when those who want players to return regardless of their injuries make the rules. You get players with multiple concussions pushing themselves too far because they love the game and dying. These are not blood sport even if people want it.
At the same time the NFL also provides us with ways in which this system can go wrong. There are practically no safeguards in place to encourage doctors not to make their managers happy by sending even badly injured players back into the game.
The calls for better concussion care and requests for doctors to have the last word on players come from a condition called Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). All of the nine NCAA players and Soccer player Patrick Grange had it when they died. Correlation does not equal causation but the connections are too close to ignore.
Doctors need the authority to make these calls. At the same time the game needs systems to insure that medical officials are not ethically compromised. This may bother some fans but honestly there is no other solution unless we want a short list of deaths on the field to grow larger.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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