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Archive for March 4, 2019

March 4, 2019 — Predictable overreaction ahead?

Today, in a social media post, Alex Danson, the 33-year-old captain of the Team GB women’s field hockey side that won the gold medal at Rio, detailed her ordeal from post-concussion syndrome.

“Six months ago whilst on holiday, I hit the back of my head,” she posted. “I knew straight away something wasn’t right, but as a typical athlete, I waved it away and tried to pretend I was OK. Six weeks later I was rushed into hospital with a suspected bleed, being violently sick and having seizures.”

There are two perspectives that need to be given here. One is that there have been a rash of head injuries that have befallen veteran members of the national team pool that will feed into the Home Nations’ unified side for Tokyo 2020. Aside from the gifted forward Danson, teammates Nicola White and Shona McCallin also suffered head injuries that kept them out of last year’s World Cup as well as Champions’ Trophy play.

Second, Danson’s holiday accident was the second known concussion that she has suffered in less than a year, having taken a shoulder from an Argentine player to the head during the preliminary rounds of the last Champions’ Trophy. It’s not known exactly how many more blows to the head she has taken in the last few years, either for club of country.

But, as more and more protective equipment is being used by players in penalty corner situations, and with certain raised balls not being whistled down for danger, there is a spectre looming over the sport: a helmet mandate.

There is hardly a day that goes by that a story about the global field hockey market for helmets is trumpeted for the near future, even though there is not a nation on earth that mandates them.