Football Must change
The doctor who discovered the extent of brain injuries in American football believes soccer is in danger unless it adapts to protect players.
“If you’re worried about the physical side of any sport, then play chess.”
Those were the words of Republic of Ireland assistant manager and legendary Manchester United midfielder Roy Keane following Kevin Doyle’s retirement from football. The 34-year-old had been named in the Ireland squad for their last two World Cup qualifying group games, but cut his career short due to ongoing concussion and headache problems.
A week after he made those comments, it seemed that Keane and Ireland manager Martin O’Neill had learned nothing from Doyle’s forced retirement. Ireland recorded two wins, defeating Wales in Cardiff to reach the playoffs with the extremely physical match setting a record (58) for the most aerial duels contested in a single UEFA qualifier.
Ignoring the problem of concussion and brain injury in football is not a new phenomenon, but with former U.S. international Taylor Twellman and now Doyle leading the way as the two biggest names to retire due to repeated head injury, it will become more difficult to ignore a threat that endangers the future of football.
Dr Bennet Omalu was the first to diagnose chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in the brain of American football center Mike Webster in 2002, who suffered amnesia, dementia and depression before his death at age 50. The NFL has been accused of ignoring, rejecting and refuting Omalu’s research until the avalanche of evidence was overwhelming, and did not make any substantial concessions for player safety until 2007.
Omalu said, “We need to make soccer compatible with 21st century knowledge. The soccer industry should embrace the future and stop living in the past. If they fail to do that, soccer will not be as succesful as it is. People will develop healthier, more brain friendly types of sports. People may not want to believe that. “ and added
“We need to be progressive, we need to be intelligent. We cannot continue to play soccer the way we played it in 1970. If we continue to play soccer the way we did in 1970, then society will move ahead and leave soccer behind.”
Since Omalu’s initial studies into the subject, more and more research has emerged showing the dangers of not just American football but other contact sports. In July, the Journal of the American Medical Association released an updated study showing that out of 111 brains of deceased former NFL players studied, 110 of them had CTE.
In his latest book, Truth Doesn’t Have a Side, Omalu warns about the dramatic changes facing sports worldwide.
Omalu did a good job on the his research to cure the head injury . But will the game change in near future to be more safe for the player or we should adapt chess to avoid the life risk ! When it is footaball , we may have a solution in future ! Till then, wishing a safe game to all the soccer lover worldwide.