There have been a number of sports medicine issues in the news today and earlier this week. Here are some that are provoking some discussion.
The mental health and dysfunction of former athletes
Sadly yet another former athlete has taken their own life. This week it is the loss of former Wallaby, Dan Vickerman, that we are mourning. One of Australia's greatest ever Olympians, Grant Hackett, was again arrested for causing a disturbance amid concern from his family that his erratic behaviour was putting himself and others at danger. Former Brownlow medalist, Ben Cousins, has been denied bail after yet again being arrested for drug charges and breaching his VRO. Clearly there are challenges facing our elite sports people when their career ends. Elite sport often imposes severe disciplines and restrictions which, when removed abruptly can be extremely hard to adapt to. Caged animals released suddenly into the wild don't always have the skills to survive. I've found that the Sports Psychologist in the elite teams I've worked in plays an integral role in the lives of our athletes. I've had the good fortune of working with Jodii Maquire from Think Performance in two separate organisations. Jodii completed her thesis in athlete retirment and she's kindly offered to write a short blog on her insights into the topic which I'll be posting here in the next few weeks. In the meatnime, HERE is an article I've found interesting
More drug indiscretions in the AFL?
You may have missed reports that Lance Franklin, Luke Parker and the Sydney Swans AFL Club have all been fined for breeches of the AFL drug policy. It's extremely important to realise that no one has been accused of contravening the anti-doping code. Following the Essendon scandal, the AFL imposed a number of very strict rules about documentation of medical treatment. Those two players and the club were found guilty of inadequate records and declaration of legal medications. This is a story about the system working not failing.
Kim Mickle's ACL
It might be a bit harsh to make wider assertions based on just one player's injury but the question being asked is whether talented athletes being recruited into the AFLW have the background specific conditioning that they need to prevent injury in that sport. Kim Mickle is a phenomenally talented athlete who garners enormous respect from fellow athletes across a number of sports. She has gone from having a singular focus as a thrower, to post-olympic surgery, to the AFL in a matter of months. It is hard to see how she would have the opportunity to develop the specific conditioning to withstand the unique demands of AFL.
Steroid Pushing Doctor breaks down with admissions during his trial
Dr Anish Singh has commenced his trial where it has become apparent just how extreme the magnitude of his steroid and growth hormone prescribing has been. Much of the media attention has focused on Perth celebrities, crime figures and body-builders who have frequented his practice. What has been under-reported has been the amateur, competitive athletes including triathletes and cyclists who have seen him over the years. Word of mouth suggests the trial is only likely to cover the tip of the iceberg.
An American age-group triathlete has been given a 4 year ban for doping
This beggars belief. The fact that an amateur female racing in the 40-44 year old age-group for nothing more than pride and a token trophy would risk her health and the embarrassment of being caught is bizarre. What is more bizarre is that this is becoming a disturbingly familiar story. Despite minimal testing, competitive age-group athletes are more frequently being caught cheating. Does this suggest that the problem is far bigger than we realise? WADA have recently changed their paperwork rules. Athletes not competing at an open national level no longer need an exemption form to be submitted and approved prospectively. Many athletes, particularly in the USA, are of the mistaken belief that their diagnoses of "low testosterone" permits them to take prescribed replacement. It doesn't.
Rottnest Channel Swim
Ok, technically this isn't a Sports Medicine topic but it is a massive event on the Perth recreational calendar and dozens of my patients have overcome injuries and setbacks to get to the start line tomorrow. Conditions are looking ideal. There may not be a roaring easterly pushing us across but someone of the caliber of Jarrad Poorte could well break a very long standing record.