The Wright View | Football tragedies require urgent action
The tragedies that have occurred within football are urgent of debate and action.
The death of a child while representing his school at sports may not have been preventable - based on the leaked autopsy report - but his demise highlights the importance of the proper examination of children being accepted to every institution of learning in Jamaica.
The present protocol seems to be the same for every child going to school - be it pre-school, basic school, primary school, or secondary school.
The form requires very little detailed examination and seems to be focused on the child's immunisation status. For example, how many school administrators read the form submitted, and even if they do, how many act on the recommendations of the examining physician?
Does the medical examiner's statement of "Poor dental hygiene, needs urgent dental care" result in action from the school when it is patently obvious that there is very little parental supervision of this vital aspect of the child's health and potential to learn?
The pre-participation examination, prior to participation in school sports under the auspices of the Inter-Secondary Schools Association (ISSA) proposed by the Heart Foundation of Jamaica and supported by the Heart Institute of the Caribbean, must become mandatory for every competitive sport at school level.
This protocol involves a detailed question-and-answer form that must be completed by the child/participant and the parent together, ideally in the presence of a member of the team conducting the examination.
The answers to the questions in this section of the examination can alert the examining physician to potential medical problems that need to be paid special attention and in some cases further investigation.
That means that the examiner has to be someone with specialist training in sports medicine and, hopefully, some experience in cardiac-related problems.
The fact that this project is being spearheaded by the Heart Foundation and the Heart Institute of the Caribbean augurs well for our children, but, and this is a big BUT, there has to be branches of these institutions islandwide and not confined to the corporate area.
This protocol, if properly completed, is not cheap and requires funding not only from the schools and the Ministry of Education, but also from the private sector, which gains tremendous support from the fans of school sports.
MEDICAL CARE FUNDS
The amount of money garnered from the sponsorship of 'Champs' and schoolboy football should mandate that there is a stated percentage of sponsorship dollars to any school-based sporting competition going towards the medical care of the participating children. We owe it to our kids.
The other tragedy, to my way of thinking, was the revelation of the details of the offer made to Carl Brown, a former national player and successful coach of Boys' Town Football Club and Jamaica.
"Capo", as he is affectionately known from his days as the captain of Boys' Town and Jamaica, has been there, done that in virtually every aspect of local football.
He has run the national programme on his own and has been there at the side of Brazilian coaches, who have been asked to guide local football to international relevance.
I share Carl Brown's dismay and sense of being insulted when I read the contents of the e-mail sent to 'Capo' over the signature of the secretary of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), Raymond Grant.
I am prepared to assume that Mr. Grant typed the letter on instructions and somehow didn't read or understand the contents. There can be no other rational explanation for that insulting e-mail.
The missive exemplifies the contempt that the present hierarchy of the federation has for local coaches and reveals their penchant for coaches and players with foreign addresses and accents.
It is now painfully obvious that the present JFF cannot be allowed to continue to guide Jamaica's football if international relevance is the ultimate aim.
Football fans of Jamaica, act now.