What is this relationship we have with Sport?

What is sport really all about?

Do we have a clear understanding of what sport is?

Why is sport dividing nations?

What is the meaning of this word SPORT?

The Concise Oxford English dictionary tells us (1)
An activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment
Success or pleasure derived from an activity such as hunting

So what is very clear is that we need entertainment and we need pleasure and sport delivers that for us by people who are willing to ‘exert’ themselves. That means they will strive, try hard and apply force to physically get their body to do what is needed to win.

For some if that means taking drugs to enhance their performance so they can win, they are willing to do it. In other words – do what it takes without ever looking at the consequences.

  • So is sport all about winning?
  • What about the losers?
  • How affected are those who lose?
  • Do we have enough studies on what happens to those who lose?
  • Do we just wait for the next Sports news headlines to give us our buzz?

Talking of news headlines – check this out

The Rio Olympic Games 2016 – start this Friday 5 August.

BBC News – ‘If ever sport needed its most illustrious event to provide some inspiration, escapism and relief from its various troubles, it is now.’ (2)

Is this confirming we use sport to escape from life?
Is it saying sport needs an ‘illustrious event’ to take away the scandals around sport?
Could it be possible we are seeking relief from our own ‘various troubles’?

‘This is their moment to shine and to remind the world that, despite its latest crisis, sport’s mega-event is still worth fighting for.’ (2)

So why do we need to fight?
Why is it that we need to go into battle in the name of sport?
Where is this tension held in our body when we feel it is ‘still worth fighting for’?
Is a moment to shine worth more than the rest of our life?
Is this moment a time to ignore what is really going on in sport today?

Some athletes will not attend the Rio Olympics due to the Zika virus.

  • So what do we know about the Zika virus?
  • Why would athletes not want to attend their Olympic dream?
  • Why has the World Health Organization declared an international health emergency over the spread of the Zika virus, now known to cause devastating birth defects?

This video has some answers if you are interested

Next – The Rio games are running 51% over budget according to a recent study and Brazil is suffering a second year of recession, the worst economic crisis since the 1930’s. (2)

The President of Brazil was suspended in May pending an impeachment process. (2)

Who is running the budget for the Rio games?
Are these people under the authority of a President who has been accused of unlawful activity?
Why are some who are next in line to succeed also under investigation for alleged mis-management and/or corruption? (3)

Hello – is this telling us something loud and clear about this country?

If you want the highlights of why this woman is accused of violating fiscal laws and allegedly using funds from state banks to cover budget shortfalls, read more – (3)

So the people of Brazil are saying they are fed up with the high levels of corruption in Brazilian politics and here we have the new host of the world Olympics.

Do we care about the state of the country where our favourite sport stars are competing?
Are we really wanting to know about the corruption that is going on in Brazil?

Did we bother to question the next country where our world Olympics are held?

So just to make it clear the country HOLDING the games is in recession with a president accused of illegal activity and the majority of their people saying there is corruption at state level.

Now let’s look at the current hot news out

According to this BBC news report ‘Russia operated a state-sponsored doping programme for four years across the “vast majority” of summer and winter Olympic sports.’ (4)

So here we have an investigation by Wada – the World Anti-Doping Agency who are saying Russia’s sports ministry “directed, controlled and oversaw” manipulation of urine samples provided by athletes. (4)

The commission, led by Canadian Law Professor and Sports Lawyer – Dr. Richard McLaren will leave you in no doubt that this is high level corruption at state level. “The McLaren Report has concluded, beyond a reasonable doubt, a mind-blowing level of corruption within both Russian sport and government …”
Chief of United States Anti-Doping Agency – T. Tygart (4)

How could all this have gone on under the noses of the IOC and Wada for years, in a World Anti-Doping Agency accredited laboratory?
Why did it take a whistleblower to unearth the corruption?
Will this scandal split the Olympic movement beyond repair?
BBC Sports Editor – D. Roan (4)


Russia President – Vladimir Putin made the winter Olympic games in Sochi a showcase event and spent more than $50bn. That is $50 BILLION, not million on one sporting event. (4)

Next – this man has also suspended all officials named in the McLaren report. Surely if there is nothing to hide or declare, officials can all remain in their jobs?

Dear World

Can you smell anything here?
Can you read between the lines?
Are we choosing to pretend things are ok but we know they are not?
Are we aware of how big corruption actually is in our world today?

As our two previous blogs have confirmed

Corruption is not just in drugs and human trafficking. It is everywhere in our world and it is time we wake up and ask questions if we want true change.

We all know that Dope is another name for cannabis and the dictionary tells us it is ‘a drug used to enhance the performance of an athlete, racehorse or greyhound’ or ‘a stupid person’.

Doping means taking illegal substances to improve performance. In other words, cheating.

Well this cheating stuff goes back to Ancient Greece where substances were used in sport and so it is no surprise it still goes on today.

In 1928 the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) – the athletics world governing body was the first to ban doping. (5)

Hello – how come it is still going on 88 years later?
What is this telling us?
Why is it reported that doping has been a concern since 1920’s? (5)

Why did a major drug scandal in 1998 lead to the anti-doping organisation Wada – an Independent international agency in 1999?

Why is it that we wait for something big to happen when it was going on way before then?

Did we ever deal with this behind the scenes ugly stuff?
Have we just found new ways to not get it detected?
Do we think that winning is what this is all about?
Why is winning at any cost so important in the name of sport?

Are we really that ignorant or does it suit us in some way to not know the Truth?

WHY should be the question we all need to be asking?
Why is sport all about winning at whatever cost?

Why do our bodies’ need substances to go beyond its natural state?
Why do we accept that pushing our body to extremes is normal?
Why do athletes need to compete and win at all costs?
Why are some willing to ignore the side effects of drugs?
Why do they think it is ok to fake it to make it so to speak?

Why are anabolic steroids needed to allow athletes to train harder?
Why do these androgenic agents build muscle fast?
Why are the risks stating increased aggression for this substance?

Why are stimulants used to overcome the effects of fatigue?
Why do we need to increase the heart-rate and blood flow artificially?
Why are we not interested that these drugs can be addictive?

Why are diuretics and masking agents used to remove fluid from the body?
Why do sports like boxing and horse racing use this to ‘make the weight’?

Why would anyone use narcotic analgesics and cannabinoids to mask pain caused by injury or fatigue?

Why are Glucocorticoids used to mask serious injury when they affect our metabolism?

Hello – this is serious stuff if you just stop and re-read this.

Our body is telling us something and we take an addictive drug to pretend it is not happening.
How intelligent are we really when we choose this in the name of sport?

Why are peptide hormones like Erythropoietin used to give athletes energy and increase bulk?
Why are human growth hormones used to build muscle?

Why did it take 7 world wins to find out about Lance Armstrong?
Have we observed him since he has been stripped of his titles?
How does he really feel now that he is banned from sport for life?
Would Armstrong still be competing today if he had not been caught?

We had Ben Johnson back in 1988 known as the ‘world’s highest-profile drugs cheat’ stripped of his Olympic Gold. (5)

Was that a sign for us to wake up world and smell that something is not right with these athletes performing like super humans?

Why are super fit and healthy sports stars dying at a young age?
Why are we not asking WHY does this happen if they are at the top of their game?
We all know they have the best trainers, doctors, nutrition and everything else money can buy looking after them.

Danny Jones – aged 29 Wales International Rugby star
May 2015 – Cardiac Arrest

Reggie Lewis – aged 27 NBA Player
Heart Attack during training

Jules Bianchi – aged 25 Formula 1 Grand Prix driver (6)
July 2015 – High speed accident. Severe Head Injuries

A 396-page report confirmed that Jules Bianchi did not choose to slow down. It suggests a closed cockpit to protect drivers’ heads. Is this the answers his fans want to hear?

Should we be asking why high speed driving is allowed in wet conditions?

Why is this dangerous sport so popular?

How many more deaths do we need to witness around the circuit before we say enough? 

What is the thrill that high speed driving gives us all?

Jonah Lomu – aged 40 Greatest Global Rugby Superstar
November 2015 – Cardiac Arrest

His team doctor John Mayhew said “cardiac arrest is the final pathway of the heart shutting down. That is all there is really.” (7)

  • What is this doctor telling us all here?

When we have a heart attack is it our body saying enough and our heart shuts down?

How are we living every day that gets us to this point?

What choices was Jonah Lomu making for his career when he had kidney disease?
How come his health problems came to light after his retirement?

Could it be possible that he had to stop to feel the Truth of what was going on in his body?

Does the death of world famous Jonah Lomu tell us how we don’t have the answers?
How does someone die so young when they had the pace of a sprinter?
How natural was it for his 19 stone frame to beat the 100m in 11 seconds?

Tommy Hanson – aged 29 MLB Pitcher
November 2015 – Catastrophic organ failure
Delayed complications of Cocaine & Alcohol Toxicity (8)

Are we interested in why our top players use alcohol and drugs?

What was Tommy Hanson’s life like before he got famous?
Was there something deeper when he said he had ‘mental issues’ following the death of his brother? (9)

Could it be possible Hanson needed substances to not deal with what was going on in his private life? Possible?

1994 – Formula 1 driver Ayrton Senna died aged 34
We have the highest paid athlete at the time with a huge salary and endorsement deals die from the sport that made him famous 

Korey Stringer – age 27 American football NFL Heat Stroke symptoms (10)

Should we be asking WHY is training in full gear – around 50 pounds of weight – at 110 degrees necessary in the name of sport?

Why are experts saying this could have been prevented?

“… There is no safe place just because you are an NFL guy and you have the latest high-tech equipment or you have the best rehab equipment (or) you know all the nutritional values”

Marc Vivien Foe – age 28 Footballer
Heart Attack
Died at the FIFA Confederations Cup semi-final game

Would there have been signs about his health and well-being before this game?
How does a high profile English Premier League player have a price tag of $6 million but a life age of 28?

What was going on in his life that finally shut his heart down?
What was his body communicating to him?
Why do we have little interest in the true health and well-being of our players?

Antonio Puerta – age 22. Spanish International Football – playing for Sevilla at the time
Died of Heart Failure (11)

How young is that?
Why do we not have the answers?
Why are we not demanding what on earth is going on?
Why do these tragic stories not make any sense?

These are super fit guys, professional athletes with every modcon available to them and yet their heart gives up.

Could it be possible “there will be some underlying heart problem …” as Dr Panther of Pure Sports Medicine says? (11)

Could it be possible that the fame and recognition for these sports stars means more to them than the ‘underlying heart problem’?

Could it be possible that they felt they were loved and adored through what they could do and so this is what they continued to focus on, at the cost of their inner-most true health and well-being?

So here are some WHY questions about Sport –

Why is sport all about winning at whatever cost?
Why does sport command such big audiences?
Why do we love our sports games above anything else?
Why do we choose to get lost in the win-lose world of sport?

What is all this competition about?
Dictionary says compete means ‘strive to gain or win something by defeating or establishing superiority over others’ (1)

Why do we go to great lengths at the expense of our body to win?
Why do we need to establish superiority over others in any way?
Why is defeating another giving us so much pleasure?

Why do we not study how players feel when they are defeated?
Why are there no studies showing the behaviour patterns of winners?
Why is it that we have this battle between nations in the name of sport?

Why do countries have divisions in the name of sport?
Why do people fight because we support different teams?
Why does competition bring up so much emotion in us?

Why is alcohol a huge part of a football match in the UK?
Why is there so much police presence needed during a football match in the UK?
Why does the whole town have to shut down so the winning team can parade their cup in an open top bus?

Why is it normal for rugby players to be injured during a game?
Why is it normal for sport to push the body beyond its natural limits?
Why are some sports so aggressive?

Why is there domestic violence increase after a World Cup match? Why do the Wimbledon final tickets sell at £43,000? (12)
Why does anyone pay £5000 for a booking fee for one match? (12)

Why do the winners get all the attention and recognition?
Why have our sport stars got celebrity status?
Why is UK footballer Wayne Rooney paid £300,000 per week? (13)
Why are our teachers and nurses earning so much less?

Why do we rate our sports stars so highly?
Why do people try to use players as role models?
Why do some of our sports’ people have dodgy private lives?
Why do some have extreme behaviour that no one understands?

Why does our mood change if our team wins or loses?
Why are there big bucks involved in the whole sports industry?

From ticket touts to betting offices and the sale of merchandise – there is heaps of money exchanging hands.

Cyber-criminals have fake websites that are professionally constructed and appear legitimate. Conmen run lottery scams where letters and emails are sent confirming a cash prize and trip to Rio Olympics. Winners may also be asked to provide their bank details and other personal info (14)

Check out these prices –
Boxing – Floyd Mayweather Vs Canelo Alvarez
$30,940 per ticket

NBA 2010 Finals
$57,950 – one ticket for Lakers and Celtics match
$115,000 – closer seat, same match 

London 2012 Olympics – Opening Ceremony
$4,000 per seat

Golf The Masters 2013

Grand Prix Formula 1 racing
The most expensive sport in the world as it requires the latest in sports car technology (15)

Next – have we ever stopped to consider does the loser ever get over it or do they push even harder and keep going at whatever cost until they win?

My only ever visit to a football match was enough. You go through a tight narrow metal turnstile, which reminded me of the iron doors inside prison. There was loads of swearing, shouting and yelling and it felt like a ‘venting playground’ where people gave themselves permission to release built up emotions and lash out on a team and its supporters in a short space of time. Most had been drinking alcohol.

On that note – research by Lancaster University criminologist Dr Stuart Kirby, a former police officer concludes that domestic violence increases after football matches whether the team win or lose.

Separate national research has echoed the Kirby findings with domestic abuse reports up 27.7% when the England team won a game and 31.5% when they lost.

Dr Stuart Kirby said “… there will be people who get involved in domestic abuse for the first time during England games”.

Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh says –
“One of the things we are looking at is around learned behaviour.
Are there now people who have seen their parent behave in this way during tournaments who now think it is acceptable for them to do the same?
There is a mixture of factors that come together during a World Cup tournament; many people drink alcohol, there is the emotional stress of the game and there is a whole issue around competitiveness and testosterone levels.” (16)

This is serious stuff and needs our attention.
Our world demands scientific evidence so we need to be asking for more studies and more research on this type of behaviour.

Is the game more important that the abuse that goes on after with our family members at home?
Is there something else at play here that we are not willing to look at and deal with?
Who is really winning here if we look at society as a whole for one moment?
Why do we have victims of domestic violence because of a sport’s tournament?

This makes absolutely no sense.

The Truth is Sport makes no sense when so much in our world needs our attention, starting with our own health.

Have we taken a look at the latest figures on Illness and Disease, which is now bankrupting our health systems worldwide?

Are we interested in the state of our welfare systems that are trapped in a no win cycle?

Do we know the global statistics on Domestic Violence and how huge this issue is?

Do we truly care or is it far more important to find the next season ticket or get to the next match, which is the short term solution to our happiness?

Is it time that we press the pause button and just stop for a moment to reflect on the knock on effect that sport maybe having in our life?

How are we contributing to the sports industry and at what cost to our own personal health and well-being?

Dear World – Are we ready to stop and feel WHAT IS REALLY IMPORTANT TO US IN LIFE?



(1) Concise Oxford English Dictionary – Twelfth Edition. Oxford University Press. 2011

(2) Roan, D. (2016, July 15). Rio 2016: ‘Olympics is Still Worth Fighting For’

(3) (2016, May 10). Could Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff be Impeached?

(4) (2016, July 18). Russia State ‘Sponsored Doping Across Majority of Olympic Sports, Claims Report

(5) (2015, August 20). Doping in Sport: What is it and How is it Being Tackled?

(6) Johnson, D. (2016, February 16). Horrific New Details on Formula One Driver Jules Bianchi’s Tragic Death Published by the FIA

(7) (2015, November 18). Former New Zealand All Black Jonah Lomu Dies Aged 40

(8) SI WIRE. (2015, December 11). Former Braves P Tommy Hanson Died from Cocaine, Alcohol Use

(9) Gleeman, A. (2013, May 29). “I Was Having Mental Issues with the Death of My Younger Brother”

(10) Bunn, C. (n.d). Medical Experts Say the Death of Korey Stringer Was Entirely Preventable

(11) Moore, G. (2007, August 29). He Was Sent to a Specialist and Told: ‘Hang Up Your Boots or You Could Die’

(12) Cooper, R. (2013, July 4). Ticket Prices for the Wimbledon Men’s Final Hit a Record £43,000 per pair as Murraymania Reaches Fever Pitch

(13) (2016). Wayne Rooney Salary. What Footballer’s Earn

(14) Davenport, J (2016, July 25). Rio Olympics ‘are a goldmine for fraudsters’. Evening Standard

(15) Brock. (2015). Top 10 Most Expensive Sports Tickets Ever Sold in the World

(16) Laville, S. (2014, June 9). Police Fear Rise in Domestic Violence During World Cup





Comments 129

  1. Thank you Simple Living Global for this brilliant and very timely blog.

    It has lead me to question – Why do we override what our bodies say so much?

    When I look at it we are all taught from young to negate our bodies. Nobody says it explicitly but just by the way that we are encouraged and rewarded to behave from young the message is ‘don’t take notice of your body’.

    We are encouraged to ‘be the best’, ‘to win’ and ‘to get ahead’ at all costs, generation AFTER generation.

    The way that sport is, is an excellent example of this.

    The substances that athletes use to increase performance, hide fatigue, injury and increase their heart rates are no different to the substances we use everyday to get us through life – caffeine, sugar, cigarettes, alcohol, pain killers to name just a few.

    The questions that this blog asks about the young death of sporting stars is such common sense, it IS ridiculous that we are missing this and not treating ourselves and each other with more care.

    Why has achievement and success become the priority ahead of this?

    Could it be as the writer of this blog asks – ‘Could it be possible that they felt they were loved and adored through what they could do and so this what they continued to focus on, at the cost of their inner-most true health and wellbeing?’

    Does this apply to all of us in so many areas of life? Is this why we are so keen on Sport?

    Thank you again Simple Living Global as it has lead me as one reader to ask some very deep questions.

    1. Great comment Shevon Simon and the fact this blog alone has got you to ask some very deep questions is what is needed.

      Correct – we are not educated at young age to take care of our body, listen to it and pay attention. In other words develop a true relationship with it so we take deep care all of the time to now harm ourself which in turn means we could never harm another.
      This alone speaks volumes for those who understand what is being said here.

      Your list of what most of us do to hide fatigue is true. The thing is very few can admit it because many are not even aware of it and to be honest they don’t really want to go there and address it as that would mean taking Responsibility. A word the world seems to avoid and yet it is Responsibility that is the game changer.

      In answer to your question, I would say that achievement and success has become the priority ahead of our own true health and well being because we pay little or no regard to our body. We do not feel met by our primary carers for who we are, so we plot and plan to DO something and for some that is excelling in sport. So negating the limits of our natural body rhythms and what it can and cannot do, all push and drive is for the end goal to win. The doing is at the expense of the being if you know what I mean.

  2. I would say, most people look back at the “games” of punishment by death in the public arena of the collusium as being a sick and inhumain phenomenon… Perhaps we should consider if we may have continued this same kind of cruel fascination only in a slower, more dishonest way?

    I want to know that my food & goods are “fair trade” but what about how our “entertainment” is created ?If it is at the expense of the athletes, their families, the unity of our countries and human society in general do we still want to support it?!

    I have always felt it a great misdirection of time, energy, money & values that so many of us are willing to devote ourselves to sport but not to getting our basics sorted… Why are we selective in favor of something that is not at all about love instead of focusing on what we know is loving and building that?

    1. Top comment Jo and you have a point about the ‘cruel fascination’ that could possibly be the same as the public arena of the collusium in the past. We each need to look at how we contribute to any ill in this world and not play the blame game.
      We have created this entertainment called sport and for some it has become addictive and there seems no way out. Others are gambling on sports and again addicted and then those who seem it as an easy money making thing because people are so desperate for tickets they will go to a tout or dodgy website to get what they want and become blind to the fact that this is a wrong way to do business. Its like we lose our moral compass inside of us.
      I like your final point about how many of us ‘devote ourselves to sports but not the basics sorted’. We seem to have our priorities in a way that does not truly support us.

  3. Whilst not classified as sport per se, in my twenties I was on a dance training course. After three months I had to leave the course as I’d seriously damaged the tendons in my right hip and could barely walk. Over 12 years later my body is still recovering from the ill effects of this choice, as my right hip often feels tense. It’s like I have to retrain myself how to walk and move as the tendency to push ahead is so ingrained. The damage to my right hip during the dance training was showing me the extremes of how I was living – in pushing my body beyond where it wanted to go. My body did not want to do the dance training, but due to ideal pictures of being a good or better person, if I could dance well and to professional standards, I pursued the dream ahead of my body and look at the result. It really does not pay to ignore our bodies in favour of who we think we should be. This is something I am becoming more and more aware of every day.

  4. We have become a world that demands and wants things now at whatever cost. Sport is one thing that is a time where we seem to ‘lose’ ourselves and not have a reality check. We can get lost in the game and allow it to affect our mood, emotions and our life.

    Think about it there is now evidence that football tournaments have higher levels of domestic violence whether the team wins or loses. Hello is anyone paying attention here. This is serious stuff.
    We need to support this type of research and get to the root cause of WHY this is happening instead of championing the sport which lets face it is simply about competition and winning at all costs.

  5. Athletics’s have always been a part of my life until now. Any sporting activity was was easy for me to learn, however I never advanced to stage were I was getting paid to do it. This was because I did not enjoy the competitive aspect of sport. I loved to play but did not want to keep score.

    As I grew older I noticed that my body did not like sporting activity as much and I noticed all the crazy things that were happening in the sports world. Also as a parent I noticed insane behavior of some of the parents with respect to ther children.
    This made me question my belief that sporting activity was good.
    After reading this blog it confirms my feeling that sport is not what we think and maybe it is not good for our children and ourselves.

    1. Interesting you say Ken that you did not enjoy the competitive aspect of sport. How can you when it is simply not the truth. It is all about winning and at what cost.
      The Olympics are currently on and you hear the stories everyday about what athletes are up to in the name of sport to win medals.
      Our drive to win takes over any rational thinking and we lose all sense of what is needed for our true health and well being.
      Sport is such a big money making industry for all involved and this is a big motivating factor along with the seeking of recognition.

  6. The economic factor is one aspect that I have been questioning since reading this blog.

    We all know that it would be ridiculous to buy an expensive car when we don’t have the money – however I know at one time I lived way beyond my means and everything that I desired went on credit cards. At that time common sense would have told me that this was not sensible and I could feel that I was running into trouble as my income could not cover the bills. However I had an insatiable appetite for more. It got to a point where I just gave up and said ‘well I can’t pay it off so what’s another purchase.’ This was eight years ago.

    As I no longer live like this I see now that this was very Irresponsible behaviour. I had no sense of self-worth and care for myself and so what I owned was everything and a way for me to say to the world ‘I’m worth something’. So it makes sense that if someone is living recklessly in their own life they cannot advise others on how to be Responsible and take that lead in their professional life. With reference to the Olympic Games, if Government officials are not being responsible with their own finances – for example – how can they sensibly take care of the finances of a country?

    With the way that I was living before I could not have advised anyone about their financial affairs or carried any sense of authority with regards to finances or budgetary skills, even though I’d read tons of books on finances. The way that we live our lives is very powerful and can make a big difference between what is healing and thus evolutionary for humanity or what holds us back and send us into decline. Could the way that we live be at the root of these societal problems?

    1. You make some great points here Shevon. If we are irresponsible in the way we are living and in this case you mention finances, then how can we sensibly take care of the finances of a country. No amount of books or courses will change that.
      I agree that ‘the way we live our lives is very powerful..’ and this is what can make a real difference and not send us further into decline as you say.
      Living a life or true responsibility requires consistency. It is this consistency that then gives us authority. No need for perfection but what is needed is a true commitment to live life where you are taking full responsibility for all the choices you make, day in and day out.
      As this blog is about sport – we make sports stars our hero’s and role models but not once question if they are living a life of true responsibility.

  7. Wow, Bina. This article brings it all regarding sport and very timely. I was so shocked to find out that elite cyclists on races like the Tour de France actually don’t have time to stop and eat and they get blood transfusions instead. We have held sport close to our hearts for entertainment, relief, increase in emotional excitement and stimulation and a deep desire to not look at what is really going on in front of our noses. Why? Perhaps because it doesn’t suit us and if we did we would have to let it go?

    1. The timely bit is planned by Simple Living Global. We were well aware of the Olympics start date and posting our weekly blog before the date was important.
      The same goes for all the world awareness days that we choose to write about.

      Thank you for mentioning about getting blood transfusions instead of eating. This is serious and how is this a responsible way of living?
      At what cost? All this simply to win a medal as that is the bottom line.
      I agree with you about how we use sport as it suits us and gives us relief from the stuff we do not want to address in our life.

  8. The UK government never used to pour too much money into Sport but that changed with the lottery and now it is seen as a very strong measure of success for the country on a global scale, and importantly a key area for politicians to score points. I read recently that Australia spent something like $49million per gold medal success at the last games and there are similar figures for all the main countries where it is seen as bragging rights, how childish is that when we consider it. Australia and the UK are great examples of such rivalry as they will bait each other over who wins most medals at the Olympics, meanwhile both countries get fatter and sicker by the year, more cancer, diabetes, obesity, dementia, heart disease and on and on, which is surely a truer measure of how each country is actually doing, i.e not well at all.

    1. Top comment Stephen Gammack. The fact that the UK see sport ‘as a very strong measure of success for the country and on a global scale’ is utter nonsense.
      As you clearly point out how can that be successful when we look at the cancer rates, along with diabetes, obesity, dementia, heart disease and add to that mental health which is off the scale.
      Our youth of today are not doing well at all and this is a strong measure of how our future is going to look as they will be the adult population. It is time we got real and wake up.

  9. Sport = competition. Of that there can be no doubt and how many of us are invested in the sanctity of sport; the ideal that it supports our young children to work and play in teams, that as they progress through the ranks, the steps they have to walk towards the higher echelons become more and more difficult; you have to be committed, you have to put your body on the line, you have to be the best, no matter whom you beat or tread on along the way.
    You Have To Put Your Body On The Line.
    You Have To Put Your Body Second!
    Remembering the fact that this is a body that we push and abuse in the name of health and fitness.
    None of what the author has exposed here is surprising, yet it is still shocking. We are completely lost in the world and yet every Saturday or Sunday afternoon we gather and cheer and boo, and drink and eat, and yell and scream, get emotional and happy, we may even fight, some may even die watching, soccer, American football, cricket, rugby, basketball etc.etc.
    Sporting culture defines whole nations. An old boss of mine once stated ‘that the Australians do a great job at channelling funds in to Australian sport for it keeps the nation focused on results.’ Was he really saying that whilst we are all watching the TV and following the Olympics for example we can root for our team but we may not know what is going on within our family, within our workplaces, with those around us. It is a well crafted distraction and one that is a drain on the bodies of those that play and those that watch – one and the same thing really at either end of the sporting scale.

  10. I spoke with someone this week who talked about the 2012 Olympic Games in London. There was a big push then to end people sleeping rough on the streets – in time for the Olympics. Need I spell it out? Basically it would not have looked good. After the Olympics the focus on rough sleeping (which hasn’t gone away) went elsewhere and numbers have steadily increased in the city since then.

    Does this make sense?

    As the author of this blog says – ‘Are we ready to stop and feel WHAT IS REALLY IMPORTANT TO US IN LIFE? ‘

    1. This is serious and very interesting that you say London did not want to let the world know that we have homeless people on the streets when the Olympics were here in 2012.
      The truth is nothing has changed and things are getting worse.
      Each of those people have made choices that got them there and we have a responsibility to have an understanding that no one in their right mind chooses to sleep on streets. Throwing our loose change at them or buying a meal once has clearly not worked. What we need is to support in a way that is going to make real change.
      Where do we start?
      What can we each do as individuals?
      What is our responsibility?
      Just asking questions, is going to be the start of change.
      Ignoring it, thinking it will go away or not let it affect our current lifestyle, which is great – thank you very much will CONFIRM that nothing changes.

  11. One thing that comes through loud and clear to me reading this blog is that people just don’t care. These are massive issues and they need our attention, but I look around me and all I see are people lost in sport. People getting into extreme sport, training for triathlons, running marathons, doing ‘Insanity’ workouts: wearing their efforts and achievements on their sleeves. People fixated on their team’s performance and geeking out on the details and data. How do we get beyond this and start to look at what’s really going on?

    I grew up in a footballing family and going to matches on a weekend was what we did. Interestingly, we were always in a directors’ box, somewhat shielded from the reality of the stands (when standing in a pen was still the norm). My parents knew that reality well, though and you can’t shield your kids from the songs and the chants and the alcohol and the swearing, shouting and aggression. If you go to a match that’s what everyone recieves whether they want it or not. I remember my body recoiling and clenching my fists, hunching my shoulders. I remember walking in the gates and feeling the energy of the crowd: agitated and oppressive. What is it that so many get from this energy? Why is the ritual of matches so entrenched in our society?

    This blog starts to open up some of the possibilities. We certainly have some way to go to open up the conversation.

  12. ‘…that need is never met by their team’s victory’ – this is how it was for me when I was competing. There was drama either way: win or lose and I enjoyed the team unity in that, not thinking of the lack of unity with the humans on the other side. When we won, we didn’t pause to think about how the other team would be feeling, even though we knew what it felt like. And it seems to me the ‘sportsmanship’ you are taught to show either on winning or losing is exactly that: a show. You pretend it doesn’t hurt if you lose and you pretend you aren’t revelling in it if you win. And when I had a personal win, the hit was fleeting. The focus shifted quickly to the next, with a restlessness that you were only as good as the latest performance. How is all this moving the human race forward?

  13. This week I read of a new stadium opening that will have prime seats for watching football matches, but only members of a special club will have access to it.

    The joining fee for the club is £15,000 but members have to buy a pair, so the minimum fee is £30,000.

    Who does this serve?

    Considering that there are so many issues that this website is highlighting that could do with extra resources, like Diabetes, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Human Trafficking, Drug Addictions, Obesity to name just a few, why are we placing Sport at the top of our list of priorities?

    When we really think about it –

    Why would we tunnel so much money into games where after 90 minutes or so, it’s all over?

    Is it really worth £30,000 for a seat?

    It costs the NHS £18,000 for an amputation.

    Just reading the statistics in this article could be a wake up call for humanity.

    What are the long term gains for society and for all of us in investing in Sport to this degree – over and above our true health and well-being?

  14. I loved reading everything about this blog but what stood out for me is the list of sports persons who died and their ages struck me even further, with the youngest being only 22 with heart failure but there is no mention that the possibility of extreme training they go through, or the changes in diets may be an attributing factor.

    The professional sports person, looks lean and fit on the exterior and soon as they retire, the weight piles on and the body looks podgy, it as if they come from one extreme and go to the other extreme.

    I have never been the biggest fan of watching sports, I didn’t like any of the teams losing as I felt their sorrow. But the one and only time I watched live cricket, I could not believe the amount of racist mark, jeering, booing, the aggression in the name of being a loyal fan.

    I used to partake in sports, never at the gold medal level but definitely at competition level. It was always about winning and seldom about losing and when we lost, our coach was hard on us, it felt we were being ‘told off’, we were often left feeling deflated and failures.

    My body only managed to maintain this training to a certain point and after that it said no more. I have only just began to go on gentle walks after stopping exercise over 8 years ago. When I attempted to go back too prematurely, I would come down with a cold or an illness of some kind. I felt there was a part of my body distrusting and it thought instead of going for a walk it was suddenly being taken for a 13 mile run again! It was as if the past memory was too strong for it to handle, so I had no choice but to listen until I can rebuild this trust so my body can maintain some fitness or health.

  15. Hot news from the BBC
    Researchers published a study in the journal Acta Neuropathologica where the brains of five professional footballers and one committed amateur were examined. All six went on to develop dementia.

    Four showed evidence of CTE – Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, a degenerative disease linked to repeated blows to the head.

    One of our famous footballers inquest into his death in 2002 found that the player’s dementia was the result of repeatedly heading the ball.
    “by the end he didn’t even know he’d been a footballer. Everything football ever gave him, football had taken away”. Daughter of striker Jeff Astle

    “Our findings suggest that there is a potential link between repetitive sub-concussive head impacts from playing football and the development of CTE”
    All six showed tearing of the septum pellucidum, a thin membrane in the centre of the brain.
    “This is a feature very common in professional boxers and it has been linked to repetitive traumatic brain injury”
    Helen Ling – Queen Square Brain Bank for Neurological Studies, University College London Institute of Neurology

    Research from Boston University says 90 of 94 former NFL players whose brains were studied, tested positive for CTE.
    NFL officially acknowledged the link between head trauma and CTE.

    Dear World

    Here we have news that is not really new news as we knew about it 15 years ago.
    So WHY are we not asking more questions?
    WHY are we not taking note of the NFL study?
    WHY are we not simply joining the dots here?
    WHY are we asking for more research as this study is too small?
    WHY are some saying this is out of context?
    WHY are there real life people talking live on BBC Radio 2 – Wednesday 15 February 2017 who have partners and relatives who have died from dementia telling us they are absolutely certain it is linked to head blows?

    Can we ignore the signs?
    Can we just carry on and hope this news will be old news soon?
    Are we bothered as long as we got our season ticket to keep us entertained?

    Could it be possible that this news is not something we want more of as it does not suit our own personal agenda?

    Are we worried about what happens to our sports heros once they go past their sell by date?
    Are we aware of the impact on those they leave behind where they don’t even have a memory?

    How sad is it that we are not taking seriously something that is quite obvious and clear?
    The impact of anything on our skull which is designed to PROTECT our brain requires a common sense approach?
    WHY do we not challenge something so logical that makes sense?
    Anything we choose to bash, crash, thump or blast towards our head or our precious body is going to leave an imprint. That may or may not show up overnight but long-term we are going to see it and this story confirms that point.

    Is it time to ask WHY on earth do we allow others to get injured in the name of sport?
    What true benefit is this to humanity?
    How does this evolve us as a race of beings?
    Who really wins here?
    WHY do we think it is ok to champion any sport that brings about real harm to our players?

    1. The Washington Post – 30th April 2018

      A new study suggests that there is a strong correlation between the age some athletes begin playing tackle football and the onset of behavioural and cognitive problems later in life, findings that become significantly more pronounced for those who take up the sport before age 12.

      The researchers concluded that for every year younger an athlete begins to play tackle football, he would experience symptoms associated with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy 2.5 years earlier.

      So those that start playing before aged 12 could start experiencing symptoms more than 13 years earlier.

      The study included 246 players that are now dead who had donated their brains to the brain banks at the VA, Boston University and the Concussion Legacy Foundation.
      Of that group 211 were diagnosed with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.
      Some of us may read this and think that this won’t affect me or it won’t affect my child, but this study is very serious, if we choose to take notice.

      On a very practical level as Simple Living Global have described in the above comment –

      “Anything we choose to bash, crash, thump or blast towards our head or our precious body is going to leave an imprint. That may or may not show up overnight but long-term we are going to see it…”

      And so this is what we are seeing here with this news/research story.

      So would we be wise to seriously consider this when looking at sporting activities for our children, or going even further and considering this whole blog on Sport written by the founder of Simple Living Global and the questions being presented?

  16. There has been recent controversy over whether footballers who serve drugs bans should be named and shamed. Some say yes, others say that confidentiality is important as part of the rehabilitation process. Just reading this reminds me of this blog called Getting Away With It

    When things are going ‘great’ and we are getting all that we want and are achieving to a socially acceptable level, our morals go out of the window regarding self-conduct. The thing that we fail to see is that there is no personal and then professional life. More and more I am becoming aware that they are not seperate and so any misdemeanour in one area, creeps into the other. In Truth, we don’t really get away with anything.

    We herald sports stars as heroes. Young children look up to them and they are often paid millions of pounds – but if as a sportsman or woman we are using drugs in our’private’ lives that is the image that all those aspiring to be like us get. Even if no-one knows that we are using drugs, the silent message is there ‘To be like me you have to take drugs.’ There is much that we can be influenced by without someone opening their mouths and telling us to do something.

    Therefore the role models that we have are super important as they are not just role modelling glitz and glamour but a whole lifestyle, whether actions are seen or not.

  17. Thank you Simple Living Global for another great blog.

    Having competed in sport from a young age I can see the reasons why people go into sport.
    I was always better than the average in the sports I played and it brought me a lot of ‘respect’ and a lot of recognition.

    Growing up, we are always told that competition is good for you. That sport is a great leveller and that it brings discipline.

    In reality, none of the above is true.

    Competition is not good for you. It brings separation.

    One person has to win which means many others have to lose and those that win have to keep winning to get the same feeling.

    I was very good at snooker and when I lost a match, when I got to the car, I would punch the steering wheel, scream and swear and then drive off angry.

    Off course, I felt great when I won.

    They say that sport is a great leveller. Why do we need something outside of ourselves to communicate with someone else?

    They say sport brings discipline. Yes, but what sort of discipline?
    If you use it to push your body until you vomit or until you incur an injury, how can that be the truth?

    Sport is very divisive.

    It brings continents, countries, cities, towns, communities, friends and even families to blows.

    Is it possible that sport is no different to a war?

    Although the players aren’t actually trying to kill one another, there is still that element of wanting to destroy the opposition.

    But with the fans, it is just like a war.

    In England alone, many football teams have fans that are there just to have a fight with the fans from the opposing team.

    With the 2018 World Cup coming, there are already threats made by the Russian fans of taking out the English fans and vice versa.

    And as this blog has pointed out, the rise in domestic violence when a major sporting event is on regardless of whether their teams win or lose, is a something that needs to be addressed.

    How ridiculous is it, that someone you are supposed to love, is in danger of being harmed just because your team, of which you have no control over whatsoever, may win or lose?

    1. Tim these are really good points and it makes no sense at all when you spell it out like that. In the end we have no control over whether a team wins or loses, so why do we get so involved and how can that emotion be taken out on another?

      A solution for football hooliganism in Russia has been to turn clashes into a spectator sport – this has been suggested by a Russian MP. Making it a spectator sport would mean ‘formalising’ the fighting. (The Week, 11th March 2017, p.17)

      Why are we forever trying to find ways to make things work rather than accepting, as Tim is saying here, that sport is divisive and separative – regardless of its form?


    BBC news story dated 12 March 2017

    How serious is this that we are choosing to run at night time in the name of sport.
    A life lost and think about ALL those affected like family, friends, work colleagues and community.

    WHY do we champion things that are so un-natural for the human body in the name of sport?
    WHY are we allowing our bodies to not live in the way we know would not harm it?

    What is it about our so called Intelligence that wants these extreme challenges with no regard for the body?
    In other words a will to push the body beyond its natural state.
    It would be of great benefit to read our SLEEP blog, which talks from science saying how the body has a job to do at night. Going against this is going against the very nature of our divine design. No one can dispute that our body is a divine design as no science study has yet come up with how we are created from that tiny cell to a full human being when we are born.

    Is it time to put our common sense hats on and join the dots.
    Our body has a divine intelligence to the point that it has this internal clock and melatonin is produced to support our sleep and wake cycle. So if we are going against that natural internal process, things may go wrong?

    Could it be that simple?

  19. Daily Mail – 8 April 2017

    Has anyone heard of the fastest growing sport that is for the “Fittest on Earth”?

    So we have a brutal regime that more of us are now signing up for and this news story says how ‘some competitors are often sick mid-workout’.

    This discipline is known to be one of the toughest in the fitness industry and gyms often stock a sick bucket for participants in need.

    This full body workout is ‘timed and performed at high intensity’

    So with the endorsement of celebrities, politicians and those we see as our idols and role models we seem to be ok with the sick bit going on.

    Are we concerned about our body?
    Could our body be actually telling us something if we feel sick ‘mid-workout’?
    Is the sick communication from our body saying it cannot accept this harsh ‘brutal regime’?
    What are we willing to put our body through for quick results?
    Could it be possible that this tough fitness is not needed for someone who has not bothered exercising before?
    Could it be possible that this ‘competitor’ stuff is hurting us deeply but we can’t admit it?

    Do we need to stop and pause as this discipline was ‘primarily used by military, police and fire academy trainees?
    Could it be possible that their job needs this but those of us who are not in this high intensity activity have no real need? Possible?

  20. Has anyone heard of the “ultra runners” who are racing to ‘ENLIGHTENMENT’?

    Ultra running, which is becoming one of the fastest growing sports in the world, is where competitors take part in races longer than a marathon (26 miles) and often 100 miles or more.

    The legendary Spartathalon, in Greece, is 153 miles.

    Races usually take place in some of the world’s most remote locations and scenic landscapes like the Sahara or the Rockies.

    They also take place in some not so remote or scenic locations like athletics tracks in inner cities where people can jog round and round for 24 hours.

    The reason why? To reach transcendence through exhaustion.

    We even have spiritual leaders who have believed that running was an integral part to a spiritual life.

    This plan to reach enlightenment through exhaustion is certainly not new. We have monks that run 1,000 marathons in 1,000 days.

    “The idea behind the constant movement is to exhaust the mind the body, everything, until nothing is left and you are almost dead.”
    The Week, 28th January 2017, p52

    The winner of one race ran 160 miles.

    One competitor, who recently completed the Spartathalon, when asked why he keeps doing these long races, says he can’t really explain it, but he thinks he is trying to break himself. “I suppose I’m trying to find my limit. Maybe when I find it, I’ll stop.”
    Jamie Holmes – The Week, 28th January 2017, p53

    Competitors talked of the many issues with this type of race – the many blisters, the vomiting and the hallucinations.

    Their running styles twisted and contorted because of the pain they are in.

    So what makes us want to push our bodies to such an extreme limit?

    Are we doing it for recognition?

    Are we doing it because we are so checked out and numb, exhausting our bodies will give us something to ‘Feel’?

    Is it possible that enlightenment is just awareness?

    If enlightenment is just awareness, will exhausting our minds and bodies leave us being even more unaware?

    Is it possible that it is IMPOSSIBLE to empty our minds?

    The fact that we are willing to punish our bodies to this degree in the name of a sport just goes to show how the so-called, most intelligent species on earth, is incredibly UNINTELLIGENT.

    1. What has happened when we go for extreme activities in the name of fitness like running hundreds of miles, plunging ourselves into ice cold baths, exercising with dumb-bells at the bottom of pools and sleeping in refrigerated beds?

      Does being hard something we are to celebrate?

      What is the harm we are doing to our bodies in the process?

      Is going back to primal ways of being really evolutionary for us in 2017?

      Does reading this article on Sport by Simple Living Global and then this one on Be Gentle

      give us a clue as to how lost we have become in our quest to be hard and macho?

      Have we become so desensitised and disrespectful of our bodies that we have no awareness of what is happening when we push our bodies to extremes in this way?

      Paying thousands of pounds for exercise activities and sports definitely does not support our evolution.

  21. Who can honestly keep up with all the sports we now have on earth today.

    The dictionary tells us it is about physical exertion and competition.
    Just those two things alone tells me something is not right. My simple mind which likes common sense says that means we are pushing the body and putting effort into it to physically make it perform and out perform others and we see competition as a good thing.

    But what about losing – what is that all about?
    How do we feel when we lose and are we crushing people who lose?
    How long does that winning feeling actually last and are we already thinking about our next competition?
    Is it like a drug and we just want more?

    I recently met a young guy obsessed with playing sports and he came to see me as he is physically not in great shape due to his numerous injuries. I did not mince my words and told him straight that he needs to listen to his body and consider what he is choosing to do that is very harmfull. He agreed that his love of sport took over and he was not caring for his body even after a big injury. He realised the warning signs have been there since he was 14 and all his operations since have been sports related.

    On that note, how many of us have sports related injuries and what is that cost to society on top of all the other illness and disease that we present to the medical world?

    1. Thank you Bina Pattel for sharing about this young man.

      Football clubs are paying 6 figure sums for teenagers as young as 13 to play for them.

      Your sharing about this young man is a big warning for all of us, including parents, to take note of regarding the bodily damage that occurs.

      Are 6 figure sums really worth it at the expense of our body?

  22. An article from CNN talks about “Why intense workouts are leading to a life-threatening condition.”

    A man, who regularly exercised 3 + times a week went to his first ‘Soulcycle’ spin class and gave it his all.

    Within the first 10 minutes his thighs began to hurt and feel abnormal but he powered through the pain and stuck it out until the end of the class.

    “They say go big or go home. I probably should have went home”, he says.

    For the rest of the day he felt OK, but the following night was marred by excruciating thigh pain. Unable to sleep, he searched for ‘Spin class and sore legs’ and came across an article by a woman who needed to go to hospital after a cycling class for a condition called rhabdomyolysis.

    Rhabdomyolysis is a condition that leads muscle tissue to break down and release a harmful protein into the bloodstream.

    He recognized the symptoms and went straight to the ER and was diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis. He stayed in hospital for a week.

    He was hooked up to an IV and pumped with fluids for seven days to flush out the toxins in his kidneys. He was not released until his levels of CPK (creatine phosphokinase), an enzyme that leaks into the blood when muscle tissue is damaged, were back to normal.

    An Associate Professor of medicine and interim chief of Nephrology at John Hopkins Medicine says that, “rhabdomyolysis quite literally means breakdown of muscle. When the muscle breaks down it releases myoglobin, a protein that can poison kidneys, into the bloodstream.”

    This condition is caused by any type of trauma to the muscle.

    The first description of the condition were among people who had been trapped in bombed buildings during WWll but recently, strenuous exercise has been popping up as another common culprit which is seen in people that do activities like Spinning, P90X, CrossFit, weightlifting and running.

    In rhabdomyolysis cases that are easier to treat, the patient is given fluids to rehydrate and released from hospital after a few days of monitoring.

    If the condition is really severe, the kidneys may shut down and the patient could end up on dialysis. With kidney failure comes the risk of an overload of potassium in the body, which could lead to abnormal heart rhythms and death.

    People who work out regularly, as well as those who don’t, can get rhabdomyolysis and although any type of extreme exercise can lead to the condition, Spinning is of great concern says an Associate Professor of Medicine at New York Medical college.

    “With Spinning you can burn 600 calories an hour and lose up to a litre of sweat. 600 calories is like running 6 miles, so if you are not conditioned, you wouldn’t just run 6 miles.”

    There are non-traumatic causes of rhabdomyolysis, which includes, among others, alcohol and illegal drugs like heroin, cocaine and amphetamines.

    This is obviously a very serious condition that fitness trainers must be made aware of.

    The typical mantra of many fitness trainers is ‘No pain, No gain.’

    It’s evident now, that ‘Pain’ has the potential for a life changing condition.

    What is it that drives us to look and participate in these extreme forms of exercise?

    Why do we feel the need to achieve levels of fitness that we don’t really need?

    Why are we willing to put our bodies through so much pain and abuse and even put our lives at risk?

    From a personal point, I have been in and out of gyms for over 30 years and although I have never gone down the road of doing any extreme exercise routine, I have definitely pushed myself in the belief that ‘No pain = No gain’.

    Yes, we all need to maintain an exercise routine to stay healthy but we don’t need to put our bodies into disregard to achieve that.

    Since attending the presentations of Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine, I have come to realise that I don’t need to push myself at the gym to attain a level of super fitness I don’t need for my job or even my life.

    Our bodies are very intelligent and if something doesn’t feel right it will tell us in no uncertain terms if we are pushing it too hard.

    When I exercise now it is done listening to what my body is telling me and if I feel any sort of niggle or discomfort I will reduce the weight or speed or do something else.

    Pushing past the pain barrier may give us a sense of achievement but at what cost to the body?

  23. Wow, rhabdomyolysis – I hadn’t even heard of it.

    To be honest, if anyone had told me about this in my excessive exercise days, I would have probably ignored them.

    Spinning gave me something. 3 times week at 6.30am, plus 2 sessions back to back on a Saturday (not to mention all the weights sessions, boxing and circuit classes) – spinning classes gave me something. They fed me, kept me stimulated, helped me get through the crazy working week.

    Reading your comment, Tim, it’s easy to connect now with the fact that it was a form of self abuse, though I would never have admitted it at the time.

    I took great pride in my personal trainer body and lifestyle and it did more than define my body – it defined me.

    That’s not an easy thing to give up, until you are ready to see it for what it is.

    For me, starting to notice and dislike the constant agitation in my body, is what unlocked it.

    “Why do we feel the need to achieve levels of fitness that we don’t really need?” – why indeed.

  24. What happens when ex-sporting stars lose themselves and take cocktails of drugs with alcohol doing things that they would never do with a sane mind, like walking around naked or breaking into people’s homes to steal things believing that they are a part of a game?

    Do we care?

    Have we just abandoned them as they are no longer any use to us as they are no longer in the game?

    Are we aware of the harm that we are all contributing to by advocating sport as it is today with all of its competitiveness and glamour?

    Could this be contributing to our sporting stars demise into drugs and alcohol as they are not met for who they truly are, only what they can do and the money that they can generate?

    Do we need to start asking more questions rather than just reporting sensationalist stories?

  25. An aspiring boxer went on a drink and drugs binge after losing an amateur bout in the first round. He threw himself off a balcony to his death.

    Do we put this down to that man’s propensity? Do we say it was the drugs?

    Do we look afresh at the impact of competitive sport?

  26. There is not a blog on ‘common sense’ as if there was this comment would belong there.

    Just on the train this evening reading the headlines, about a young boxer dead from the blow he received and the blame is on the medics not turning up on time.

    What struck me was they said the boxing match was an “unlicensed boxing event”.

    The point is we have one young man no longer with us on earth because of the nature of this sport.

    Is it time we started asking more questions and WHY we think it is ok to receive any blow, punch or physical harm to our body in the name of sport?

    WHY are we allowing this when we have enough studies confirming that our human frame is simply not designed to be pushed or attacked in anyway?

    WHY is sport so championed and celebrated?

    What is the REAL QUALITY of life for those who we seek to entertain us through sport?

    Are we simply demanding more and more from our sports people and they are going with it and supplying?

    Do we need to re-read this blog, join the dots and get real that something is not right?


    An article here covering the injury statistics and human stories inside rugby.

    10 to 12 premiership clubs have had 82 injuries this season combined.

    A head coach calls it a ‘crisis in the sport at the moment’.

    He expects 30% of his squad to be out injured for any given match and currently has 24 players out injured, which is nearly half. He says it’s affecting all clubs – ‘nobody’s escaping this’.

    The commentary from those interviewed makes for dour reading.

    “You struggle to get a good night’s sleep after a game on a Saturday afternoon because your ear’s hanging off or your shoulders hurt. You get to three o’clock on a Sunday and you start feeling worse. Normally Monday is the worst day for stiffness, tiredness, pain”

    “What hurts most depends which way you’ve been lying, but usually you’ll have a stiff neck or a stiff shoulder. You’re creaky in your lower limbs, but you still get going. You have to get going. Usually by Thursday you’re close to 95%. I’d never say you’re 100% fresh.”

    “The pain bonds you as a team”

    “I do think about what it will be like when I’m 50 or 60. We were laughing in the dressing room today about what our reunion in 30 years’ time will look like.”

    “It’s a harder game now than when I started. It’s physically tougher. There are more collisions, the skill level is higher, the conditioning is higher.

    “The big one you fear is a spinal injury. Everything else in your career, touch wood, whether it’s knee ligaments or shoulders, surgery and medicine are so good that they can fix that in six or nine months. Spines, brains, the neural stuff – those are the ones you don’t wish on anyone.”

    “You accept it as part of the game. If you dwell on it, it will affect you for longer, and you’ll probably expose yourself more to those sort of things. It’s like if you go on an advanced driving course and you’re told that if you’re skidding out of control and you look at the crash, you’re going to go into it, but if you look away from it you’ll be OK.”

    “The most important meeting of the week for me is the Monday morning one, when you get the assessment of what happened in the weekend’s game from your medical staff and who is likely to be available for the weekend. I’ve started dreading those meetings now.”

    “… the only time you’re not injured is your first game, and I think that’s right; there’s very rarely a day when you’re not hurt, and you just crack on.”

    “For the vast majority of injuries you can train and play. For sure there are days they can’t get out of bed, but as you warm up and the day gets longer and you get the adrenaline into your body, you can play through that.”

    “Every morning I get up, walk down the stairs and I struggle. It takes me 20 to 30 minutes to warm up my Achilles. I’m 34. I had a groin reconstruction about four or five years ago. I’ve got tendonitis in both my Achilles. I’ve got three prolapsed discs in my spine. We’ve got a new baby at home… Bending over to get into the bath is a genuine struggle. I can’t actually bend over to pick her up. And this is coming from a winger. I wasn’t a number eight who had the huge collisions and competed at the ruck.”

    “I was never worried about the future. It’s great at the time, and it’s always short-term. Can I play this week? Can I play next week? You worry about post-playing afterwards. And if you don’t have that attitude you won’t have a long career.”

    ‘A three-year medical study in France found that hookers are more likely to be injured than any other position, suffering more face, neck and knee injuries than anyone else on the team’ – “For 21 years I have been a professional player or coach, and I’m still loving it. Hookers carry quite a bit of ball; defensively you’re making more tackles, trying to catch up with the flankers. But it’s a great position to play – if my son wanted to play hooker, I certainly wouldn’t try to talk him out of it.

    “It’s a harsh reality, but very few players are playing injury free at any given point in time. Anything from a slight muscle strain to tightness in a joint to aggravation of an old injury,. Sometimes it can be difficult – if a player has a cruciate ligament repair, we’ll generally see within four or five years that they’ll have some degenerative change within the joint. A player will be managing but over time their knee will be getting sore – not acute, but regularly bothering them. It becomes a case of managing pain, but you have to avoid the quick fix of them coming to you for pain relief. That’s very rarely a good idea. All you’re doing is glossing over the underlying issue.”

    “You can’t afford to be emotionally invested in the outcome of either the team or the player’s input on the team. You need to look after the player as a human being rather than part of the team.”

    Is this like one of those pointillism impressionist paintings made up entirely of dots – if you stand close up, all you can see is a few dots, but if you step back you can see the true picture. Each individual story of injury may be ignorable, but when you put the picture together, it’s one of brutality and abuse.

    Men getting injured week after week in the name of sport – of entertainment.

  28. The level of injuries of the players in the NFL in the U.S. has always been staggering. It is well known that if you play football, you will most likely have long term physical problems.

    Many people champion their teams and the players. They treat them like heroes. But do we really care about them as people if they are entertaining us by hurting themselves?

    It is our responsibility that they are playing this game. Is it really worth it?

  29. Sport is such a big thing in our world today and are we really bothered about the players and what happens to them after they stop being our big heroes?

    If we look at what the media are saying and the ‘afterlife’ of our sporting stars, there is a strong confirmation that something is seriously wrong.

    This blog is naming a few, but we all can do our own searches and know there is a lot more going down after they have played at high levels with big audiences.

    I saw a photo of someone who won many world championships, then had a marriage breakdown and was on drink and drugs.

    Is this telling us they are human and nothing more, because if they were the superhuman we think because of what they do in their sport, how come they fail in other areas?

    Is it possible that sport for them becomes something outside of them at the expense of the inner?
    By that I mean have they sold out and left who they truly are to be something they are not?

    Are they deep down unsettled knowing that they get their hits by their fans and the game that brings them the high, but then life off the game does not quite match the high?
    Is something missing and so is this why some turn to other things to keep the buzz going, which we all know is a false quality?

  30. I had never heard of ‘exercised-induced asthma’, but it is a real and damaging illness and it is brought on by extreme sport and exercise.

    Elite athletes such as football players are prone to it because of their ‘high intensity’ breathing. The symptoms are sometimes mistaken for poor fitness.

    Experts are recommending screening for professional football players after a study has shown 3 in 10 could be affected. Observations have been made at how screening for football players currently focuses on heart problems – presumably because of the high rates of heart attacks in the sport – but not on respiratory problems, which are apparently much more common.

    It would be interesting to see what sort of questions would be asked if the experts researching exercise-induced asthma, read the Asthma blog on this website – see link –

    Would they start to consider the possibility that sport and extreme exercise are damaging to the body?

    Would they consider that such sport/exercise is degrading the ability for elite athletes to breathe their own breath?

    Would they start to highlight the dangers of extreme exercise, rather than focusing on getting players back on the pitch?

  31. Just reading on train an interview with a famous boxer who now has depression and suffered from severe mental illness.

    So here is someone who was full of fame and looked up to and today he talks about going away in a small caravan he has. Somehow it does not add up, when our sporting heroes do not end up having great lives. This blog names quite a few stories and this is a new one.

    What if we studied this man and read blogs on this website on –
    Mental Health and Depression – see links below.
    Could we get a deeper understanding of what is being presented and then join the dots?

    It seems that we have these great icons in sport that one day seem to have no quality in life because ill health has got them.

    My question is – was it worth it if this is the life we end up with?

  32. The Week – 2 December 2017 p.19

    Fans of a football club have been urged to stop calling emergency services to complain about a recent defeat.

    In a tweet the police warned that ringing 999 because the team have lost again and you aren’t sure what to do is not acceptable.

    What an utter waste of emergency services, time and resources.

    Are we so invested in Sport and who wins and loses that we have lost all sense of responsibility?

  33. Some kids from a local private school were telling me their school banned rugby so they only play football there.

    Years ago a child died during a match, when they got suffocated under a scrum, with their face pushed into the muddy pitch.

    Shouldn’t this be enough to ban the sport in every school?

  34. I walked past a group of boys playing football in the city this week. You could feel the singular focus on goal scoring and the competition between them.

    There was much pushing and shoving and pulling of shirts. Shouting orders and hard words. The movements were jerky and jarring.

    There was zero joy to feel. Zero fun.

    Is this a glimpse of what sport can do to us?

  35. I was reading about a young British boxer who died after a fight and the news story said he appeared to be in pain at the post fight interviews.

    How do we uphold safety in what we all know is a super dangerous sport called Boxing?

    How does the Boxing Association and what it champions explain the loss of a life and how many more lives are we going to lose in just this one sport?

    Can we just put it down to part of the dangers of this sport or do we need to look closely at what we are choosing to subscribe to in the name of sport?

    I know that many who know this young man and in particular close family and friends will be devastated at the loss of his life at such a young age.

    So how do they move on and do we all just accept this, as the fighter loved what he did OR could we get sensible and honest – really honest about this and any sport?

    Does this blog have some Truth in it?
    Are we ready to re-read what it is presenting?
    Are we ready to consider that sport may not be what we have made it out to be?
    Are we ready to ponder on the fact that anything that harms the human frame is not the Truth?

  36. It is marathon training season in London and there is a lot of talk about it in the office.

    One colleague shared that she factored in getting ill as part of her training programme, because that is what happens every year. And so it did this year.

    She said it is well known that the immune system hits rock bottom when you push your body that way.

    She also has a number of other ailments where different parts of her body react to the onslaught.

    We talked about how her heart is not in it and she knows it will hurt her. However, she has signed up now and has set expectations around it so she says she will go ahead anyway.

    I have done this countless times in sport and other areas of my life, so I know exactly where she is coming from. You push yourself, you override, you have set a goal, you cannot fail, you must get over the line.

    But we know inside none of that makes sense and our body will suffer. And we know in the moment, too, not just with hindsight.

    How freeing would it be to just live by what our body tells us it needs, wants or can do? And to live that in the moment, every moment.

  37. I heard on the news about another famous player in sport dying age 31 of heart failure.

    WHY is this happening?

    Our superstar players have the best so called fitness, diet, health support and everything else including money – so what is missing?

    Is it time we started with – ‘something is not right’?

    How can we lose such young people in the name of sport?

    Are we pushing them too hard beyond their natural ability?
    Are we driving them to be something they are not innately?
    Are we championing them because that’s what we want?
    Are we busy focussing on how well we will feel if they do great at the next event?

    What if our human frame is not designed to get out there and perform in this way, but we have created this as it give us something?

    What if sport is deep down dividing us inside?
    In other words, we subscribe to it but our body is not in alignment to what our mind wants and hence the tension, the battle and the separation from our inner most self.

    If we just accept another death in the name of sport and the sporting authorities tell us they will look into it – is that enough?

    Do we want this to continue or do we want real change so we get to the Truth?

    I am certain every human on this earth does want the Truth but not all of us are ready.

  38. News story about a “strapping sports nut, who played football five times a week and loved climbing, skateboarding and squash” who was paralysed from the neck down and needs round the clock assistance.

    It happened performing a flip snowboarding. He went into cardiac arrest 3 times before he could get to hospital. The spinal cord was severed and his vertebrae was shattered in his neck which required replacement from the bone in his hip. So this meant he could never walk again and breathing was via a ventilator but he does have an incredible partner and now a new baby.

    This article also mentions a rugby player who had similar injuries and was paralysed from the chest down and did not want to live with this level of disability and made the choice to end his life at the age of 23 at Dignitas in Switzerland.

    Both young men each choosing a different way to continue with life after a tragic accident.

    So what is it about our love of sport that we are willing to take a risk that could end our natural movements and change the course of our life forever?

    Could we all agree that SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT?

    Would this question alone get us asking what is it about our mind that is willing to take serious risks with our precious body – a vehicle that we have to take care of?

    What is the force that drives our mind to play sports that hurt our body or could, by the nature of the sport damage us for life?

    Is it time we started asking what is the Intelligence we are all choosing to subscribe to, that allows us to create games, that we call sports, that could leave some of us living a sub standard life?

  39. I was reading a story yesterday about a sports person who holds an Olympic gold medal but had to retire due to injury. They are now too young to have double knee surgery and had to sell a house to live in a bungalow.

    So the news story champions the victory which has given this person the fame and recognition but if we all read between the lines, the injuries are from overuse and are there because of training from the age 13.

    At what cost is this and what is the price we pay for having a gold medal?

    Is it worth it and if we could interview the body would it have something different to say than our mind?

    In the name of sport what are we willing to give up on?

    Do we give up on a REAL quality of life and suffer for the rest of our life?

    Retiring in our mid 30s may seem like a dream for many but what if it meant that our body is not in peak condition or even in a state where it can do stairs in a house?

    We all need to take stock here and at least ponder on how we view sport and what part we play in demanding the best from our players without looking at the real cost.

    If there is any harm to the physical body, can it really be the Truth?

  40. I read an article today that spoke of someone who became near fatally ill after trying to climb to the top of Mount Everest, which is the highest mountain on Earth with it’s peak at 29,029 feet.

    The person began experiencing oxygen deficiency – called hypoxia at 21,000 feet above sea level. This meant that they needed to be given additional oxygen to deal with the symptoms.

    At sea level most of us would have oxygen levels at 99/100%. Anything lower than 95% and most people would find themselves in an Accident and Emergency Department at a hospital. This person’s oxygen levels reached 21%. (Daily Mail, 5 May 2018)

    As a result they could not continue.

    I have also just seen another news report that a Hong Kong man died one day ago during his quest to climb to the top of Mount Everest.

    This is scary.

    Why do any of us have this ambition to climb Everest?

    Is this dream of climbing to the top really true if it can lead to death or even the inability to breathe?

    Is it time that we started to seriously question this?

    How much do we need to push and impose on our bodies to do this and who and what is this really for?

  41. Talking to a guy at work yesterday who did a half marathon at the weekend.

    He shared how sick he felt because of how many glucose gels and energy drinks he had. He said his body was still trying to process the sugar. He didn’t feel great, but that was to be expected.

    Apparently these sugar gels are in a small packet and you squeeze them in to your mouth while you are running. The energy drinks are in squeezy bottles so you can do the same. Everyone uses them and they have a plan for how many to have and when during a race.

    He said without the extra sugar he wouldn’t have been able to do the race in the time he did it. His body would simply have slowed down.

    He said after the race all he wanted to do was eat. Eat anything to fill himself back up.

    1. Thank you for informing us all JS with this real life comment.

      THIS IS SERIOUS and yet we champion the whole thing but not once really stop to study what on earth is going on for these people inside their body.

      Something common sense has given us all, is that our body does have its own agenda and it really knows when we do things that it does not like.

      I say it puts up with us and our behaviour and I for one was a master at trashing my body – not running a marathon but living in a way with lots of doing, doing, exhausted, crap sleep and over eating when it came to sugar.

      I knew how to push and override, way beyond my body’s natural ability and it left me with a tumour and an organ had to be removed.

      It took that huge wake up call and a lot more with the help of Universal Medicine to STOP, truly stop and take note that I cannot continue living and hurting my body.

      Back to the marathon man who did half a marathon and said how his body was processing the sugar days after. Think about it – we need the hit, the force to keep going beyond our natural state and then our organs cop it and has to deal with our ill choices, in this case sugar gels.

      What if we truly had Independent research with anecdotal evidence like this man?
      In other words, real life studies from the people and see where we go with the findings.

      Firstly, it would be a cheap option as very little funding would be needed.
      Second – the public could wake up and get more aware that without the sugar, we simply would not be able to make it to the finish line.

      It is high time that we all got real and Absolutely honest about what sport is doing to the human frame and challenge the so called intelligence that tells us it is ok.

      1. Thank you Bina and JS for starting this conversation. It is amazing what we all learn when we choose to share our life experiences with others and this website is such a great platform for real life honest discussion on subjects of importance.

        I had not heard of these glucose gels before and it is great JS that your colleague could be honest and say that he was not feeling great.

        It is clear that these gels are not truly supportive of the human body.

        Without them and the sugar from the energy drinks your colleague was honest to say that he would not have been able to complete the race in that time, so that confirms to me that our bodies do have a natural way of operating and knows exactly what it can and can’t do and how much, without stimulants.

        How would our world really look and feel if all stimulants were removed?

        1. On that question you are asking Shevon in your last sentence, I would like to ADD –

          What if stimulants are not just sugar, alcohol, caffeine, food and drugs but also TV, social media, video gaming and the list goes on and it’s all here on this website.

          I know in the past I got stimulated creating daily drama in my life and with that came stress. It stimulated me to take action with a force that would push my body beyond its natural limit and then I needed my solutions to function – phone a friend and rant, eat copious amounts of sugar, sod the cooking and eat out yet again, never do a budget or even look at my finances and just jump on the bandwagon to escape life, with the next best spiritual new age course.

          Today – I do my best not to use these outer distractions to stimulate and ra ra me inside to move.

          I am not perfect and I am forever learning, but one thing I know for sure is that if we use anything to push our body and in this case the topic of sugar gels to run a marathon, we are in serious trouble.

          I KNOW – I collapsed, had 2 blood transfusions and an organ removed. BUT it was not that straight forward. It was over 2 years and even more went wrong.

          As someone said to me yesterday – I had to build my body back at a molecular level as everything in my life collapsed. It was the biggest wake up call and 10 years on, I have a responsibility to make sure I keep sharing and expressing what I know can bring awareness to others.
          Looking back it seems unimaginable now to treat my precious body in that way.

          Thank God I have learned the lessons and moved on.


    ABC News – 31 May 2018

    The National Basketball Players Association has hired its first director of mental health and wellness to oversee a new program designed to help members with mental health issues.

    NBPA Executive Director says the union are making mental health a priority now as they have ‘heard our players.’

    Should we all be asking how players at the top of their game with the best advice on health and wellbeing, available on tap suffer with anxiety, panic attacks and battles with depression?

    What is missing for them that this happens?

    Most people would envy and want this type of lifestyle but should we be asking at what cost?

    We all know SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT and yet we all want the dream, yet we now know those like these players are not in a great place when it comes to their mind and body.

    Could it be possible that if we re-read this blog and all that it presents and then read our blog on Mental Health and then the one on Depression, we may be able to join the dots and see clearly what it is that is really happening to the human frame that gives rise to any form of mental health?

  43. Talking to a colleague today about a kids’ birthday party at the weekend – a football party.

    He felt the dads have not done their duty, because many of the kids didn’t have a clue how to play.

    He saw this as a basic thing for a parent – to teach their boys football.

    He also described one father who was goading his child to get in there and tackle the others – causing tears for the other kids on more than one occasion. The child had to be sent to time out.

    And he described his son getting hit in the face with the ball and how that is all part of it – to be expected when you play the game.

    So I’m trying to square this circle.

    An inherently aggressive and competitive sport. 6 year olds trying to figure out what is expected of them. Children who the rest of the time are expected, presumably, to be gentle and take care of each other.

    It just doesn’t make sense to me.

  44. Citizen Journalism – reporting from London Underground

    First thing – there is no day now where the London trains are not full of passengers.
    That is my experience as a regular user of this service.

    Saturday afternoon – 9 June 2018
    Noticed 3 young men with beer cans on the train.
    Note alcohol is banned by Transport for London, on this public service.

    What I observed was interesting. They were raising their voices as time went on and it got louder and louder to the point where they even got off their seats and were standing and by now shouting just to each other. All 3 had football shirts and it was clear they were off to a match.

    I once went to a football match and the turnstiles were so narrow I wonder how people fit in and move through them. Once inside it is like a big playground of lots of swearing and shouting and what I would call animal pack behaviour.

    Tension was high and the majority were fuelled with alcohol.
    Aggression was the normal behaviour with a tough image that was loud. That was my take.

    Back to the train trio – I was studying their faces, their movements and I could see right through them. They were decent guys who I would be certain would not be like this if alcohol was not on the menu. It seemed very unnatural and odd because when I first clocked them, one was inaudible and one did not say a word.

    There is something about alcohol and sport like they go together.

    I wonder what football matches would be like if there was a total ban on alcohol and other stimulants.

    Would it have the same reward factor for the fans attending the game?

    Where would all the emotions that are vented at these matches go?

    What I realise is that sport brings people together but the question is – how does it evolve us as a race of beings and next question – what is the purpose?

  45. My son had a nose bleed yesterday at school.

    I asked him what was going on at the time and he said the competition in assembly was ‘pushing down’ on him.

    They had been presenting the winners and losers of a cooking competition.

    He said he had got sucked in to it, wanting his class to win. He could feel the pressure all around and then came the nosebleed.

    When he was talking about this and how the winning and losing part felt bad to him, it reminded me of sport. The acceptable face of competition.

    We talked about how competition is currently very much part of life and how to observe and work with that, but not moving from what feels true for him.

    This makes me question again why we are teaching our kids this someone is less, someone is more stuff.

    Do we see the knock on effect it has, including on society as a whole?

    1. In response to your question here JS, I wonder if we see the real knock on effect of what competition in sport is doing to our kids.

      I know it gets us recognised and this winning losing means someone will feel crushed.

      Do any of us stop to think how the real winner feels or are we too busy in envy mode?

      From my lived experience I know for a fact that the winners do not feel great as deep down, we as humans are not designed to be in any form of competition with a fellow human.

      When my husband gave up a few competitive sports over a decade ago, he first had to get a clear understanding of what it was actually doing to him and then make a choice after. He realised there was no purpose. It served no one and winning made no difference to him on the surface but deep down he wanted it, as he said he felt a lack of self worth and this one sport, in particular gave him recognition.

      The other thing was the social aspect of it all. The boys meeting up, travelling to competitions and having boozy days away and indulging in ‘eat as much as you like’ all inclusive venues – all in the name of sport. This went on for around 20 years.

      Next – we got rid of a garage full of trophies, cups and shields.
      He then let go of sports equipment and ‘hung up his boots’ so to speak forever.

      His so called sports friends just fell away as it was simply an arrangement and not a real relationship as the glue holding it together was the sports competitions only. That was very clear.

      He has never looked back and what I know today is he does not miss it whatsoever because he now has more meaning and purpose in life, without the hidden need to get competing for adulation, identification and recognition for what he does and not who he is.

      This is a game changer – pun intended and I also know many more similar stories like this where sport and the competitive element, is no longer a focus in their life, because they feel it in their body that it is not the truth for them.


    Independent News – 22 June 2018

    Half of elite British sportspeople suffer tooth decay
    77% have gum disease

    32% reported that these conditions had affected their sporting performance

    34% said it had affected their ability to eat
    17% said it affected their smiling and self confidence
    15% said it affected their sleep

    This was the ‘most methodologically robust study to ever evaluate oral health and associated performance impacts in elite athletes. Every sport examined revealed significant levels of oral ill-health with the overall risk of tooth decay being higher for an elite athlete than the general population”.

    So is it the nutrition factor because sports is heavily reliant on frequent carbohydrates intakes?

    Is it the excess airflow in cycling and running as the study says?

    Is this telling us something – “some athletes reporting vomiting before every race, as a result of pre-competition anxiety”?

    Does it matter that there are only a few reporting being sick before a race?

    Could it be possible that we do not know the real true figure, as many will go unreported and under the radar as it has such a stigma attached to it?

    Could our elite sports people be putting the sport and the achievement and what it brings them BEFORE their own true state of health and well-being?

    Could it be possible that any gum or tooth issue is a deep rooted problem and we need to start asking more questions?

    If those who are at the top of their game and in the elite – which means superior to others, who have access to the best therapists and consultants are experiencing problems, then what exactly is this saying to us?

    Can we start with SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT?

    Is our body communicating before every game starts with the vomiting?
    Is it rejecting something?

    Is there a direct correlation with high performance sports people – the elite and rotten teeth?

    Are we just going to continue pushing people to out perform, in the name of sport, without considering the impact it is having on the human frame?

    What will it take for us to stop and realise that we are simply not naturally designed to have a body that can withstand high levels of activity?

    More to the point – what is the purpose of sport?

    Has anyone dared to question this because something is clearly not right.

    1. The Guardian – 24 August 2019

      To add to the comment above which is over a year old – this news story is telling us that British Olympic and professional athletes could be damaging their teeth by regularly using sports drinks, energy bars and gels.

      Researchers from UCL surveyed male and female athletes across 11 sports and the study concluded that elite athletes had poor oral health despite efforts to care for their teeth.

      87% regularly drank sports drinks
      70% used energy gels
      59% ate energy bars

      ALL the above are known to damage teeth because of the sugar in these products.

      Is the answer more trips to the dentist or additional fluoride use from mouthwash?
      Is reducing the intake of sports drinks going to really change anything?

      Have we stopped to consider WHY there is a need to use a drug we call sugar that stimulates us – in other words, gives us the energy we want to do what we want?

      Is our body telling us that without the drinks, gels and bars we simply would not be able to perform, let alone at an elite standard?

      At what cost?

      Was it worth it?

      Are these 2 questions something we need to all consider in the name of sport, if this is going on?

      Could it be possible our human frame can break sports records, pushing the body beyond its natural limits but it comes at a price – in other words there are consequences to the choices we are making and there is no getting away from that immutable fact?

  47. Walking through Shoreditch in London last night, the place was in a football frenzy.

    A world cup match was on, it was a balmy evening and fans were out in full force.

    You could feel the buzz. It was in people’s movements. It was in the sound coming out of the bars and around crowds on the street. It was like a hum hanging in the air, slightly itchy and disturbing.

    There was an anticipation of something going to happen. Each person playing off that feeling and feeding it back.

    A young woman I spoke to earlier in the day had told me she felt tired, but would go out and get in the buzz of the match that evening and her tiredness would go away. She said she loved all the people and the excitement of a big game with her boyfriend. Her tiredness was less important than that.

    It is easy to see why football is so popular when you have experienced that feeling. The excitement can suck you in and buzz you up if that is what you are wanting and looking for.

    There is a sense of being together in something and it is easy to forget that togetherness is in fact against a group of people on the other side.

  48. Talking to a colleague this week about football.

    He was sharing how he feels that his entire life revolves around football at the moment, particularly with the World Cup on.

    He says if he is not watching it, he is playing it and if he is not playing it, he is talking about it.

    He was uncomfortable realising how central this sport is for him and how much energy and time it takes.

    He said the best way to be would be to like football, but not care about it so much – to be able to take it or leave it.

  49. A colleague was sharing yesterday about his son’s birthday.

    They were playing football and some manoeuvre or shot didn’t go to plan and his team lost a point. The boy flew into a rage and ran inside to his room.

    It took a lot to get him out again and much was said about being a ‘good sport’.

    He could understand how the boy felt. Like he had failed. Like he was less. He conceded it is not easy to learn how to lose.

    We were talking about when we are toddlers and how everything is interesting and innocent. And then we start to play games where we are trying to be the best, or not the worst. Feeling judged. It is hard to process.

    He described the behaviour of one of his boy’s friends where they used to live and how extreme it was around winning and losing. He said he had talked to that boy and tried and work out why he was like that and then he had seen the behaviour of the father.

    Apparently, the father was aggressively competitive with his son and told him off if he made mistakes in football and praised him loads if he did ‘well’. And the extreme behaviour of the son was a direct consequence of this. Mortified and furious with himself if he made mistakes or the team lost as his Dad would be angry and disappointed. Celebrating if he scored or the team won because his Dad would be happy.

    My colleague was saying his own son is relatively unaffected if his team is losing or winning, but if it is about him losing or winning e.g. missing a shot on goal that he is taking, then the upset comes in.

    It feels like this scenario will be familiar to so many families where football or similar sports are played.

    Is it the children that need to learn how to work with this or is it the dynamic itself that needs to change?

    Sport is so much part of our culture, but the affect on our children seems like a high price to pay.

  50. Walking past a kids’ football lesson. They were young, like 6 and 7.

    The teacher was encouraging the kids to chant as they each took a turn on goal.

    They did as they were told, shouting the shooter’s name on repeat.

    It felt like they were learning the unwritten rules of the game. The behaviour that happens around it.

    Normalising chanting.

    It felt weird seeing those young kids chanting like you see the crowds do at big matches.

  51. My husband was talking to someone who has had to give up competitive cycling due to illness.

    He was saying that this sucks from a number of different angles.

    The sport helped him stay fit and keep his weight down. And it provided him with a source of conversation with others. Something to talk about. It also provided his social life because that was on tap with others who were into cycling.

    The kit and the tech around the sport provided an endless source of topics. From that foundation they could then talk about life stuff, because they had built up trust on safer subjects.

    He feels lost without it and is now looking for something to take cycling’s place. He is considering golf. A gentler sport, but with similar benefits.

    I am wondering about this side of sport – the common ground it provides; the safe source of conversation; the ‘excuse’ to meet up and connect; the bridge to talk about real stuff.

    I am wondering what it would take for us not to need that bridge.

  52. Watching someone watch mixed marshal arts on their aeroplane entertainment system. I was astounded.

    The programme showed them training and then inside a cage for the competitions, where the goal is to pummel their competitor in any way they can until knock out, submission, or by the looks of it, death.

    There were no gloves, only bandaged knuckles and there was a lot of kicking, kneeing, repeated punching in the face and strangulation.

    The faces of the competitors carried expressions of brutality and suffering. There was blood.

    Spectators clamoured outside the cage for more. From the look of the crowds, it is certainly a popular sport.

    It made me think of the olden days when elicit bare knuckle fighting was a thing.

    It looks like we have not outgrown that, only added a cage and more rules and turned it into something people watch on TV.

  53. An online discussion with the school mums about holiday clubs. A few were recommending the football ones.

    These are a full day from 8am where the kids play football ‘non-stop’.

    One of the mums said she likes these best because her son comes home tired – he ‘runs off his energy’.

    I’m wondering what this actually means – what energy are the kids running off?

    Do they really want to be playing football for 8-9 hours?

    How do they feel while they are racing around all day, and afterwards?


    BBC news story – 9 August 2018

    A famous golfer has just died of cancer aged 36.

    What is the cost of human life when we reach a career high in the world and also win on nationwide level?

    How young is this and what happens to those who are left behind, like his wife and two children?

    Do we just go around paying tributes or can we stop for once and ask some serious questions on behalf of all sporting heroes who are dying young for whatever reason?

    Does the competing in sport have something to do with their body and how it responds?

    Is there an element of sport that our body is disturbed by and no amount of wins can change that?

    What if his beautifull swing in golf was not what his body wanted or needed?

    What if we all read the blog about Cancer on this website and truly studied what is being presented?

    Could our environment play a part as scientist Mina Bissell tells us?

    Are we at the mercy of these killer dis-eases in our human frame or do we have a hand in it?

    Are we too busy going for the win or championing our players to exceed and keep winning at whatever cost?

    Do we all need to wake up and look at what is happening in the world of Sport or do we simply dismiss this, like we have done thus far as a one off case?

    This blog is a start asking many questions for us all to now consider.

    Is any harm to our precious body really worth the long-term effects that most of us are not even aware of?

  55. Watching an impromptu football match at a garden party this week.

    Within 30 minutes, 5 of the 8 children present had cried. 2 from a sense of unfairness in competition. 3 from being injured.

    When the first and oldest child got injured – kicked hard in the shin, the Dad simply said ‘run it off’. The child did just that, after a period of limping. It seemed he was used to it.

    The second injury was to a smaller boy trying hard to take on the big boys. It felt his tears were as much from a sense of failure as from physical pain.

    The third was to the smallest boy, aged 5. He dropped to the floor and was sobbing. People called for him to get back up and ‘run it off’. He stayed down. He was bleeding from the leg. This was noticed and the adults felt guilty.

    There was much camaraderie in the game and the kids did ‘look at me’, increasingly over-the-top football celebrations when they scored.

    The spectators pulled up seats to be entertained. They shouted to the boys to spur them on, celebrating the competition.

    Not one of those kids came off the ‘pitch’ settled, connected, confident inside, gentle, enriched.

    They came off agitated, buzzed up, bashed up, not able to listen, wanting sugar, competitive, with zero gentleness, and for at least one of the kids, feeling worthless.

    In fact I have never seen kids finish a football match any other way. And I am sure it is the same for adults too, though they may manage it better.

    I understand sport is an integral part of our society today – I grew up in a footballing family and I know many people who can’t get enough of it, but I look at the actual impact it has and it just doesn’t feel right.

    What we say about the benefits just doesn’t stack up with what I observe.

    For now, as a parent, I see it as my job to present what I see to my kids and let them feel for themselves what is true.

  56. Talking to a colleague today about his marathon running and the toll it takes on his body.

    After the event his body is desperate for protein. Loads of protein. He eats so much yet can’t get full.

    The next day his stomach is in a right state.

    His legs can hardly move and he is drained. He usually limps for a few days.

    We talked about the breakdown that occurs in the body and how it gets leached of all vitamins and nutrients.

    He acknowledged the madness, when you consider it from the body’s point of view.

  57. One of the school mums this week taking about football and how she got really in to it in her teens and uni years.

    She used to have a season ticket and go to all the matches.

    She said she liked the sense of belonging and the primal nature of it all.

    She liked that everyone was allowed to go mad in a ‘controlled environment’ where everyone agreed the only rules were ‘no rules’.

    So you would all head off on a Saturday knowing it would be ‘carnage’ and looking forward to that.

    And you would drink and shout and abuse the other side and stay out late and feel terrible the next day. Then recover and do it all again the next weekend.

    She said people need an outlet. Football is the perfect excuse.

  58. At the bustling London Bridge train station this evening. Football supporters everywhere.

    There must be a big match on.

    Mostly men. Mostly carrying cans of beer. Mostly shouting. Some children, dressed like Dad.

    Football chants. Arms raised in salute, as punctuation to the lyrics.

    The sound carries across the huge forecourt. Across the platforms.

    One group begins, more voices join in. They all know the words. The sound magnifies. It carries a force. Jarring, aggressive.

    It sounds like a huge crowd, standing as one. Louder than it seems possible for the number of people.

    What is behind football chanting? What end does it serve?

    It feels like ‘this feeds us something’. It feels like ‘we are untouchable’. It feels like ‘because we can, just try to stop us’.

    A police presence moves in. They board certain trains with the supporters. The tension is palpable.

    The police are on high alert. You can feel the anxiety. Shoulders held in protection. Eyes darting. Waiting for something to kick off.

    One carriage is filled with special officers heading to the ground. There are loads of them. A huge resource commitment, paid for from the public purse.

    It is clear that it is so much more than just a football match.

    What goes in to it and the ripple effect are huge.

  59. BBC News – 9 December 2018

    The Athletes Starving Themselves for Success

    Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (Red-S) is a condition that occurs where sports people restrict their diet in the belief that constant weight loss will keep improving performance, to such an extent that the body’s functions begin to shut down.

    The condition can cause a range of health problems in men and women including a drop in hormone levels which can lead to an absence of periods for women, a deterioration in bone density, a drop in metabolic rate and mental health problems. It is thought to be common in dance, athletics and cycling where being light in weight is regarded as making a difference to performance.

    One sportsperson lost one-third of their weight in one year.

    What happens when our top athletes are deliberately choosing to starve in the name of sport, even when the body is showing signs that something is not right like absence of periods?

    What gets into us and what takes over which leads to the body being negated?

    Why are we championing sport as something that is good for us if we end up behaving in this way?

    What if our penchant for sport is the cause of some of the diseases that we get?

    Is it possible that we are living in an illusion when we believe that it is helping us to be healthy?

    What if the very thing that we are encouraged to do from young is harming us?

    What if for optimum health, gentle exercise and walking is all the body needs along with adequate rest, sleep, nourishing foods and re-learning how to breath correctly?

    Is there another way to run our human body that means there is no stress, tension or pressure put onto it to perform, but instead there is natural movement that is without effort and any harm?

    Is it possible that there is another way?

  60. Independent – 5 January 2019

    The use of recreational drugs including cocaine and marijuana is ‘widespread’ among English footballers, says leading expert on drugs in sport.

    Professor Ivan Waddington, University of Chester states that football’s governing body are not taking drug testing seriously and neither are the clubs.

    Way back in 2005 research was conducted via anonymous surveys given to players who revealed that the use of drugs was commonplace.

    If we think about this it does make a lot of sense as when we consider the lifestyles that professional footballers have and the intense training they undergo, how do they get through it?

    Is it true that some are just built for it as we may conveniently think, or does an unnatural substance have to be taken to enable one to perform?

    What is it about the use of drugs in sport that we turn a blind eye to and WHY do we not want to admit how widely this is happening?

    Do we not realise that if we are dis-honest about where we are at today and what is truly going on in our world then we will never make the steps to change, no matter how much we may complain about what we see?

    Or is that the point, the longer that we deny what is going on under our nose then it means there is no need to change?

    The demand for sport especially football is very high and the European football market alone was worth €25.5 billion in 2018.

    Is it possible that so as long as there is a demand for football we will continue to have more players and more drugs to enable the game to continue, to feed the revenue, the viewers and the whole industry?

    Have we every considered that whilst the industry is growing, there could actually be human beings struggling with life on the pitch and trying to hide it all under a plethora of drug taking?

    Is it possible that our players are deeply unhappy and not only are they taking drugs to be able to perform, but also to hide what they truly feel?

  61. Talking to a mum at the school about her marathon training.

    She had done a 20mile run the day before and was suffering greatly.

    She said the whole thing is madness and her body is in terrible pain.
    She said making your body do those limited movements over and over and over is unnatural and damaging.

    We talked about why the body is in so much pain and what it is like to override that to keep running and the damage that it is doing.

    She joked about the well known ‘marathon runner’s shuffle’ that people do when their body can’t take any more.

    She cannot sit for any length of time now, without getting up in agony.

    She said she knows she can run 26 miles and wants to tick it off her life to do list, but she is dreading the rest of her training.
    Still 2 months to go.

    We talked about what it would be like to just stop.

    To share with her sponsors that the body is saying no. To share what she has learned from personal experience about the harm of marathon running.

    She said this would be amazing. But she doesn’t want to quit.

    She acknowledged that if she keeps going, she may not have a choice – her body may choose for her.

    This conversation left me seeing how much the hype around marathon running is covering up what is really going on.

    This woman’s agony is surely replicated across the country amongst those training for the marathon. But instead of sense and respect for the body prevailing, there is a butch-ness to the experience. A mindset that ‘you can do it’, ‘you can push through and prove yourself’.

    It is this mindset to which people buy-in – it is this that hooks and controls.

    Doing the marathon provides something. There is a recognition and the pull to it is huge.

    You can do it. Certainly. And you get something out of it.

    But at what cost?

    1. I had to go back and re-read this as it really is serious stuff.
      Thank you JS for sharing this real life ‘citizen journalism’ as I call it

      My first thought was here we have a mum – what is the reflection she is giving her children?

      What will they see and how will they respond or react?
      Will they end up being marathon runners and how will their body respond to that if they choose this?

      Next – the bit you mention about the agony replicated across the country…
      It got me thinking about the way we champion this stuff and how it all gets started.

      For many it is in the name of a good cause and we rally around, get the ra ra going and then its painfull days and nights, forcing and pushing the body beyond its natural limits all for that one day.

      I wonder how many regret ever saying they will do it and then have to see it through, as saying no did not feel like a choice they could have or make. That would mean failure and a lot more, so they keep going and negate what they feel – all the while the body cops it and suffers.

      I have heard of people collapsing, dying and having serious health issues because of this marathon running.

      WAS IT WORTH IT and as you say JS – At what cost?

  62. I saw a clip of a big football match and the players filing out onto the pitch.

    The sound was off. This made the movements of the players come in to clear view.

    They were braced and rigid, every one of them.

    Many playing it cool with a swagger, but all of them locked in the shoulders and back.

    Their arms did not swing, they were held like with fists clenched.

    There was no freedom to the movement, it was almost robotic, mostly hunched.

    It was amazing to see this in the players, one after the next after the next. The same thing, despite their different gait.

    There was a young child walking out too, a mascot. His movement was much freer, but you could see an early echo of the rigidity: the bracing, the hunch and side to side rocking movement.

    Do we need to ask why the movements of our football players are braced like this?
    What is it about the sport that causes this response?

    Against what are they bracing and what impact does it have on the body to put it through that?

  63. Extreme sports – why do we do it?

    Often carried out at high speed with high risk – what is it that we are hoping to gain by participating?

    Why do we push our bodies to the point of physical and mental breakdown?

    Why do we have the need to swim through icy cold water?

    What does all of this give us?

    Is it the awards and the accolades?

    Do we feel that we have some kind of superpowers when we partake in this?

    Do we class ourselves as elite just because we won the race?

    Is it worth putting up with the sickness and vomiting or are we just too focused on winning that race to care?

    Has it ever been considered whether we are truly healthy as a result of partaking in extreme sports?

    Could it really be the truth if we choose to continue even when we experience deep pain?

    Does it age us or can we honestly say that we are fit, vital, full of the JOY of living and look and feel younger than we did 10 years ago?

    How much do we have to dis-connect from our bodies to continue with our chosen sporting activity through wind, rain, savage heat and freezing cold temperatures?

    Is it time for us to truly question our world view of sport – extreme and non-extreme and whether it is actually causing our bodies great harm?

  64. Speaking with a woman in a health food shop this evening she asked me how my day had been. I responded and asked how hers was and she stated up and down. She said they had had all kinds of things go on that day including theft.

    I was surprised to hear her say theft as this was a health food store and questioned what could be stolen.

    She said that the highest product stolen was protein powders.

    The shop assistant shared that protein powders are often stolen people sell them on.

    Does this confirm that with everything it is about supply and demand?

    The people stealing the products know that there is a demand for the products and that they can make money as we are a society that is very into how we look and hence the need for protein powders to build muscle. (Sports people often use protein powder for this reason).

    We may want to point the finger at those that are stealing the products and say how bad they are and whilst we all have a responsibility to not take things that are not ours, what if there were no market then the need to steal these items would not be there?

  65. A world champion cyclist has died by suicide last week age 23 and there are many news stories currently in circulation about this.

    I was reading through to get a feel of what really went on and being very aware of how the media operate.

    An elite sports woman also studying a graduate degree.

    She had a cycling crash late last year and started to struggle with her mental health after breaking her arm and suffering with concussion.

    This was what led to her attempting suicide in January of this year.

    She openly talked about how she balanced her cycling and personal goals which she said was “like juggling with knives”.

    Without taking every word the media has to say on board, we can get a feel that something was not right as no one in their right mind would take their life at such a young age, let alone any age.

    My question is – what is it about elite sport where the body shows us signs that SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT?

    When we have an accident or some injury – could it be that our body is actually trying to communicate something to us?

    I hear of so many struggling with their physical body from excess stress due to the sport or an accident or injury.

    What happened and at what point did this very young woman give up on life?
    According to her father it was after the crash because she was not herself and felt there was no meaning to life anymore.

    Are we so geared up and focused on what we do that when something goes horribly wrong we just want to give up, like it is the end for us?

    Could the crash be a bigger message for this sports star to ‘just rest and heal’ as her father had suggested?

    Could our body be in perfect timing with what we actually need to continue with our own evolution and that may mean giving up the fan club and followers that comes with elite sports?

    These are wise questions for any sports star or even jo blogs on the street to start asking.

    We seem to have lost the plot when it comes to competition and sports and it all feels rather unhealthy and un-necessary if you ask me.

  66. Sitting at the bus stop today and speaking with a fellow passenger we got talking about his son. He was waiting for his son to take him to hospital due to a shoulder injury.

    I asked if his son played sport and he said yes football.

    He himself had played football in his home country overseas.

    We went on to speak about the crazy salaries and he said that he could not understand how someone earning say £500,000 per week as a footballer could end up bankrupt.

    Interesting comment as it does not make logical sense at all – but yet it happens all the time.

    No coincidence today, I also read a news article about a professional athlete who died in their twenties by way of suicide.

    Concerning signs had begun to show at the beginning of the year and prior to this they had disclosed how they were finding it difficult juggling the professional training and their academic studies.

    Again many of us would ask – how is this possible as this top athlete would have been deemed to have it all.

    However, have we ever considered that the all that we are striving for may be the very thing that is eroding our true health and well-being?

    Is the need to be the richest, the fastest, the greatest, the strongest, the most intelligent, the most successful and competitive etc – really worth it when we look at the end results?

    Is it time for us to stop and question how we have got to this place where so many professional athletes are ending their lives or are being diagnosed with debilitating diseases?

  67. Talking to a father today he was with 3 boys who were aged 8.

    They were coming back from playing football and he explained that the boys are a part of a football Academy – playing 4 times a week.

    He shared that some of the bigger well-known clubs sign the boys up from as young as 8 and once they are signed up to the bigger club they can no longer play for any other Academy.

    He said that the three 8 year olds with him had been playing together for four years.

    This whole situation was an eye-opener as I did not know children were playing so young with the view to becoming professional.

    I asked what the professional clubs are looking for when they see children play and he spoke about speed and skill and the art of sharing, so not hogging the ball, but passing it.

    He said it is incredible to watch some of the young boys playing and how quickly they pick things up and how skilled they are.

    However, he stated that there are a lot of fathers at the pitch side who put pressure on their sons.

    He made a point of saying that one of the three boys was his son and that there was no pressure on him to be professional, he just wanted his son to enjoy it.

    As we parted I was left with the question – I wonder how much these boys are enjoying it?

    Has anyone asked their bodies?

    What pressures do they feel on or off the pitch?

    If we are starting our children playing football with the view to becoming professional so young, is this a natural choice that they have made, or one that has been forced upon them?

    The conversation between myself and the father had begun after observing the boys for some time, I asked how old they were.

    Reflecting on why I had asked the question, it was because in watching them they seemed very involved with the whole football thing and yet so young.

    Do we involve our children in sports because it’s something to do or because we think it’s healthy for them?

    Have we considered what this level of competitiveness is doing to their bodies?

  68. The Guardian – 23 February 2019

    Breakdancing could now become an Olympic sport as it has been confirmed as 1 of 4 sports put forward to the International Olympic Committee for inclusion in the Paris 2024 Games.

    Top breakdancers have a gruelling schedule with one man sharing he trains twice a day and then heads to the gym, runs long distance and also swims.

    Seen as a competitive sport children as young as 6 are competing against each other in breaking competitions.

    In another news article the by Daily Mail on 22 February 2019 the reporter noted that breakdancers are often sponsored by energy drinks companies and can earn up to £80,000 a year and often have large social media followings.

    Have we asked – at what expense to the human body?

    Have we considered what the human body has to go through with the gruelling schedule noted above?

    Have we recorded the number of physical injuries a person experiences throughout their breaking career?

    Have we noted the psychological distress of taking part in anything competitive where we have to crush another to get ahead or where we feel a failure if we are not the best performer?

    Is this really something for us to champion?

    Is any sport which has these repercussions worth getting behind and promoting?

    I have read a number of real life news stories recently where athletes have ended their lives through suicide, after an injury, fearing that this ruined their career and so life was not worth living?

    Can we ask – is any of this investment in Sport worth it?

  69. Reading the comments on this website and blog and contemplating the issue of Sports and the Olympics – a number of questions have arisen.

    Have we considered that we may be polluting the Earth with this these activities?

    This might seem far fetched but what if we considered the following –

    Is it a natural move to get hurt and injured in the name of any activity?

    Why would this be acceptable and why do we give worldwide fame and accolades and make people celebrities because of their sporting achievements?

    Have we considered what enables us to exercise the degree of physical exertion that is needed to play any sport and whether this is truly good for the human body?

    Have we asked whether it Is natural to go into competitive mode and make our whole way of being hard so that we can be the best and beat another?

    What if this having to be the best attitude is a pollutant which is just as harmful as the physically obviously accepted things that we do to harm the earth?

    What if there is much more harm to our planet and our people through Sport?

    1. Just read your comment above Shevon about getting hurt or injured in the name of any activity.

      There was a picture in The Times last week showing the big pile up in Italy when a whole group of cyclists crashed. It was a very narrow lane which of course was never designed for hundreds of professional cyclists to go through all at once. To see them crushed because others simply could not stop at high speed is no different to a motorway pile up.

      This is a car crash and I ask – how many will see it as a message, a wake up call that SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT?

      As someone who now commits to exercise, I feel the benefits and how my fitness levels have increased over the months.

      There is not an ounce of competitiveness in me and I no longer count the lengths I swim or the minutes I choose to stay in the pool.

      What I notice is that we do feel good and I can see how some would want more or the same to get the affects. Sport like any drug can be addictive.

      I was married to someone who was big into sport and played one type of sport each day of the week but he realised it was not sustainable and simply not the truth for his body.

      He slowly gave up some of them but hung on to certain ones and it only changed when he asked questions.

      Something I recall was what one particular sport gave him as he really did excel and had heaps of trophies to confirm that fact. He came home and dismissed the medal of a big cup or engraved shield with his name on. It got to a point where the whole garage was full of them and there were over 300.

      He realised that there was something missing inside and the void was filled with sport and winning. Nothing changed and he also knew the competition aspect was to have some self worth but it just didn’t cut it.

      Today he no longer plays sports and all those friends have fallen away as the glue that kept the relationships going was the actual sport and nothing more.

      I never imagined he would ever give up sport as it was his number one priority even before his marriage. It took over his life and came with some serious consequences at the time.

      Would it be wise for us to consider why we need to play sport or watch sports and have sporting heroes?

      What is the real truth about competition and why does it exist in our world today?

  70. Whilst we pursue how to be superhuman sports men and women and as we seek out the cosmic and the paranormal (e.g mediums and clairvoyants) in sport – have we ever considered what is happening to the human frame?

    Have we considered that the mere fact that we are trying to be superhuman tells us that we are doing something that is unnatural?

    How do our bodies deal with any unnatural movements and what happens to the human body as a result?

    Could it be that all of the force and effort used to be more or to get extraterrestrial powers has consequences?

    What if the information from above that we are trying to channel in not true?

    What if the reason for some of the illnesses and sporting injuries we face are because of this?

    What if all of this striving to have extra powers so that we can achieve the impossible is all false?

    What if in truth all of this takes us away from who we truly are?

    What if there is no true connection to ourselves from any sporting activity?

    What if we have been fooled to believe that we are fit and healthy at the expense of knowing who we truly are?

  71. An article from Sky News 18th October 2019, talks about a boxer who has recently died after suffering brain injury during a boxing match a few days ago.

    The 27-year-old American was left in a critical condition after suffering a traumatic brain injury during his super-welterweight bout on Saturday.

    After being knocked out in the 10th round, he was treated on the canvas for several minutes before being removed from the ring on a stretcher and underwent surgery that night.

    On hearing the news that he was in a critical condition, his opponent wrote an emotional letter saying he had never meant for this to happen and that he had considered quitting but “I know that’s not what you would want”.

    The boxing promoter of the boxer who died says, “He chose to box, knowing the inherent risks that every fighter faces when he or she walks into a boxing ring.”

    The promoter also went on to say, “It becomes very difficult to explain away or justify the dangers of boxing at a time like this. This is not a time where edicts or pronouncements are appropriate, or the answers are readily available. It is, however, a time for a call to action. While we don’t have the answers, we certainly know many of the questions, have the means to answer them and have the opportunity to respond responsibly and accordingly and make boxing safer for all that participate.”

    This is the fourth boxing death in 2019.

    Since the Marquis of Queensberry rules were introduced in 1884, there have been approximately 500 boxers that have died in the ring or as a result of boxing.

    The promoter states that “we certainly know many of the questions, have the means to answer them and have the opportunity to respond responsibly and accordingly and make boxing safer for all that participate.”

    These words by the promoter appear to be responsible but, is it possible that, by the very nature of this so-called sport, there is nothing that can ever be done to make it safer?

    How can we make hitting someone in the head, face or body even remotely safe?

    Even if we take the death of a boxer out of the equation, the constant and continued hitting to the head a boxer would have to deal with, through training and actual fights is going to have an effect on that person.

    Surely even a minimal effect is justification enough to stop boxing?

    The boxer’s opponent wrote a letter saying that he had never meant for this to happen and I have no doubt that the majority of boxers that fight would not want to be responsible for taking another’s life but as the promoter says, every boxer gets into that ring knowing the inherent risks.

    Is it possible that the buck should stop with them?

    Who is truly responsible here?

    Is it the bodies or organisations that arrange and promote these fights?

    Is it the boxers themselves?

    Or is it us, the general public, that demand, through the guise of entertainment, the spectacle of two human beings beating the crap out of each other?

    How many more people have to die in this ‘sport’ before we start to value human life above entertainment?

    We say we love playing these dangerous sports and it is what makes us who we are but if we die in pursuing our sport, does it make any sense?

    As humans, we champion sport above many things but if we champion something that has the potential to kill us, is it possible it shows a lack of responsibility on our part?

  72. Daily Mail – 26th October 2019

    Surf and Turf – £25m Wave Machine…in Middle of the Countryside.

    An inland lake, which has taken nine years to complete, has been created in the countryside at a cost of £25 million.

    It has been created so that surfers can guarantee they will get a wave to practice their surfing skills.

    The ‘man made surf paradise’ can generate 1,000 waves an hour with the waves reaching more than 6ft in height.

    The lake is 590ft long and contains 26 million litres of water. The site will eventually include a family friendly campsite, 16,000 trees and 13.5 acres of wildflowers.

    Its creators say it is the first destination of its kind – but another is planned for London in 2023.

    A two-hour lesson for beginners costs £55.

    Yes, for some, sport is important but do we need to put that amount of money, land and resources into something that most people will never use?

    Of course, those that do surf are going to be thrilled that there is a place that can create a wave at the push of a button, but is it possible that this creation is only going to benefit a very select few?

    Considering the housing shortage at present, is it possible that this land could have been developed for something a lot more practical?

    Is it possible that life is about helping the all rather than a minority?

    Is it possible that we are so caught up in trying to fulfil our own needs we miss out on what is truly needed?

    We have always championed sport as the ‘great leveller’, the one thing that brings all walks of society together, the one thing that unites us all, but in truth, what it does bring is something far from that fact.

    Sport brings short-lived joy to the winner/s and misery and dejection to the loser/s.

    And that goes for the fans of theses sports as well and probably even more so because if someone’s team loses, or wins for that matter, there are fights between rival clubs and domestic violence increases.

    People have been seriously injured or killed because they weren’t wearing the same colours as another.

    Sport is NOT a ‘great leveller’ – at best it excites us, at worst it divides us.

  73. The title of this blog says “Understanding Sport” and I feel this is something I am asking for, as the masses are into sport and I have never understood why I have no interest since I was a child.

    I know the win lose thing in the name of competition has never settled with me.
    What I mean is the whole focus is on winning and we lose sight of everything else.

    The point of this comment was I have been observing someone training for boxing and I had no idea what goes on, why, how etc. Well in my usual style I watch, clock it and observe the movements and what is says to me is SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT.

    It’s like I can see a gentle young man go into something aggressive and the noises and puffs and punches tell me this is not natural. A huge level of fitness is required and it seems like we are pushing the body and making it do all sorts of things that many of us would not even imagine. A bit like superhuman things such as standing with one foot on a half bouncy ball and holding a bar with weights up in the air.

    Try with both feet and holding nothing and it is impossible to be steady, let alone still.

    What I have learnt is that boxing involves a lot of calculating and so the head is constantly being bombarded with what and how the next move needs to be. As we all know this has to be super fast and quick. One split second and the person could end up with a fatal blow from the opponent.

    Back to the word “understanding” – I cannot understand how anyone would want to punch a bag and keep at it and put the body in a position that is definitely not natural.

    The force required to do this repeatedly tells me that SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT because I have seen it for myself that we become something we are not in order to carry out such punches.

    I noticed an aggression coming out and yes some do think of someone they hate and use those thoughts to punch out at the rock solid heavy bag.
    On that note – the heavy bag one day becomes a human being.

    What human being in their right mind can punch another with such force and feel totally settled within themselves?

    We would never punch another outside the boxing ring or the gym and expect to get away with it, so WHY do we allow it in the name of “sport”.

    What have we created with this sport called boxing that we accept as normal?

  74. BBC News – 17th March 2020

    Reducing Brain Damage in Sport Without Losing the Thrills

    When an Olympic gold medalist was hit on the side of her head by a seemingly innocuous shoulder challenge, she suffered what was originally thought to be a concussion.

    However, headaches and other symptoms would not go away and brain scans revealed damage to her vestibular system – the part of the brain responsible for processing movement and motion.

    She said: “You know, unfortunately, injuries in sport and outside sport are a part of life.”

    From football to FORMULA 1, professional sport has become more aware of the impact it has on the brains of athletes.

    The US National Football League (NFL) has acknowledged that it concealed the dangers of concussion from players, leading to a settlement with ex-players that is expected to cost the NFL more than $1 billion over a sixty five year period.

    But damage to the brain is difficult to manage because it’s difficult to measure. Often the effects are not felt until decades after players retire.

    A consultant neurosurgeon said: “In the NFL, they’ve put strain gauges into helmets to see what impacts are sustained – and they’ve been able to see the high amount of g-force exerted onto the helmet when two big players collide at speed.”

    In a joint announcement in February, the FA (Football Association), Scottish FA and Irish FA, advised that there should be no heading in training for primary school children, or under-11 teams and below.

    A well-known English rugby captain of the 1990’s says rugby authorities are taking safety more seriously, but the biggest contribution to safety would be to play fewer games.

    He said: “I think sometimes we are still mistaking more games, for more money, more profile, and we are abdicating a little bit of responsibility about player welfare. Exactly how much can the players at the very top of the game take? How much can their bodies and their minds actually sustain?”

    The Olympic gold medalist said: “For me, the benefits of sport, both on a spiritual, mental and emotional capacity really do outweigh the potential risks of injury.”.

    There have been many people who have died in the pursuit of their sport and for those that say “they died loving the thing they do”, always seemed a bit strange to me because if you love doing something you certainly wouldn’t want to die and I’m sure the people who have died would look at it a different way. I’m also sure that the families and friends of those who have died would rather have them alive and well.

    Is it possible that the only question we all should be asking, is, if there were any serious risk of injury, brain damage or even death to ourselves, WHY would we even consider putting ourselves in harms way?

    What is it in us that we need to have this element of danger in our lives?

    Is it the recognition?

    Is it the money?

    Is it the adulation?

    Is it the thrill of the competition?

    Is it possible that, however noble our intentions are in playing a sport, the reality is that, because both players or teams are trying their hardest to win, sport can only bring out the worst in us?

  75. – 23rd April 2020

    Your Football Team Loses a Match. You May Suffer a Heart Attack

    According to research presented on EAPC Essentials 4 You, a scientific platform of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC), lost football games may trigger heart attacks in male fans.

    The study author said: “Our study shows that poor results from the local professional team coincided with more heart attacks in male residents. The findings suggest that the mental and emotional stress of defeat can provoke cardiac events.”

    The study examined the connection between performance of a football team and admissions for acute coronary syndromes. The study included 10,529 patients with acute coronary syndromes (heart attack and unstable angina) admitted to the hospital in 2007 to 2018. The average age was 66.6 years and 62% were men.

    The football team played 451 national and European matches during the study period. The day after the team lost a home game, there was a 27% rise in male admissions for acute coronary syndromes. No association was found in women.

    The study author said: “Strong emotions can induce heart attacks and our study indicates that losing a home game can affect supporters. Fans, particularly men with unhealthy lifestyles, should take up regular exercise and avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. These steps are the key to supporting your favourite team as long as you wish without damaging your own health.”

    Is it possible that the fact that we get stressed over ‘our’ football team at all shows that something is not right here?

    I am not sure if it is bordering on the ridiculous, the unacceptable or just sad that we allow ourselves to get so pent up about something that we have absolutely no control over, to the point that it gives us a heart attack.

    I have played many sports throughout my life and most of them to a fairly high standard and I would recommend anyone to take up some form of physical exercise.

    The physical activity of sport, as a fun pastime, is very good – what is not good about sport is the competition side of it.

    The competition side of it wants to win at all costs, with no care of who may get hurt along the way.

    The competition side of it drives us to excel at the expense of our bodies.

    The competition side of it wants to destroy the other player, side or team.

    Referring to the playing fields, I have often heard coaches of different sports say that we will meet the other side or team on the battlefield.

    Is it possible that the competition side of sport turns it from a fun activity into a war?

  76. – 14 June 2020

    Female Athletes Shortchange Themselves on Nutrition

    A researcher says that many female athletes lack knowledge about nutrition, which could harm their performance and put them at risk for health problems.

    The study author reviewed two decades of literature on female athletes older than 13. She said she found “A lack of general knowledge of nutrition among athletes, coaches and other sports team specialists.”

    She added: “Other factors included poor time management and food availability, disordered eating behaviours such as chronic dieting or a drive for lower body weight. Some female athletes may purposefully restrict their calorie intake for performance or aesthetic reasons, while others may unintentionally have low energy expenditure due to increased training or lack of education on how to properly fuel themselves for their sports’ demands.”

    She pointed out that the problem may be worse with particular sports and activities.

    She said: “In addition, specific sports, such as gymnastics, distance running, diving, figure skating and classical ballet emphasize a low body weight; thus, making these athletes at greater risk for inadequate calorie consumption, poor body image, disordered eating or a serious mental health disorder diagnosis of an eating disorder such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa.”

    She also warned that when nutrition doesn’t meet the needs of energy output for sports or for proper body function and growth, female athletes’ bone and reproductive health can be affected.

    She said: “Deficiencies in vitamin D, zinc, calcium, magnesium and B vitamins can occur from exercise-related stress and inadequate dietary intakes.”

    She noted that these deficiencies can have long-term effects. “Recent reports suggest that up to 42% of female athletes have insufficient vitamin D levels and up to 90% fall short of the adequate intake for calcium. These two deficiencies can increase the risk of bone stress fractures and also place these athletes at risk for osteoporosis later in life.”

    With such prominence put on the ‘winning’ of these sports competitions, the first question that may spring to mind is – why are female athletes not given the same nutritional advice as their male counterparts?

    But do we need to look a little bit deeper here?

    Although it is definitely worth consideration, the equality aspect here is not the main focus.

    Do we need to look at why these female athletes – and indeed male athletes as well – are willing to put their bodies through such rigours as to put them at risk of health problems?

    What is it about competitions that enable us to disregard our bodies in this way?

    Why does the need to ‘bring home the Gold’ drive us to the point of exhaustion and the possibility of harming our bodies for many years to come?

    This comment is by no way implying that any or all sport should not be undertaken.

    Without a doubt we all need physical activity in our lives but do we need to question what is behind our desire to train at this intensity?

  77. The Conversation – 16th July 2020
    Winning at all Costs – How Abuse in Sport Has Become Normalised

    In a moving letter on a social media site, top British gymnasts have reported that abuse in their sport is “completely normalised”. These athletes, including current Olympians and senior competitors are uniting to speak out about the physical and psychological abuse they have experienced and witnessed in their sport.

    Athletes have been sharing their stories. These include how the sport of gymnastics has for many years cultivated an “environment of fear and mental abuse” and many suggest that while welfare issues have been raised with British Gymnastics, they have not been taken seriously.

    In high-performance environments, where athletes are fine tuned to push themselves to physical and mental limits, abuse can go unnoticed or be deemed “what it takes” to reach the highest levels of performance. British gymnasts report that the abuse is so common that it is accepted by athletes, parents and coaches.

    The culture of winning and criteria for success have created a cycle that perpetuates abusive practices, portraying them as acceptable and, at times, necessary within gymnastics.

    Athletes are revered for their physical attributes, such as strength, speed and stamina, as well as their psychological strength or mental toughness to cope with the demands of elite sport. British gymnasts suggest that this relentless culture leaves athletes with little choice other than to accept that they should ignore pain, play through injuries and do whatever it takes in pursuit of success – ideas often instilled from a young age.

    When children and their families gain access to elite “expertise”, they know many others are waiting to take their place. This can encourage compliance; continued selection in these systems means accepting “how things are done”.

    Because success is so desired, when it is achieved, uncompromising coaching practices in abusive coach-athlete relationships may be re-imagined as effective coaching, with success only deemed possible because of those practices.

    For instance, there is a lot of focus on looks and weight and how having the “right” body equates to success. This has created practices, such as daily weighing, that promote harmful bodily expectations, which can crush self-esteem and promote eating disorders.

    British gymnasts have referred to the fear of “rocking the boat” and the need to remain silent to avoid deselection, resulting in athletes who are afraid to speak out because of the consequences it may have on their career.

    Even if they do gain the confidence to speak out, athletes may not be taken seriously, with their voices being censored, shutdown or ignored.

    While there is an immediate cost associated with abuse, there is also a lasting and potential lifelong impact. Many of the gymnasts reported having chronic injuries that they will never recover from due to over-use and training or competing through the pain.

    These allegations are set against a backdrop of global patterns of physical, psychological and sexual abuse in sport identified across the media and academic research. Media reportage concerning cultures of fear, intimidation and bullying in high-performance settings are increasingly common.

    Recently, a Korean triathlete took her own life as a result of the years of violence she endured as an international athlete.

    Findings consistently demonstrate the presence of abuse at all levels ranging from community through to high-performance sport.

    This article states that athletes are ‘revered for their physical attributes, but, ultimately, it is their choice to put themselves through this because of the awaiting fame and recognition that goes with this high level of sport

    It also states that athletes feel they have ‘little choice other than to accept the pain, play through injuries and do whatever it takes’ – is it possible that these athletes have more than a “little choice”?

    Is it possible that we always have a full choice in what we do?

    And what about the children that get into these sports?

    Do they even want to become a so-called ‘top athlete’?

    Is it possible that the children starting their journey into the top echelons of sport are ‘pushed’, ‘coerced’ or even ‘forced’ into the sport because of the parents desire to live vicariously through their children?

    And what about our role – the non-top athletes of the world – in all of this?

    Do we sit back and think about what it takes to get to this level or do we sit there and cheer them on and when our country or team doesn’t do well in the Olympics, other world competitions or even local competitions, we blame the trainers, the organisers or the governing sports bodies?

    Do we really care about the welfare of these athletes or do we just want the Gold medals to say our country done better than your country?

    It’s ironic that WE can say our country, or our team, won but WE haven’t done any of the training or done anything to help win the medals – all WE do is sit there in front of the TV and get very happy when WE win or get very upset, angry or even violent when WE don’t win.

    We can look to the trainers, the coaches, the sports bodies, the government or the fans for responsibility but is it possible that we, the people that play these sports at whatever level it may be, have and always have had the choice to carry on or not?

    Is it possible that it is our desire to win, to compete, to be recognised, is what drives us to carry on when our bodies and our minds are telling us not to?

  78. The news headlines are telling us about the death of a superstar.
    Famous for playing football and the world cup, dying at the age of 60.

    Are we grieving and on the bandwagon of those saying ‘football died today’ or are we going to start asking some serious questions?

    This man was born into a family of 8 children in extreme poverty.
    Professional footballer aged 15 and taking cocaine in his early 20s.
    4 decades later undergoing treatment for his cocaine habit.

    Without researching more could we say SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT back then and not 4 decades later?

    Was the brain surgery 2 weeks ago really a success as was fed to the media?
    Did it have anything to do with the thousands of headers that these famous footballers endure?

    It was reported that he suffered a heart attack because of withdrawal from his alcohol addiction?
    Other reports tell us about his drug addiction and gastric surgery because he was 75kg overweight.

    Add to that his broken relationships and children from infidelity and we have the ingredients of fame with the tragic ending.

    On a side note but relevant – known as ‘the greatest of all time – a legend and eternal’ he is remembered for the so-called ‘hand of god’ because of his movements in a world cup quarter final. The force was super human and we call this something to do with God but have we got that right or was it some other force that we are yet to find out about when history tells us these one off movements are nothing to do with God. Possible?

    If this man had the hand of god would it be wielded to the point where the alcohol addiction is mentioned until the very end news before his death? What hand of god would touch a toxic poison that harms the human frame?

    Dear World – it is time to not jump on the bandwagon of the narratives we read in the media as it could be way off the mark from the actual true truth.

    We have a legend to many and a country in mourning because a sports star has died at a very young age.

    What price do we pay for being famous and what does it come with?

    Was it worth it and is this what many of us want without seeing the whole – the bigger picture?

    It is easy to see the accolades and the victories triumph above all else, but when we look closer we see a broken man with many human life issues that no amount of fame and wealth could sort out and that is the real state of his life that we need to consider whilst grieving the loss of such a famous footballer of our time.

  79. Daily Mail – 6 December 2020

    A former professional rugby player tried to swallow 50 packets of crack cocaine and heroin after police were involved. The 27 year old was seen making a hand to hand exchange in a children’s park.

    What we know is this man was first addicted to Class A drugs and then turned to being a drug dealer to support his addiction.

    How does a child attending a so-called “prestigious Independent school for gifted boys” end up on his third prison sentence?

    What was going on in his 20s that he developed a dark addiction for Class A drugs?
    Had he not suffered the injury – would he still be playing this sport with an elite status?

    WHY does it make no sense when we hear his lawyer defending, telling the court that this man comes from a “good and stable home” and a private school education where his talent and skills allowed him to play rugby at a “very high level”?

    His career as a professional player was cut short because of severe injury to both knees.

    What this news story tells us is that nothing given to us on the outside is a guarantee of how we respond in life. In other words, no amount of private education can ensure that our child does not go down the drug road. No elite level of playing sport is going to be a passport that our life is mapped out and we are not going to end up in prison, like this man.

    What we have yet to explore and question is WHY and HOW.
    WHY did this young man turn to drugs and HOW did it happen?
    Something must have been going on for him and we do not have All the facts, as we are all too busy in the circulating of this media story without knowing everything that has taken place.

    No human in their right mind would turn to drugs and that in itself needs to be a study.
    What happens, what is entering their mind to change their thoughts that then make the movement to seek Class A drugs as an option?

    On one hand we see a professional at the top of their game and then on the other we see a drug addict. Something is not making sense and until we ask sensible and relevant questions, this news story like the millions of others just becomes something we circulate but never ever getting to the root of WHY this happened in the first place.

  80. The Guardian – 12 December 2020

    According to a new study that has gathered the largest ever data in the UK – people with a history of concussion are more than twice as likely to develop a neurological disease. Findings show a significant correlation between concussion and brain disease.

    There are now a group of around 100 retired rugby players who are suffering from some degree of neurological impairment. They are taking legal action against the sport’s governing bodies for negligence in their failure to protect them from long-term brain injuries caused by head trauma during their careers.

    Is a new app going to work and will our solutions get to the root cause of WHY we have this syndrome in the first place?

    Will specific versions of the technology to diagnose concussions at the pitch-side give us the real answers to long-term outcome?

    If we are able to pick up earlier the signs of future dementia, is this the answer and will our players, for example at the peak of their career be willing to make monumental changes and move away from the fame and recognition that comes with playing at that level?

    The goal is to preserve cognitive health and get our players off the dangerous trajectory by having preventative measures and management plans. But as we know throughout history we tend to be on the back foot with our solutions – like a post cause. In other words, we learn after the event has happened and we are not looking ahead of the game, pun intended as to what needs to be in place to ensure we never have a news story of any sports player with brain damage as a result of the impact of a hard hitting ball.

    Will our world of sport get to the point where they wake up and realise that there is a price to pay for head butting a ball or being injured with such force that it produces concussion? What does a violent and sudden shock do to the human body?

    Most of us associate big, beefy, full of muscle men on the pitch, heading balls or taking the hit, but what if the delicate connective tissue and the super fragile and tender heart of a man is jarred, disturbed and un-settled when they receive a blow on the head?

    What if repeats of this kind of knock to the head takes its toll and one day we find out game over. The end of a career and the end of fame and the end of a life that was all about the sport.

    What would common sense tell us here?
    Not sure? Ask a grandmother and get some wisdom and it will be on the lines of “time to get real, look after the one body you do have and use that common sense. Any blow to the head does something to the body, even if we are not aware or we choose to ignore it.

    The very fact we have this news story is telling us something is not right.

  81. We seem to be getting a lot more news about our world of sport that confirms something is not right for those that compete and give us the entertainment that we seek in the name of sport.

    Drugs for our elite players always seems to be on the agenda for the media to grab a story but we never go down the questioning road and ask why and how this happens. We are generally more interested in the game, the distraction and the escape it brings us and the winning of our favourite team, player or country.

    When a famous player has a car crash and is not tested for alcohol and drugs because the police would need a warrant, seems to make no sense. The reason given was he “did not appear impaired at the time of the crash” hence it would have required a warrant. Just for information – the police said he was lucky to be alive as the car hit the central reservation while driving at high speed. So it has been left as an accident as no evidence of intoxication.

    The fact the guy had to be cut from his car, broke his tibia and fibula and had open fractures tells us this was a serious accident. Even more important is that his sport requires his legs as it’s a lot of walking.

    What is worth noting is the history of this professional world player at the top of their game, so to speak, before we just accept this as bad luck thing – an accident.
    This player was recovering from back surgery and taking a break from his professional sport. It has been known that opioid medication was taken, which resulted in an addiction.
    2017 – arrested with 5 drugs in his system which got him to rehab.
    2009 – high profile crash led him to admit drug use and extra marital affairs

    Enough said. There is more but suffice to say the point in question is – does the sport playing at such a high intense level have anything to do with why this man is where he is at in his life?

    What if our body is a grand intelligence communicating to us at another level and the fact we ignore it when it does give us an injury, illness or disease, we are yet to learn what is being offered?

    Could it be possible that the back injury is the body saying “Listen up mate, what you are doing, how you are living and supporting yourself needs to be stopped. You are not in your natural state and you cannot continue.” But how easy is that choice if you are a celebrity, up there in the world with huge demands placed on your performance as a top sports player? Who is really interested in the deeper side of this sensitive man that has sold out to become something he is not, because he is struggling and no one wants to hear that. What if the back injury is the big fat sign exactly relating to what he needs to learn for his evolution?

    We could dismiss everything that has been said above or we could ponder and consider if something resonates.

    While we endorse and champion our favourite sports or jump on the bandwagon to protect this form of entertainment, we ought to seriously ask questions about the true well-being of our players. If it was natural then how come so many take drugs, burn out or have some form of ills that show up? Even more, why do some end their lives at the peak of their sporting career at such young ages?

    All worth noting as something is clearly not right.

  82. Guardian News – 1 May 2021

    A Japanese sumo wrestler dies one month after suffering a head injury.
    The sports authorities are coming under renewed pressure to provide more urgent care to injured athletes.

    The 28 year old wrestler landed on his head and was treated for spinal injury. Reports said he had complained of numbness.

    Earlier this year we have another news story – see link

    Japan’s national sport of sumo wrestling continues with the crack of two skulls colliding and no ringside doctor to consult.

    Do we need to question this sport and every sport and is it needed, necessary and how is it helping us to evolve as a race of beings? Let’s start with sumo wrestling.

    Is it true for a 22 year old to be over 25 stone in weight and be in the sumo wrestling ring with an opponent clashing his head in the name of sport’s entertainment?

    This young man demonstrated to his sumo fans the indomitable fighting needed to thrive in a brutal sport whose traditions stretch back centuries.

    Do his fans care about his health and what happens to his body when such force hits him and what may happen to him in later life if he survives the sport?

    Following this incident, the sumo association has said it would allow judges to withdraw a concussed athlete from the ring, with his opponent declared the default winner. Critics say this encourages wrestlers to fight on even when they are concussed.

    Another matter raised is whilst doctors are present at sumo tournaments, they are not positioned ringside.

    The impact of concussion in sports such as football and rugby has come under increased scrutiny after evidence revealed in 2019 that players in those sports are at a higher risk of suffering brain injury and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) – a degenerative brain condition first identified in American footballers.

    Regarding the weight and eating habits of sumo wrestlers – see this link

    The world’s heaviest sumo wrestler now retired, advises others to keep eating habits in check. When he was active in the sport he would eat 200 pieces of sushi and a crate of beer and found it impossible to refuse offers of extra bowls of rice from senior stablemates. As a result he suffered hypertension and struggled to fight off fatigue. He would lie down after eating and walking or moving were really difficult.

    “If you want to be good then you have to get big and that can come at the expense of your health.
    Japan’s national sport is anchored in tradition while other intense contact sport like rugby and American football have adopted new approaches to training and nutrition.
    There is pressure on wrestlers to get bigger and stronger but there has been no significant change in training methods or nutrition. They are doing the same exercise routines, eating the same things and living the same lifestyle as 200 years ago.

    Most wrestlers are in their late teens and early 20s in a testosterone-fuelled sport. They are fighting every day and they do not have much freedom. The pressure builds but there is no way to release it. Over eating relieves stress and gets you big. I did it myself.”
    John Gunning, a former amateur sumo wrestler who now writes about the sport in Japan.

    What is clear and obvious is that this ancient sport has no place in our modern world if we are to be honest. How can we endorse, champion or subscribe to anything that harms the human frame?

    How serious is it to know that adolescents are over eating in the name of sport and creating chronic underlying health conditions?

    Fatigue to the point where high blood pressure is a result and having trouble just moving and walking are serious factors that can no longer just be ignored and dismissed. This is real life anecdotal evidence telling us straight. So why wait for more research scientific based evidence when it is staring us in the face?

    We ought to remember something very important before we move on after reading this.

    Sport exists because we, those that like the entertainment demand it. There would be a retired industry in sumo wrestling if the public stopped going to watch them. The same could be said for any sport.

    This is basic demand and supply. We the masses demand and the players supply and get paid usually big bucks, get heaps of recognition and identification to the point where they become famous celebrity status in many cases.

    When the game is over (pun intended) as it is for all of us one day, could we ask:
    At what cost to the body?
    Was it worth it?

  83. Guardian Weekly – 11 June 2021
    Volume: 204 | Number: 25

    Tris Dixon has written a book. He is a freelance writer and confronts the damage done to boxers with his honesty. In his book, he charts the history and science of CTE.

    CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), a brain condition caused by repeated blows to the head.

    It was called “punch-drunk syndrome” and “dementia pugilistica” as neurologists struggled to explain the slurred speech, memory loss, shakes, violent mood swings, depression and other symptoms.

    TJ age 36, from the UK and now “living the dream” in Los Angeles won an Olympic bronze medal in 2008 and he was an unbeaten pro after 10 bouts when, in 2011 his fragile hands forced his retirement.

    TJ boxed between the ages of 10 and 27.
    According to his calculations, he was punched in the head “between 40,000 and 50,000 times”. He now waits anxiously for the consequences.

    He remembers being punched in the head as a 10-year-old. “I got the black flash. When I was 12, there were times sparring where I would cry because I had been hit that hard. But I got through it.

    In the European final, when I was 16, I fought this Greek guy who was knocking everyone out. He hit me so hard my legs went like jelly. I got a standing eight count and won the fight. Twenty minutes later I went on the podium, got the gold medal, and I did not have a clue where I was. I said: “Did I win?” That is pure concussion.

    A few years later, after I got hit so hard, I was in my room when my phone rang. ‘Sarah? who is Sarah? Oh, my girlfriend, now my wife. But you just think: ‘This is boxing.’
    I had 106 fights. I averaged four rounds a fight. That is 424 rounds. Let us say I got hit to the head an average seven times a round. That is 2,968 punches. If I sparred 10 times for each fight and each spar was six rounds, that is 6,360 rounds. Seven headshots every round makes 44,520 blows. It could be a little less or a little more. But 40,000 to 50,000 punches landed.”

    This methodical calculation underpins a key point that could change boxing. There should be a limit on the amount of sparring where fighters take head shots for, as Jeffries admits, “after just about every spar, as a pro, I would have a splitting headache”. He acknowledges it would be hard to regulate sparring, so the only solution is for trainers and fighters to educate themselves about the damage it does and restrict most of their training to body punching”.

    TJ highlights medical evidence that proves that punches to the head of a child under 14, when the brain is still developing, are especially dangerous. “I was punched in the head 4,000 times by the time I was 12. You do not have to be a genius to think that is not good for the brain.”

    Does Dixon feel that boxing may examine the damage it causes fighters who generate billions of dollars for wayward governing bodies, promoters and managers? It is time to find out who cares.

    He suggests they learn about CTE, tau protein and links with Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s and ALS – amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

    “If they want what is best for the fighters, then regulate how much sparring they do and have open conversations with boxers as to how they feel after sparring. It is also down to the fighters to not be so macho. Fighters and trainers need to know what is going on with their brains.”

    After reading about the NFL’s concussion crisis, League of Denial about NFL’s concussion crisis, Dixon read about the erratic behaviour of MW who won four Super Bowls in the 1970s. He fell in hard times and ended up living in his car. It was then Dixon realised that CTE is actually punch-drunk syndrome.

    “I had been in boxing 25 years and I did not know about CTE, tau protein and things that should be a staple”.

    In 1928, the American doctor Harrison Martland wrote a paper called Punch Drunk. It was a groundbreaking study but Martland argued wrongly that punch-drunk syndrome only affected mediocre boxers. All great fighters had their senses obliterated by boxing.

    The stigma remains that punch-drunk syndrome happened to guys who aren’t very good.

    Leon Spinks was a slurred wreck before his death in February.

    The fighters I have met who do not have these women to look after them, to feed or clothe them, end up homeless and suicidal.

    “I took care of everything,” says Frankie Pryor, of her 30 years with Aaron, “I did not understand the damage was caused solely by boxing until he started showing anger. Aaron was so easy-going until then. I started taking him to a neurologist around 1994. At that point we did not know it was CTE. Initially it was just front temporal lobe damage, but he never stopped going to a neurologist until he died. A neurologist said: “This is the only Hall of Fame fighter I will ever work with and we need more proof to confirm what we believe.”

    YES – there was sufficient proof Pryor had been brain-damaged by boxing.
    “You see that damage in every old fighter – without exception. I noticed all the fighters acting the same when we got together. His wife would go to the restroom and that fighter would get confused.

    Boxing is a mess and that is why I have no hope this will ever get solved unless there is one central governing body”. Frankie Pryor

    Only hope is to educate a new generation of fighters and trainers, she says.

    “He chose boxing before I met him. He came out of a desperately troubled childhood”.

    Ali spoke of “the black lights” a fighter sees when hit by a concussive blow.

    Biggest fighter brain study in the world. They study fighters’ brains over a long period.

    They told me I have a big split in my membrane which attaches the brain to the skull. That is after being punched in the head.

    Dr Goodman from a neurological perspective says “it is pretty simple – 99% brain damage comes from sparring. Too many fighters go into a fight with concussion, or mild concussive symptoms. So much brain trauma is based on sub-concussive blows.

    Will educating trainers and fighters curb the damage?

    Will avoiding performance enhancing drugs do it?

    Will avoiding alcohol consumption because “it can rot the fighters brain” be the answer?

    Will we stop damage and eating disorders if we get fighters to only fight at their right weight?

    Will educating trainers and fighters on the dangers of CTE be the solution going forward?

    “Fighters are intelligent it is silly for them not to take responsibility for their wellbeing. They have the knowledge to say no to a fight or sparring. Taking that responsibility is the most important way we can change boxing.” Says Dr. Goodman.

    Dear World

    Here we have a news story spelling out some real life stories and facts.

    How much longer are we going to turn to solutions instead of going to the root cause?

    WHY and HOW have we got to this point in the name of a sport, where the players live the consequences of repeated blows to the head and body?

    What is the intelligence behind the face of the human that drives anyone to endorse or foster anything that harms the human frame?

    Time we started to ask some serious questions, not only about boxing but everything in our world that is not right, which creates some form of harm.

  84. A football player has a cardiac arrest and collapses on the pitch, during the match.

    The team doctors mainly treat other injuries and find it difficult to recognise sudden cardiac death. In this case, a doctor watching the match, stepped in and the player was given electric shocks with a heart massage.

    When the player regained consciousness, he said he was only 29 years old. He remains in hospital and will be fitted with a heart regulating device, called an ICD (Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator). It is placed under the skin connected to the heart with thin wires and sends electrical pulses to regulate abnormal heart rhythms.

    It may not be the end of a football career because it is known another player returned to football after being fitted with a heart starter.

    This is not new news as we have heard of many elite players having heart failure at a young age.

    So what is it that causes a disturbance in the heart of a top league player in their prime?

    They have the so-called best body and fitness, latest nutrition and supplements, the endless stream of money to spend on top training, physio and anything else they want to optimise their game playing.

    Is something missing?
    Have we asked enough questions or are we too caught up in our favourite team or country winning and we have never considered the heart health of the players?

    We could start by saying SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT, if a so-called super fit athlete has a cardiac arrest on the field during a match.

    Have we got our definitions correct about the words relating to fitness, because these guys are the best, so we say as they are at the top of their game and training almost and if not every single day, watching what they eat and having the body most of us seem to want?

    Is it natural to push the body past its limit in the name of sport, which is all about competition?

    Do our players get caught in the fame and recognition and forget they all have a deeply precious and sensitive heart that needs a gentle approach in every way, if we are to maximise its health?

    Is this fluffy talk or could this hold some meaning if we would for one moment consider and explore this further?

    Our human heart is responsive to even the slight disturbance. Ignore the small signs and boom – one day we will have some notable disturbance that will require the medics to intervene.

    What if the quality of our heart needs to be open and receptive and that means we need to let people into our hearts and equally let that love we hold inside pour out? But how many of us can do that and how many of us are living guarded and protected when it comes to heart matters because of our undealt with past hurts and issues?

    What if the very essence of sport does not allow for an open heart to be fostered or nurtured and so we end up with a player suffering a heart attack with the crowd watching?

    What if we will see more of this happening over the next few years and even decades? Will we then question it or will our need for sport and what it gives us, be the driving factor and so we will not be the ones wondering how and why this is happening to more and more players?

    What if, one day in the future, when the author and founder of this website is long gone, these types of articles and comments published back in the early 2020s, will be the study of human behaviour and the direct correlation to the human body?

    What if the scholars of the future will go to websites like this to find the answers that we are not all choosing to seek right now?

    Most of us do know and we are aware that a young player, super fit does not just have a heart attack. There has to be more going on under the radar, so to speak and unless we start up conversations and are willing to go there, we can be certain more will happen. How else will we learn and evolve?

  85. We have a national newspaper reporting a story about the country’s “most successful Olympians” because they won 2 gold medals and a silver.

    When an elite athlete speaks to the public to say it is a ‘tough existence’ we ought to find out more…

    She talks about the nausea and the anxiety and having to ‘trot off for a wee because of the anxiety’. The training is so disciplined and focused that nothing else matters.

    She left her professional career after almost 3 decades and at the time was reigning world champion.

    The pressure and anxiety were overwhelming, in addition to the ‘self-sacrifice’ and endless quest for physical excellence.

    At the end, this athlete describes her state of being as “fragile psyche”.

    WHY are we not questioning how come a top sports star, top of their game and world champion says “I was always full of self doubt”?

    She never felt enough, was not self confident, very self critical and had high expectations of herself. The drive to push and push more was how she lived her life. Of course it came to a stop and following an incident where she judged herself as a failure for not completing a challenge that her body was clearly not able to do, she was diagnosed with severe depression. At the same time her marriage ended.

    She was prescribed anti-depressants, tranquillisers and sleeping tablets but did not think they were helping, so she stopped taking them. She then fantasised about taking her own life.

    She said her psychiatrist fixed her issues.

    She has shaken off her shackles by adorning tattoos over her body and she just wants ‘more more more’ tattoos.

    So here we have another sports celebrity talking about the state of their mental health.

    It would be worth tracking how things turn out in later life for many of our famous, elite and high profile sports stars.

    Not only are they at the top of their game with everything this world would say ‘money can buy’ and what the fame can bring. They have thee best support systems in place like dieticians, nutritionists, physio therapists, doctors and anything else they want to ensure that they stay at the top as we, yes we, the public want that.

    In other words we make the demand to push them to new records that are super human and out of this world and somehow they deliver but at what cost?

    Have we looked deep into the eyes of a broken elite sports star that is no longer at the top because their life has changed due to the harsh and force-full sport that owns them? They hand their life over for decades and we find in most cases some ill health causes the stop.

    How can we learn from this story, or do we simply accept it as part of life’s normal because that is what it has now become for the majority of us?

    We see the issues these top performers suffer with and we turn a blind eye as it suits us and never question why and how this happens and is it worth it.

  86. A former professional footballer talks about his short career.

    “I was starting to get tired of professional football: the commitment to nutrition, making sure I was in peak physical condition, being away from home, sitting on a coach for hours to play away games and staying in hotels and the isolation that came with it all. It was starting to get harder – physically and mentally.

    It is harsh, but by the time you are 22 or 23 in football, you know how far you are going to go. If you are not a superstar by then, you are probably going to decline until you are 30, then end up doing not very much at all.”

    For this footballer he switched careers but the point of this comment is what has been said in his own words.

    Those that envy the stardom and the celebrity status that goes with being a professional footballer may not be aware of what this guy is spelling out to us. The reality is not perhaps as great as the recognition and reward we are wanting it to be.

    To force the body to maintain ‘physical peak condition’ and commit to a strict nutrition regime, which is what footballers do may not be easy. Away from home and travelling and living in hotels has isolation as he says and this affects us mentally without a doubt. To know that by your early 20s that there is no guarantee that you will end up a superstar but actually not amount to much thereafter is not what the majority would want to hear.

    Have we got any clue what loneliness is like and how many in our world suffer with this illness? It is not our natural state to be isolated and having feeling of loneliness and yet it exists for so many. This guy like his mates on the pitch have millions of followers and yet they claim they have loneliness.

    At what cost and is it worth it?
    These are important questions to consider.

    Most of us are not interested in news stories that may have an element of honesty or truth being presented as it disturbs us. But what if we all need a real dose of reality to wake up and realise things are not always what we want them to be or fantasise that they are? Is this real life story one such example for us to ponder on.

  87. The Times – 13th November 2021

    Dying for the World Cup

    Many migrant workers building stadiums in Qatar for next year’s tournament are returning home with chronic kidney disease.

    One worker, who left home for the Gulf three years ago, was promised £220 a month and reasonable working conditions to work as a carpenter on one of the stadiums.

    He is now on kidney dialysis sessions and afterwards he’d be so exhausted that he’d barely be able to stand. He had a high risk of having a heart attack or stroke, and an average life expectancy of between five and ten years. He was 24.

    Tens of thousands of migrant labourers have built the venues, hotels and infrastructure for next year’s tournament over a decade. Today, a silent plaque of suffering among them can be revealed – in the plight of like the person above – whose lives will be cut short by life-changing kidney damage that doctors say is likely to be linked to working conditions they experienced in Qatar.

    In interviews, more than a dozen doctors and public health experts – most of them in Nepal – said that, based on their interactions with patients, significant numbers of healthy young men were leaving home to work in the Gulf and returning with kidney diseases so severe that they required either transplants or dialysis. Each doctor said that they saw new cases every month some as many as ten a week – and many said they believed that the problem was becoming increasingly acute.

    In Qatar, the workers were forced to work all day in temperatures that can soar to over 45C. One worker said it was so hot, they used to pour water into their shoes so that their feet didn’t burn.

    The unbearable heat persuaded the organisers to move the tournament from July 2022 to the end of November. Players, it was felt, wouldn’t be able to compete for 90 minutes in such temperatures, and fans would be uncomfortable.

    For the workers, however, it was apparently acceptable.

    The worker said he worked all summer in direct sunlight with insufficient water, a clear contravention of Qatari labour regulations, which stipulate that no one should work between 10am and 3.30pm from the beginning of June to the middle of September.

    Some days he worked 12 hour shifts, and on others his supervisor would push his team to keep going for more than 20 hours, with only a few short breaks.

    In the heat, drinking water quickly ran out, and the workers would sometimes have to wait for it to be replenished. They had to ask to use the lavatory, and permission was at times denied if there was a lot of work to do.

    Since the World Cup was awarded to the state in 2010 more than 6,500 migrant workers from Nepal, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have died in Qatar.

    A doctor at the department of Nephrology and transplant medicine in Kathmandu who treated a worker was the lead author on a study that found an increased incidence of chronic kidney disease (CKD) among migrant workers in Nepal.

    Doctors say that working long hours in hot weather with little water, no rest and few bathroom breaks, as well as a lack of medical checkups, can create a high-risk environment for its development.

    If enough time passes without medical intervention, the damage can become irreversible – and CKD is diagnosed. At this stage, dialysis or transplant are the only options.

    In 2010, Qatar was awarded the hosting of the football World Cup tournament. Since then, the human rights issues have been under scrutiny. The tournament is being played in 2022.

    In recent weeks, there have been a lot of news stories highlighting the human rights issues in Qatar from national football teams wearing T-Shirts in protest against Qatar’s human rights record and a well-known Formula 1 driver calling for Qatar to be scrutinised over human rights issues.

    There is another story of a very famous footballer who is being paid £150 million to be an Ambassador for the World Cup and is being urged to speak out about the human rights issues.

    A spokesperson for this footballer told BBC Sport “He has been visiting Qatar regularly for over a decade and went on to play for (Qatar owned) PSG – so he has seen the passion for football in the country and the long-term commitment that’s been made to hosting the World Cup and delivering a lasting legacy for the region.”

    when FIFA, the football governing body, picked Qatar as the first Middle Eastern country to host the men’s football World Cup in 2022, some considered it a bold gamble. Others, including the former FIFA president, thought it was a mistake.

    Apart from allegations of bribery during the bidding process, there have been serious concerns raised about human rights, with particular focus on the migrant workings building the stadium.

    No expense has been spared by Qatar, one of the richest countries in the world, to deliver this tournament.

    At the last World Cup in 2018, hosted by Russia, the total cost was a US $14 billion. The early estimates, even in 2010, of the total cost for Qatar were in the region of US $65 billion but more recent reports have put that figure closer to US $300 billion.

    For Qatar, it has never been about the money as the primary gains for the country are non-commercial, with international relations at their heart and an opportunity to introduce itself to billions of people across the world.

    This has led to accusations of “sportswashing” which is a way of using sporting events to seek legitimacy or improving reputations.

    It is well known that during the last World Cup, there were record revenues of $6.4 billion made from one organisation.

    Apparently, human rights issues have been around for a very long time in Qatar.

    Why did it take the awarding of a football tournament to have the sort of scrutiny that should have been there a long time ago?

    Are we saying that human rights issues are not worth discussing unless a major sporting event is taking place in that country?

    Are we saying that human rights issues are only worth looking at if people with money are coming to visit their country?

    Is it possible that a stronger statement would be to NOT go to Qatar in the first place and boycott any competitions that this country would host?

    Many workers are going home with a debilitating illness that will cut their life by several years because we want a football game to be played out on the world stage.

    Where is our responsibility in all of this?

    Is a football game, one that will be all over after a couple of weeks, worth the price of just one person having their life cut short?

    It would be very easy to blame the Qatari government and the companies that have been tasked with building all the stadium required to host this competition, with their working practices and indifference to human life, but we, the people that live on this planet, are the ones that are calling for this spectacle of seeing countries compete on a world stage.

  88. Tampa Bay Times – 16 December 2021

    Former professional American football player (who died at 38) had stage 2 CTE.

    What is CTE?

    According to Boston University CTE Center – Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy – is a degenerative brain disease found in athletes, military veterans and others with a history of repetitive brain trauma.

    CTE is caused in part by repeated traumatic brain injuries, which include concussions and nonconcussive impacts.

    In CTE, experts believe a structural protein in neurons called tau misfolds and malfunctions, causing adjacent proteins to misfold, and sets off a chain reaction where the malfunctioning tau slowly spreads throughout the brain, killing brain cells.

    Right now, CTE can only be definitively diagnosed by autopsy after death.

    CTE has been diagnosed in people who died as young as 17. Symptoms do not generally begin appearing until years after the onset of head impacts.

    CTE was first described in 1928 when a doctor characterised a group of boxers as having “punch drunk syndrome”. Over the next 75 years, several researchers reported similar findings in boxers and victims of brain trauma, but fewer than 50 cases were confirmed.

    In 2005, a pathologist published the first evidence of CTE in an American football player which caught the attention of CLF (Concussion Legacy Foundation) co-founder – who envisioned the worlds’ first athlete brain bank.

    He began reaching out to the families of former NFL (National Football League) players and other athletes who had recently passed away to arrange brain donations.

    He and another doctor soon founded the CLF and partnered with Boston University and the US Department of Veterans Affairs to form the Unite Brain Bank, which has now studied the brains of more than 1,300 athletes and veterans.

    Symptoms of CTE

    Mood and behaviour symptoms

    Among individuals diagnosed with CTE, some report mood and behaviour symptoms that can appear as early as the patient’s 20’s. Disorders reported include:

    • Impulse control problems
    • Aggression
    • Mood swings
    • Depression
    • Paranoia
    • Anxiety

    Cognitive symptoms

    Most patients with CTE eventually experience progressive disorders of thinking and memory, including problems with:

    • Executive function
    • Impaired judgment
    • Short-term memory
    • Dementia

    Progressive cognitive symptoms related to CTE tend to appear later in life, sometimes in midlife, but more frequently in a patient’s 60’s or 70’s. Patients may exhibit one or both symptom clusters. In some cases, symptoms worsen with time. In other cases, symptoms may be stable for years before worsening.

    The causal relationship was explored thoroughly in the 2022 article – Applying the Bradford Hill Criteria for Causation to Repetitive Head Impacts and CTE – published in Frontiers in Neurology. The article was authored by the CLF’s founders and 11 other collaborators around the world.

    The authors concluded with the highest confidence that repetitive head impacts (RHI) are the definitive cause of CTE.

    In October 2022, The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH), formally acknowledged publicly that CTE is caused by repetitive traumatic brain injuries, after CLF sent a letter co-signed by 41 of the world’s top experts on CTE and related areas of science, urging them to review the current evidence outlined in the Bradford Hill article.

    The NINDS joined the UC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in recognising CTE is caused by repeated traumatic brain injuries.

    Another report shows that almost every person diagnosed with CTE has one thing in common: a history of repetitive hits to the head. CTE is most frequently found in contact sport athletes and military veterans. CTE has been found in individuals whose primary exposure to head impacts was through:

    • Tackle football – 700+ cases confirmed
    • Military – 66+ cases
    • Hockey – 45+ cases
    • Boxing – 30+ cases, 50+ globally
    • Rugby – 18+ cases
    • Soccer – 24+ cases
    • Amateur wrestling – 15+ cases and
    • In fewer than 3 cases each, baseball, basketball, intimate partner violence and individuals with developmental disorders who engaged in head banging behaviours.

    Proposed Clinic Classifications

    Although the CTE clinical phenotype is yet to be clearly defined, there are proposed clinical classifications:

    • Stage I – Asymptomatic or mild memory and depressive symptoms
    • Stage II – Symptoms include behavioural outbursts and severe depression
    • Stage III – Cognitive deficits including memory loss and executive dysfunction
    • Stage IV – Advance language deficits, psychotic symptoms, profound cognitive deficits, and motor features.

    CTE clinical presentations were divided into three domains: behavioural/psychiatric, cognitive, and motor.

    The behavioural psychiatric domain included aggression, depression, apathy, impulsivity, delusions including paranoia and suicidality.

    The cognitive domain included diminished attention, and concentration, memory deficits, executive functioning deficits, visuospatial dysfunction, language deficits and dementia.

    The motor domain features consisted of dysarthria, gait abnormalities, ataxia and incoordination, spasticity, and parkinsonism features such as tremors.

    Returning to the article of the professional football player who died, one of the co-founders of CLF said: “I hope current and former NFL players see this as a wake-up call and get off the sideline in the fight against CTE. If a four-time Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee who never had a diagnosed concussion can lose his fight against CTE at just 38, it can happen to anyone.”

  89. American Association for the Advancement of Science – 11 April 2022

    Fighters who rapidly cut weight before boxing and mixed martial arts (MMA) are at a higher risk of suffering concussions or being mis-diagnosed with head trauma – ground breaking study reveals for the first time.

    60% of athletes in combat sports like boxing and MMA revealed symptoms were worse after dehydrating themselves to make stringent weight classes before contests.

    These controversial techniques see competitors stop drinking water and endure long periods in saunas to rapidly drop weight.

    40% higher concussion severity reported by athletes compared to other sports, particularly boxing, which is due to the mix of striking and contact with the ground.

    The study by academics from 3 UK universities comes after a list of tragedies linked to weight cuts with some athletes dying in the attempt to achieve a perceived competitive edge, by competing in a smaller weight class.

    This study has probed into the neurological implications of rapid weight loss and researchers have called on governing bodies to check fighters’ hydration levels before fights.

    “Not only is cutting weight through dehydration in and of itself dangerous, but it might actually exacerbate concussion symptoms and even more concerning, medical professionals may actually mis-diagnose it”. Researcher Nasir Uddin from St. Mary’s University.

    65% of the fighters had an experience of a weight cut “not going to plan”, suffering a lack of energy, strength, power, co-ordination or increased susceptibility to being ‘rocked’ during a bout.

    This means the dangerous practice may not after all offer a competitive advantage.

    Dear World

    Time to listen up – something is seriously not right with the way we are endorsing sport and allowing this type of stuff to continue. It has been going on for a very long time and we do know that.

    All this is telling us is it is out in the open. We have a first study of its kind and that means we get to know and be aware. Once we have this awareness we can no longer ignore it.

    For those that suffer or do not make it, we ought to be asking on behalf of them to all new athletes and those that love the sport – is it worth it and at what cost?

  90. ESPN NFL News – 1 July 2022

    One of the most high profile people in recent months to die from Fentanyl is a native of Louisiana. He was a NFL linebacker. He died on June 21st at the age of 26 leaving 3 children under the age of 5.

    He died from the combined effects of fentanyl and cocaine, according to medical examiners.

    It was revealed that his family recently survived a house fire and he desperately tried to put out the fire in order to save his children’s possessions and his own toes were burned in the process.

    What is going on for our elite athletes at such a young age?
    What are the pressures they are under in the name of Sport?
    What is the future of 3 children under age 5 and their mother?
    What makes a young boy from Louisiana move to another state for a sporting career?

    As humans we do not just wake up and take drugs. Something happens, something is triggered inside us and we use drugs to self-medicate. We all know this.

    No amount of a top position in NFL or another sport is going to bring about true health and wellbeing regardless of the thousands or millions these superstars are worth on the pitch, so to speak, if something is unresolved or buried. In other words, they have issues of some kind that have not been addressed.

    Something is seriously wrong when a supposedly super fit young guy is taking cocaine and fentanyl, which is so potent it will kill and it did in this tragic case.

    At the height of his career, how is this possible and WHY?

    There are many questions left UN-answered and unless we start now by leaving no stone unturned, then chances are we will start to see a meteoric rise in more sports stars being killed by lethal drugs like fentanyl.

  91. UPI Health News – 14 July 2022

    A new study reports a significant increase in traumatic brain injuries among children using sports and recreational equipment.

    There has been a substantial increase among girls, especially high-schoolers.

    The study was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

    Traumatic brain injury is the leading cause of death and disability in children up to age 4 and between 15 and 19 years old.

    308,000 average annual cases in the United States.Such accidents have become frequent among school-aged children participating in sports and playground activities that involve equipment, such as bicycling, football, basketball and soccer.

  92. The Guardian – 19 July 2022

    This is the news story of an International Rugby player who has revealed that he once had “no recollection of having kids” shortly after a blow to the head during a game.

    He has admitted that whilst this incident “scared the life out of me” he still “buries (his) head in the sand” over concussion fears.

    This has come after a former rugby captain has been diagnosed with early onset dementia – see link below for the full news story

    In December 2021, this man aged 41 received the diagnosis of CTE – Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. He said he was diagnosed with depression after he retired in 2015 but began to have short-term memory problems. He now feel like his world is falling apart even though he says “I lived 15 years of my life like a superhero and I am not”. His doctors told him it was one of the worst cases they had ever seen.

    He believes the sport needs to do more to help take preventative measures. “Rugby Union is walking headlong with its eyes closed into a catastrophic situation” he says.

    Elite rugby union player’s risk of developing CTE rocketed from the mid-1990s when the sport became a full time professional pursuit.

    It is now established that soccer has more former players living with dementia than it should have.

    “They sweep it under the carpet, ignore it. It is just deny, deny, deny until you die. I can’t wait till they find CTE in the brain of an All Black. Then the shit will hit the fan.” Says Geoff Old – former All Black rugby player from New Zealand. see link below

    Dear World

    If we simply join the dots – do we need to wait for more research studies to tell us that repeatedly hard hitting blows to the head will have an impact?

    How many more real life cases do we need to wake up and realise the truth of what is actually happening and the devastating effects on the lives of these once famous and popular sports stars?

    Social media started a support group with 40 members of those caring for CTE players and today it has over 800. Do we need more ‘evidence’ Dear World that something is seriously not right ?

  93. UPI Health News – 17 August 2022

    Professional athletes are turning to intravenous (IV) nutritional drips to alleviate fatigue and speed recovery, despite the potential risks and without solid proof of any real benefit.

    There are only 2 studies and both are inconclusive on whether vitamin injections have any benefit for otherwise healthy individuals. Neither have tracked the long-term effects, good or bad that a regular use of drips might have on healthy athletes.

    Needle-inserted drips are reserved for treating a serious illness, like anaemia or in an emergency situation such as severe dehydration.

    They are banned in the Olympics unless an exemption is granted for medical necessity.
    The World Anti-Doping Agency limits IV transfusions over 100 ml.

    However, not all sports leagues have such restrictions. As a result, there has been a rise of pre or post-game “IV drip bars” in which sports doctors or nurses pump B and C vitamins, amino acids and/or electrolytes into athletes seeking a competitive edge.

    “There is no clear evidence that this works. And on the contrary, there may be negative effects. By doing this, athletes are putting themselves at risk of an infection; there are also unknown negative effects of pushing nutrients in their bodies to a very high, supra-physiological levels; and the risk of violating an anti-doping test.”
    Charles Pedlar – Author of the Study
    Professor of Applied Sports and Exercise – St. Mary’s University, London.

    The authors who variously work in professional athletic training centres, hospitals and universities, noted there is plenty of anecdotal evidence suggesting that IV nutritional drips have become routine in the sports world.

    “Companies are offering this service directly to athletes promising some kind of positive outcome, such as enhanced hydration status and faster recovery,” Pedlar said.

    Dear World

    We are generally not interested in anecdotal evidence but this study was conducted by those that are connected to real life and this cannot be negated or ignored.

    We know that something is not right in any sport if we are pushing the body past its natural state. Many would no doubt disagree or totally dismiss this because our relationship with sport is that we want something from it. We claim to love the sport and all that goes with it but if there is any harm to another human being, can it then be the real truth?

    Can we have studies that track our elite athletes in all their movements and clock their behaviours, lifestyle and how their actual body is operating when not playing?

    Then can we examine how they are in relationships and how their moods are and vitality levels every day?

    What are we doing to the human frame in the name of sport and will we all be left with these two questions one day?…

    At what cost?
    Was it worth it?

  94. Channel News Asia – 4 October 2022

    Jakarta, Indonesia – 125 people died and 323 injured at a football stadium during a clash between supporters. 2 police officers and 32 others died inside the stadium. The rest died in hospital. Some of the victims had sustained brain injuries.

    Angry fans invaded the pitch and police responded with tear gas that triggered a stampede.

    The tragedy was one of the world’s deadliest sporting stadium disasters.

    The stadium was filled beyond capacity – 42,000 tickets had been issued for a stadium that can hold 38,000 people.

    It was said that supporters from the losing team invaded the pitch. Police officers were attacked and cars were damaged outside. The crush occurred when fans fled for an exit gate.

    All games in the Indonesian top league have been suspended, until an investigation is completed.

  95. UPI Health News – 9 December 2022

    Retired football players more likely to report age-related diseases

    A new study suggests that former elite football players may age faster than their more average peers.

    NFL (National Football League) players, especially linemen, had fewer disease-free years and earlier high blood pressure and diabetes diagnoses. Two age-related diseases, arthritis and dementia, were also commonly found in former football players than in other men of the same age.

    The research was part of the ongoing Football Players Health Study at Harvard University.

    The senior investigator, Rachel Grashow – Director of Epidemiological Research Initiatives for the Football Players Health Study, said: “We wanted to know: Are professional football players being robbed of their middle age?

    Our findings suggest that football prematurely weathers them and puts them on an alternate aging trajectory, increasing the prevalence of a variety of diseases of old age.”

    She said: “We need to look not just at the length of life but the quality of life. Professional football players might live as long as men in the general population, but those years could be filled with disability and infirmity.”

    For this research, 3,000 former NFL players completed a survey for investigators at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School.

    Rachel said: Our analysis raises important biological and physiological questions about underlying causes but, just as importantly, the results should serve as an alarm bell telling clinicians who care for these individuals to pay close attention even to their relatively younger former athlete patients. Such heightened vigilance can lead to earlier diagnoses and timelier intervention to prevent or dramatically slow the pace of age-related illness.”

    Researchers were intrigued by conflicting reports in which athletes reported feeling older than their chronological age, while past research showed they lived as long or longer than men in the general population. Sports medicine physicians who treat players had also reported that these athletes often experience an earlier onset of age-related chronic health conditions.

    Researchers also used survey data to measure how long the athletes lived without developing four health conditions (dementia/Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, hypertension or diabetes), comparing the results to other non-NFL men ages 25 to 59 who had been part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and the National Health Interview Survey.

    In each decade of life, the former athletes were more likely to report that they had been diagnosed with dementia/Alzheimer’s disease and arthritis, the study found.

    Younger players, ages 25 to 29, were more likely than the average population to report high blood pressure and diabetes.

    The effects persisted even after the researchers accounted for body mass index and race.

    The research team also analysed player health for different game-related aspects, such as what position the athletes played. They found that linemen, who are known to have more physical contact during games, had shorter health spans and developed age-related disease sooner than those who were not linemen.

    The study senior author, Dr Aaron Baggish said that later diagnosis and treatment for metabolic conditions such as hypertension and diabetes could have long-term effects on heart health and cognition.

    Dr Baggish said: “The duration of one’s life is very important, but so, too, is the quality of one’s life. This study was conducted to probe the latter and now provides an important perspective on how early-life participation in the great game of football may accelerate the onset of certain common forms of chronic disease.”

  96. UEA – University of East Anglia – 9 December 2022

    Footballers more likely to develop worse brain health at 65

    Researchers have been monitoring elite football players for early signs of brain health decline and comparing their results with a sample of active non-footballers.

    The findings are the first to emerge from a ground-breaking study tracking the brain health of former professional players over time.

    More than 75 former professional players have been involved in the study.

    The lead researcher Dr. Michael Grey said that heading the ball has been associated with an increased risk of dementia among professional football players.

    “The problem has been emphasised with a number of high-profile players coming forward with their diagnosis of dementia.”

    During this year’s World Cup we have seen a few instances where the guidelines designed to protect players are not actually followed and this is really worrying.”
    Dr. Michael Grey, School of Health Sciences, University of East Anglia

    The research team hope to track their brain health for the rest of their lives.

    The researchers carried out cognitive function tests for male elite footballers and compared their results with a large sample of non-footballers.

    40 – 50 year-old age group, the footballers are performing a bit better that the normal group.

    “It’s when they get to 65 – that’s when things are starting to go wrong. The over 65’s performed worse when assessed for things like reaction time, executive function and spatial navigation. These are early warning signs for deteriorating brain health” said Dr. Grey.

    The SCORES project (Screening Cognitive Outcomes after Repetitive Head impact Exposure in Sport) is also trying to collect more data from former amateur and professional female players, who could be putting themselves at even greater risk of dementia than male players.

  97. Harvard Medical School – 7 February 2023

    For former football players, concussion and hypertension go hand in hand

    The chance that former professional football players will be diagnosed with high blood pressure – a known risk factor for cardiovascular and cognitive dysfunction rises in step with the number of concussions the athletes sustained during their careers.

    Researchers took into account established risk factors known to drive the risk for high blood pressure or hypertension, including:

    • Age
    • Body mass index
    • Race
    • Smoking status
    • Diagnosis of Diabetes

    The results of the study suggest that high blood pressure may yet be another driver of cognitive decline – a condition strongly linked with professional football play in previous studies and believed to stem primarily from repeated head injury.

    The findings also point to high blood pressure as a modifiable risk factor that could halt or slow both neurologic and cardiovascular damage in former players.

    Given that cardiovascular illness remains a top killer in former athletes and in the general population, the results should be an impetus for doctors, former players and their families to consider a history of prior head injury when screening patients for hypertension.

    Most research on cognitive decline in former professional football players has focused on neurodegeneration caused directly by repeated concussions, a prominent aspect of the game.

    However, the leading cause of death and disability among former football players – and among Americans in general – is cardiovascular disease, a collection of conditions that affect the heart and blood vessels.

    Hypertension, the most common cause of these conditions, can also gradually damage blood vessels in the brain and, over time, lead to cognitive decline.

    Various aspects of professional football, such as purposeful weight gain during play years and deconditioning after career end, are associated with hypertension.

    The researchers wondered whether concussion might also be independently associated with hypertension.

    4,168 former NFL players was analysed with known risk factors for hypertension in the general population – Diabetes, Obesity, Age, Smoking – as well as players’:

    • numbers of seasons of play
    • field position,
    • years since play
    • and the occurrence of 10 common concussion symptoms

    These symptoms were used to calculate a concussion symptom score – or CSS.

    The analysis showed that as players’ symptoms score rose, so did their likelihood of being diagnosed with hypertension, even after researchers accounted for known hypertension risk factors.

    Notably, even using the number of occurrences of just one severe symptom of concussion – loss of consciousness was enough to accurately predict players’ likelihood of developing hypertension.

  98. NOTE
    This comment has also been posted on our High Blood Pressure article as it serves a purpose to mention it under that topic too.

    Harvard Medical School – 7 February 2023

    New study points to surprising link between head injury and high blood pressure in retired NFL players.

    The chance that former professional football players will be diagnosed with high blood pressure – a known risk factor for cardiovascular and cognitive dysfunction, rises in step with the number of concussions the athletes sustained during their careers, according to new research by investigators for the Football Players, Health Study at Harvard University.

    The results held true, even after researchers, took into account established risk factors, known to drive the risk for high blood pressure or hypertension, including age, body, mass index, race, smoking status, and a diagnosis of Diabetes.

    The results suggest that high blood pressure may be yet another driver of cognitive decline – a condition strongly linked with professional football play in previous studies and believed to stem primarily from repeated head injury.
    Findings also point to high blood pressure as a modifiable risk factors that could halt or slow both neurologic and cardiovascular damage in former players.

    Given that cardiovascular illness remains a top killer in former athletes and in the general population, the researchers said the results should be an impetus for doctors, former players and their families, to consider a history of prior head injury, when screening patients for hypertension, even in the absence of other risk factors for this condition.

    If players, families and physicians are aware of the cardiovascular effects of head injury, we have a better chance of protecting both the cardiovascular health and long-term cognitive health, said Rachel Grashow – Director of Epidemiological Research Initiatives for the Football Players Health Study.

    The research based on a survey of more than 4,000 former National Football League players representing the largest study cohort of former professional football players to date was conducted as part of the ongoing football players health study at Harvard University – research program that encompasses a constellation of studies designed to evaluate various aspects of players health across their lifespan.

    Various aspects of professional football, such as purposeful weight gain during play years and conditioning after career end, are associated with hypertension.
    However, researchers wondered whether concussion might also be independently associated with hypertension.

  99. Boston University – 6 February 2023

    Researchers find CTE in 345 of 376 former NFL players studied

    The Boston University CTE Centre announced today that they have now diagnosed 345 former NFL players with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) out of 376 players (91.7%).

    For comparison, a 2018 Boston University study of 164 brains of men and women donated to the Framington Heart study found that only 1 of 164 (0.6%) had CTE. The lone CTE case was a former college football player. The extremely low population rate of CTE is in line with similar studies from brain banks in Austria, Australia and Brazil.

    The NFL player data should not be interpreted to suggest that 91.7% of all current and former NFL players have CTE, as brain bank samples are subject to selection biases. The prevalence of CTE among NFL players is unknown as CTE can only be definitively diagnosed after death. Repetitive head impacts appear to be the chief risk factor for CTE, which is characterised by misfolded tau protein that is unlike changes observed from ageing, Alzheimer’s disease, or any other brain disease.

    The director of the BU CTE Centre and chief of neuropathology, Ann McKee MD, said; “While the most tragic outcomes in individuals with CTE grab headlines, we want to remind people at risk for CTE that those experiences are in the minority. Your symptoms, whether or not they are related to CTE, likely can be treated, and you should seek medical care. Our clinical team has had success treating former football players with mid-life mental health and other symptoms.”

    Mckee and her team are inviting former athletes, including women, to participate in research studies designed to learn how to diagnose and treat CTE. The BU CTE Centre is collaborating with its education and advocacy partner the Concussion Legacy Foundation (CLF) to recruit former football players and other contact sport athletes to 5 active clinical studies.

    One of the studies, Project S.A.V.E., is recruiting men and women ages 50 or older who played 5+ years of a contact sport, including American football, ice hockey, soccer, lacrosse, boxing, full contact martial arts, rugby and wrestling.

    S.A.V.E. stands for Study of Axonal and Vascular Effects from repetitive head impacts. The major goal is to determine how repeated head impacts from playing contact sports can lead to long-term thinking, memory and mood problems. The results could highlight strategies to treat and prevent symptoms associated with head impacts from contact sports.

    345 out of 376 former players diagnosed with CTE.

    That is a considerable high percentage of players who had their lives impacted by playing contact sports.

    Considering the high prevalence of CTE and the fact that CTE can only be diagnosed after death, why is there not much more information to the public regarding the dangers of such sports?

    Why are those in authority allowing young children and teenagers to participate in these sports?

    It seems a bit pointless going through our early years in the perceived glory of competing in these dangerous sports only to then have our cognitive, memory and long-term thinking in decline.

  100. Karolinska Institutet – 17 March 2023

    HIGHER RISK of Dementia in Swedish top-division football players.

    Men who played football (soccer) in the Swedish top division until the mid 1900s had a higher risk of dementia than men from the general population, according to a new study published in The Lancet Public Health reports.

    6,000 active footballers in the top division were studied by researchers between 1924 and 2019.
    62% had an elevated risk of Dementia.

    The English Football Association recommended a limit to the number of headers performed by players during training. This recommendation came after the publication of a Scottish study that showed a 3 to 5-Fold INCREASED RISK of neurodegenerative diseases such as Dementia, ALS and Parkinson’s Disease in former professional players.

  101. Independent – 7 August 2023

    Dozens of triathletes struck down with diarrhoea and vomiting after swimming in s**t.

    At least 57 triathletes fell ill with sickness and diarrhoea following the World Triathlon Championship series.

    About 2,000 people took part in the UK leg of the World Triathlon Championship.

    The UK Health Security Agency said it would send those with symptoms a questionnaire and ask them to send a sample for testing to determine the cause of the illness.

    E-coli is a bacterial infection that can cause stomach pain and bloody diarrhoea.

    An Australian triathlete, who competed in the event, said he felt ill after the event.

    He said: “Have been feeling pretty rubbish since the race, but I guess that’s what you get when you swim in s**t. The swim should have been cancelled.”

    Another racer said: “That now explains why I spent Monday night with my head in the toilet after racing Sunday.”

    The stretch of coastline where the swim took place has been at the centre of a long-running dispute between campaigners and the Government over sewage discharges.

    The Environment Agency said water off the beach was classed as excellent last year based on samples taken in the previous four summers.

    British Triathlon, the governing body for UK triathlons, said the agency’s sampling results were not published until after the weekend’s events and were outside the body of water where its competitions took place

    It said its own testing results passed the required standards for the event

    Northumbrian Water insisted there have been no sewage discharges at the beach since 2021.

    An Environment Agency spokesperson said: “We routinely sample and monitor bathing waters to provide information for bathers and support our ongoing work to improve their condition. The beaches at Roker and Seaburn were both classified as ‘excellent’ last year based on samples taken throughout the season from May to September over the last four years.”

    What is a Triathlon?

    A Triathlon is a mixture of three sports – swim, bike ride and running.

    Distances vary and can be up to 17 hours and sometimes even longer.

    The Olympic Triathlon consists of:

    • 1.5km swim
    • 40km bike ride
    • 10km run

    We then have the Ironman competition which consists of:

    • 2.4m/3.8km swim
    • 112m/180km bike ride
    • 26.2m/42.2km run

    To put ourselves through this punishing endurance feat, we would have to put our bodies under so much force/pressure.

    And for what purpose?

    For the ‘glory’ of being able to say, ‘I did it’?

    Yes, we may be super fit now but what will be the toll on our bodies?

    Exercise should be an important part of lives but is it possible that, to push our bodies past a certain point, past that point where our body is saying STOP, is counterproductive?

    And why do we push our bodies past their limits?

    Because society says that Sport is ‘good’ for us.

    Because society champions competitions like these.

    Is it possible that our bodies would give us a different response if we were to ask how it truly feels?

    And the cherry on the cake – doing something that we supposedly ‘love’ only to end up swimming through s**t.

    I wonder – is there a message here?

    Is it possible that the message is saying we are ‘s****ing on our selves?

    Is it possible that this message is saying that what we think we are doing by pushing our bodies this hard is doing us the ‘world of good’, is, in truth, very harm-full to our bodies?

    Although our bodies are very durable, there naturally comes a point when it will say enough is enough.

    If we don’t listen, if we carry on, if we override what our body is saying, then is it possible that the body’s eventual response will be to manifest an illness or disease to stop us?

  102. CNN – 11 August 2023

    New findings from the Boston University CTE Centre says playing football may increase risk of Parkinson’s disease

    Researchers using data from the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research found that participants who had a history of playing organised tackle football were 61% more likely to report a Parkinson’s disease diagnosis or ‘parkinsonism’ – an umbrella term for symptoms like tremors and rigidity that cause movement problems – compared with those who played other organised sports.

    The report, published in the medical journal JAMA Network Open, also found that participants who played football at higher levels – professionally or in college – were nearly three times as likely to have Parkinson’s or ‘parkinsonism’ compared with those who played at the youth or high school levels.

    A clinical assistant professor of kinesiology at the University of Wisconsin Madison said: “This is one more piece of evidence adding to the growing amount of evidence that repetitive brain trauma has long-term consequences.”

    According to the National Institute on ageing, Parkinson’s disease is a brain disorder that causes unintentional or uncontrollable movement, including shaking, difficulty balancing and stiffness.

    Those symptoms occur when nerve cells in the basal ganglia – the part of the brain that controls movement – become impaired or die, though scientists are still unsure why that occurs.

    Most people develop the disease after the age of 60, and symptoms typically begin gradually before slowly worsening over time.

    In the past decade, a growing body of research has linked head trauma from contact sports like football to neurodegenerative brain diseases, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

    A 2017 study found CTE in 99% of deceased NFL players’ brains that were donated to scientific research, a year after the NFL publicly acknowledged the link between football and neurodegenerative brain disorders like CTE.

    The study in exploring how contact sports can increase the risk of of developing neurological diseases originally stemmed from researching boxing.

    The co-director at Boston University CTE Centre said: “Since the early 1920’s, there has been a link between boxing and Parkinson’s disease. Now fast forward today. Both boxing and football have this commonality of a lot of exposure to repeated hits to the head.”

    The study included 1,875 men in an online clinical study designed to study Parkinson’s disease. All the participants were former athletes who indicated having played an organised team sport on some level. Nearly 40% of them played football.

    Compared with participants who played other sports, the researchers found, those who had played American football were more likely to report ‘parkinsonism’ or a Parkinson’s diagnosis.

    The longer a participant played football, the greater their odds were of having Parkinson’s disease or ‘parkinsonism’.
    That was particularly true of people who had played for five or more seasons: those participants with “substantial exposure” were over twice as likely to report the conditions.

    Participants who played football at a college or professional level were 2.93 times as likely to have developed Parkinson’s or ‘parkinsonism’ compared to youth or high-school players.

    The age at which a player bean playing football did not change their likelihood of developing Parkinson’s.

    According to the director of the University of Michigan Concussion Centre, the report’s finding that high level football carries a greater risk for neurological diseases lines up with the most recent consensus statement from the international Concussion in Sport Group.

    Youth sports seem to carry less of a heightened risk for long-term neurological impairment.

    Doctors are still uncertain how debilitating brain disorders like CTE and Parkinson’s might arise from playing football. While the exact mechanism is unclear, the leading theory is that repeated, heavy hits to the head can cause inflammation and damage to the brain’s white matter. After repeated trauma, the brain doesn’t have time to heal between impacts, leading to a chronic state of inflammation.

    They also described how head impact can stretch brain tissue at a microscopic level. That stretching could cause Tau proteins in the brain, which functions like a support structure to brain cells, to break down and become tangled – something that can kill brain cells.

    But how exactly inflammation, Tau protein damage, and other effects of head trauma transition to a progressive brain disease is still unclear.

    While it is unclear on how football affects someone’s likelihood of developing Parkinson’s disease, the report’s findings are a reminder that contact sports like football can have long-term consequences on brain health.

    There seem to be many of these studies that show the harm-full link between brain disorders and repetitive head impacts.

    Logically it is common sense – if we keep banging our heads, there must be consequences at some point in our life.

    But with all of this exposure, with all of this new-found research, are those in authority going to recommend that we should stop playing these contact sports? – of course not.

    But why not?

    If we know that repetitive head impacts are going to affect us down the line, what makes us choose to carry on?

    As someone who used to play a lot of different sports, although I never played those harm-full contact sports like rugby or boxing, I know if I had read an article like this, I doubt very much if I would have stopped.

    The recognition and acceptance you get from playing sports puts you on a great high which is difficult to relinquish – and playing any sports at a professional and national level multiplies that high to even greater levels.

    Is the young person, that is told they may have a brain disorder in their later life if they carry on playing, going to take any notice when all they can see is the glory of winning or even just participating?

  103. Boston University – 28 August 2023

    Boston University Centre publishes largest CTE case series ever in youth, high School, college athletes who died young.

    A new Boston University (BU) Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) Centre study has found that, among a sample of 152 young athletes exposed to repetitive head impacts who were under the age of 30 at the time of death –

    41.4% had neuropathological evidence of CTE – a degenerative brain disease caused by repetitive head impacts. The study published in JAMA Neurology includes the first American woman athlete diagnosed with CTE, a 28 year-old collegiate soccer player.

    The author and chief of neuropathy at VA Boston Healthcare System and director of the BU CTE Centre said: “This study clearly shows that the pathology of CTE starts early. The fact that over 40% of young contact and collision sport athletes in the UNITE brain bank have CTE is remarkable – considering that studies of community brain banks show that fewer than 1% of the general population has CTE.”

    Nearly all young athletes had mild CTE, stages 1 and 2 and 3 donors had stage 3.
    There are 4 possible stages of CTE with stage 4 being the most severe.

    In those with CTE, there was often other evidence of brain injury, including the presence of a cavum septum pellucidum, enlargement of the ventricles, and more perivascular macrophages in the white matter.

    Clinical symptoms were common among the athletes, whether or not they had CTE.

    Clinical symptoms included
    70% Depression
    71.3% Apathy
    56.8% Difficulty controlling behaviours
    54.5% Problems with decision making

    42.9% alcohol abuse present
    38.3% drug abuse

    Amateur athletes comprised 71.4% of those diagnosed with CTE, and included American football, ice hockey, soccer, rugby players and wrestlers. Those diagnosed with CTE were older and had significantly more years of exposure to contact sports.

    Like all brain bank studies, the brain donors are different from the general population of young athletes, in part because they are more likely to have symptoms. CTE cannot yet be diagnosed in the living, and the true prevalence of CTE in any population remains unknown.

  104. Columbia Radiology – 28 November 2023

    Soccer heading linked to measurable decline of brain structure and function over two years

    A new study at Columbia University Irving Medical Centre links soccer heading, where players hit the ball with their heads to direct in during play – to a decline in brain structure and function over a two-year period.

    While previous research has examined adverse effects on the brain related to soccer heading at a single point in time, the new findings are the first to show brain changes over two years.

    Senior author, Dr. Michael Lipton, said: “There is enormous worldwide concern for brain injury in general and the potential for soccer heading to cause long-term adverse brain effects in particular. A large part of this concern relates to the potential for changes in young adulthood to confer risk for neurodegeneration and dementia later in life.”

    The study included 148 young adult amateur soccer players, with a mean age of 27. Participants also filled out a specialised questionnaire, developed by the research team, to determine how many headers they performed. Two-year heading exposure was categorised as low, medium and high.

    The researchers used an MRI technique called diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and a newer technique called neurite orientation dispersion density imaging (NODDI), which characterise the microstructure of the brain by tracking the movement of water molecules through the tissue.

    Lipton says: “By measuring how uniform the movement of water is through brain tissue, we can assess whether brain tissue structure is normal or abnormal and we can see the effects on brain structure with increasing number of head impacts.”

    Compared to the baseline test results, the high-heading group (over 1,500 headers in two years) demonstrated measurable changes in brain microstructure similar to findings seen in mild traumatic brain injuries.

    High levels of heading were also associated with a decline in verbal learning performance on a memory test. In contrast, participants who engaged in low or no heading demonstrated an improvement in verbal learning performance over a two-year period.

    Lipton adds: “This is the first study to show a change of brain structure over the long term related to sub-concussive head impacts in soccer. These findings add to the ongoing conversation and contentious debate as to whether soccer heading is benign or confers significant risk.”

    Dr. Lipton and colleagues also presented a second study in which they analysed heading over 12 months prior to assessment with DTI and testing of verbal learning performance. The study looked at 353 amateur soccer players between the ages of 18 and 53.

    Unlike previous research that has focussed on deep white matter regions, this study employed a new approach assessing change of DTI parameters to evaluate the integrity of the interface between the brain’s grey and white matter close to the skull.

    The researchers found that the normally sharp grey matter/white matter interface was blurred in proportion to high repetitive head impact exposure, consistent with injury at the grey matter/white matter interface. Further analysis showed that the change in brain structure at the grey matter/white matter interface plays a casual role in the association of greater heading with worse cognitive performance.

    Dr Lipton says: “Soccer players and their parents have been rightly warned about the potential risks of heading in soccer, but it leads to mixed messages about the wisdom of playing the sport.”

    Yet another study showing the potential damage of something we champion so much that we are willing to risk brain damage for.

    Try telling any young adult that what they love doing can end up harming them in their later years and they will probably, at the very least laugh at you, and are more likely to tell you to P off – I know I would have done at that age.

    Sport and competing were everything to me and no one was going to tell me otherwise.

    We have been fed from a very young age that sport is it, that sport is a great leveller and, especially in the last 30-40 years, a great way to earn an income.

    But at what price?

  105. NBC News – 12 February 2024

    Pickleball’s popularity has skyrocketed and so have the number of serious injuries among players.

    200% INCREASE over the last 20 years in bone fractures related to pickleball, according to an analysis of a large government injury database.

    5,400 pickleball-related fractures annually in U.S. population.

    Pickleball, which is played with a perforated plastic ball and wooden paddles on a badminton-sized court is the fastest growing sport in the U.S.

    4.8 million players

    8.9 million players

    Other common pickleball injuries include:

    Rotator cuff injuries
    Worsening of Arthritis
    Achilles tendon tears
    Achilles tendon strains
    Foot fractures

    The incidence of pickleball-related injuries rose faster than the growth of the sport’s popularity.

  106. The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) – 18 March 2024

    Food companies’ sponsorship of children’s sports encourages children to buy their products, according to new research.

    Many children view food companies that sponsor or give money to children’s sports as being “generous” (72%) or “cool” (68%). Many also believe these companies do so to help the teams out.

    “While there are a lot of factors that shape children’s diet, exposure to unhealthy food marketing has been identified as a particularly influential driver of children’s preferences for and intake of, unhealthy foods.”
    Elise Pauze – Lead Researcher, Interdisciplinary School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa, Canada.

    71% of the children reported exposure to at least one type of food marketing when playing sports.

    56% reported exposure to branded uniforms/equipment last year
    54% signs
    35% branded prizes
    30% receipt of free food
    26% coupons/gift certificates

    79% of children agreed that food companies sponsor or give money to children’s sports teams to help them out or to encourage people to buy their products.

    58% of the children agreed that they would want to buy a product from a food company if they sponsored or gave money to their sports team.

    “This is concerning as companies who sponsor children’s sports in Canada and other countries are often associated with unhealthy food (e.g. fast-food restaurants)” said Ms Pauze.

  107. EurekAlert – 4 April 2024

    Suicides among college athletes doubled in 20 years

    While annual mortality has been similar in this population, death by suicide rose sharply as other causes of death declined.

    The number of collegiate athletes who died by suicide doubled between 2002 and 2022.

    Suicide is now the 2nd most common cause of death, after accidents, in this group.

    During the 20-year study span, 1,102 athletes died, 128 (11.5%) of whom died by suicide. On average, they were 20 years old.

    • First 10 years 31 deaths – second 10 years 67 deaths – for men
    • First 10 years 9 deaths – second 10 years 21 deaths – for women

    Deaths by suicide involved males 77% of the time.

  108. The Guardian – 26 April 2024

    Arm Wrestling is on the rise in Britain.

    Surging in popularity across the country, arm wrestling is happening in grassroots clubs, garages, gyms and community centres nationwide.

    Reports of “friendly atmosphere but at the same time you got the adrenaline and you are releasing aggression.”

    Largely spurred by videos on social media that have helped launch arm wrestling stars with big personalities.

    One wrestler who was attracted to the sport because there is no punching in the face but you are still fighting says “Arm wrestling is simple in design and rules but it is quite complicated in practice. It is a combat sport because there is technique to it and it is about the fight. It is about getting what you want and winning.”

  109. ABC News – 6 June 2024

    1 in 5 young Athletes meet criteria for pre-hypertension, according to a new preliminary study.

    Pre-Hypertension is a precursor to High Blood Pressure.

    Over 20% of athletes studied met the criteria for having High Blood Pressure, which can increase the risk of Heart Attack, Stroke and Kidney Disease.

    Teenage boys appear to be more at risk than girls with MORE THAN DOUBLE the rates of Stage 1 and Stage 2 Hypertension.

    28% of athletes who played multiple sports had High Blood Pressure.

    “Even people who we consider extremely healthy young adults who engage in physical activity are still at increased risk.”
    Dr. Aneeq Malik – UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles

  110. Durham University – 17 July 2024

    A new study shows that retired rugby players who have suffered multiple concussions have abnormal levels of certain proteins in their blood.

    This can make them more prone to developing diseases such as MND – Motor Neurone Disease.

    Researchers found abnormal levels of certain proteins in the players with concussions during their career, which play a crucial role in the development of Alzheimer’s and MND.

    They also found that the rugby players who had been concussed in their career had lower levels of a different so-called retinoid transport protein which is important for the development and functioning of the brain.

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