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Archives for Opinion

My Interest in Concussion

Concussion is in the news a lot lately and protocols for their acute management have become stricter in most sports as more is known about the long term consequences of repeat concussions. For example, a third of kids who have a concussion develop long term mental health and emotional issues. New laws and rules are being implemented by sporting codes and others are under pressure to do more. I have previously blogged about why I think podiatrists should be concerned about concussion and there is a long thread at Podiatry Arena on concussion.

I see concussion as a major public health issue and podiatrists (and all health professionals) should be concerned and active in advocating on all public health issues (eg smoking, obesity, etc). We should be helping getting all the messages across.

The other reason is that post-concussion is that there is an increased risk for lower extremity injury. More than 30 or so studies now show that.

Finally, we are parents and members of the community and our kids play sport. We may need to step up and use the first aid skills if there is a knock to the head at sport.

I urge all Podiatrists to get involved and interested and become advocates for this public health issue.

The Use of the Legend of Abebe Bikila

There is no doubt that Abebe Bikila is a legend. He was a late selection for the Ethiopian team for the marathon at the 1960 Rome Olympics. Because of his late inclusion the teams sponsor, Adidas did not have shoes in his size, so he decided to run barefoot. On September 10, 1960 he got the gold medal. It was no fluke as he then went on to win the 1964 Olympic marathon in Tokyo. He ran faster in this one wearing running shoes.

My interest in him is two-fold: Firstly, he really is a legend and his running achievements are legendary.

Secondly, it has been interesting to follow the use of that legendary status by the barefoot running community during the fad on barefoot running. He was held up as a hero of that community for his barefoot achievements. He was used to promote the benefits of barefoot running. That is fine and he is anecdotal evidence that a marathon can be run barefoot. What you never see mentioned in that barefoot community that he subsequently ran faster to win the Tokyo marathon wearing running shoes. I did point that out on a number of occasions and all I got in response was hate mail. What does that tell you?