Posted by: mdegeorge | September 6, 2010

Weekly Diagnosis: 9/6

Labor Day may be a national holiday, but if your borderline unemployed like me, you don’t really have to worry about it.

So while everyone else is down the Shore, I’ve been scouring the Internet for this week’s best, from one Frenchman’s experimentation with medieval medicine to Brett Favre’s utilization of a Mythbuster’s credo.

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A little voodoo will do

Luck hasn’t always been something Louis Saha has been acquainted with during his professional career. A combination of injuries and lack of form has blighted his career with four different English clubs and cost him a shot at inclusion in the French national team for the last two major tournaments.

So, how much damage could what the rest of us consider risky medical business really do to the striker? That was Saha’s thinking when he recently used the technique of bloodletting via leeches to treat swelling on his injury-prone knees. The treatment was brought to him by his grandparents who live in Guadeloupe, an overseas region of France located in the lesser Antilles.

It apparently has worked for him, allowing him to appear in all four of Everton’s matches this season in addition to earning a place in the latest level of rock bottom for France, a 1-0 loss to an indomitable Belarus squad.

I don’t know about you, but the bloodletting conjures a scene like this for me. Either way, we can only hope all the bile and evil spirits have also been banished from his body.

What up, Hippocrates?Last summer, the British papers were aflame with rugby club Harlequins’ “Bloodgate” scandal, in which players admitted to using artificial blood capsules to force substitutions late in matches. A subsequent internal investigation revealed several instances in which the capsular deceit was used, while the player spurring the investigation, Tom Williams, admitted a team doctor actually cut his lip with a scalpel after the game to perpetuate the farce.

Suspensions were meted out for the mele, ranging from two years for Williams (later cut to four months) to three years for the team’s director of rugby operations.

This week, the scandal was back in the headlines as England’s General Medical Council (GMC; roughly the equivalent of our American Medical Association) ruled that Wendy Chapman, M.D., the doctor who plunged her scalpel post-game into Williams lip and later lied about it, was still fit to practice medicine. She had been suspended by the GMC since last September, but the governing body ruled that her actions didn’t impair her fitness to practice medicine.

Before I even discuss Chapman, I have to first address English rugby, which is almost a contradiction in terms. You have a society that place an almost irrational premium on comportment, decorum, and manners that also rabidly follows a sport that is basically a reenactment of the storming of the Bastille, only with an oblong ball replacing the castle.

Then there’s Chapman, who may have opened up an entirely new medical field for herself and other less-than-scrupulous practitioners: disingenuous disease specialist. She can help patients wanting to feign disease by actually giving them that malady. Fake limp for workers’ comp? Chapman can sprain their knee for them to alleviate the guilt of lying. Kid faking a fever to skip school? Chapman can offer a weak strain of malaria. The possibilities are endless if she can market the new venture well.

When in doubt, more lube

It’s a frequent motto of Mythbusters, but Brett Favre also took it to heart this week…or more accurately, to ankle.

Last week, Favre had a synthetic lubricant (think a liquefied version of your grandparent’s glucosamine and chondroitin supplements) injected into the left ankle he has surgically repaired in May. That initial procedure included the removal of “about a cup” of loose bodies and bone fragments according to Favre in one of the oddest visuals you can have.

The latest procedure was a bit of maintenance on the earlier surgery ahead of Favre definitely maybe sort of for sure suiting up for the Vikings heading into the new season.

The need for grease in his joints makes Favre remind you even more of the Tin Man than ever before. If he only had a brain…then he would have had the smarts to retire years ago and make money off his celebrity rather than letting guys he’s old enough to have fathered beat his brains out on a weekly basis.

Artificial acrimony in Scotland

The latest battle in Scottish football (other than general disinterest in teams not from Glasgow) is over the convenience afforded by artificial turf fields and the recent glut of injuries caused by them. The most recent victim is 17-year-old starlet Fraser Fyvie (who I have as a starter in my European Under-21 Best Name All-Star team paired in attack with Ricky van Wolfswinkel) who suffered ligament damage last week while playing on Second Division Alloa’s artificial pitch.

The not-so-fantastic plastic has been popularized in cold-weather regions such as Scotland and Russia for their resilience to harsh winter weather, preventing the rampant cancellations of months of the season due to inclement conditions.

AstroTurf, which has generally been phased out here in the States, is also banned for football in England due to some comical conditions in the 1980s, but newer advances in artificial playing surfaces are making a comeback in the sport.

Here’s a simple solution to the problem: don’t play soccer during the winter in borderline arctic conditions. If you can’t play it on grass, then you can’t play it. If Scottish clubs can’t afford the latest turf technology so rapidly proliferating in the States at any non-bankrupt high school (even my public high school could afford it), then be prepared for fixtures to spill into the summer.

Plus, there are always indoor sports. I hear darts are pretty popular there.



  1. […] him, allowing him to appear in all four of Everton’s matches this … Original post: Weekly Diagnosis: 9/6 « The Sports Doctor Share and […]

  2. this is awesome man

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