The above picture is one of the best graphic metaphors…
I shall start this brief but essentially vital message by reiterating the title of it. Mental Health Management, we need to be helped to help ourselves… Not a pill, nor a long consultation will give us the KICK START needed. Our inner self has got to want it!
Outside help is so important, we must trust others (but if possible we choose who the ‘helper’ is going to be. In many cases, one of the causes of ‘trauma’ comes from within the familiar circles.
And I insist, asking for help doesn’t mean giving away our rights or responsibilities for our own recovery and treatment. Being temporarily mentally ill is not a death sentence or a final ‘destiny’. And that is one of the reasons why I talk about ‘Mental Health’ management. This is a strategy or a plan which we manage ourselves (yet, possibly helped by others…
A short or long consultation with a GP, psychiatrist or psychologist may help. And a pill or two at times may also help to give us a badly needed KICK START. Our inner self has got to want it! – This our job, to press the ‘starter-button’
I have for a long time utilised the metaphoric analogy of a HEAVY TRUCK, where
The patient is in the driving seat. And all others are the WHEELS who support the LOAD. When the patient is unable to do it, the best is to choose the closest PERSON, selected by the patient (when willing and able)
On the right goes the CARER or family member (if ok with patient)
On the left the chosen PROFESSIONAL
So on and so forth with the interdisciplinary team (psych nurse, and other therapists
Medication is NOT IT, just another wheel
Fitness is another, and so is Nutrition
The Friends, etc. etc.
Add as many wheels as you wish (10-12-15)
This is the beginning of a Mental Health Management Plan (it has been around for 100’s of years. Pre-Big Pharma, patients were treated very humanly and in a considerate manner, quite often out in the countryside with vegetation and animals as their companions of the journey (let me assure you much more trustworthy than some humans wanting to reap some benefit$ out of your condition. Yes you guessed it, some nasty families used to put “away” the poor soul, (‘Out of sight out of mind’).
For the last 50 years or so, Bureaucrats, Politicians and The Law decided that at HOME those patients will be best cared for, really? Well, yes those with healthy hearts and wealthy pockets may have… The thin was and if, get them out of the way, out of their will and won’t. Many sweetheart deals have been struck between ubiquitous professionals, lawyers and relatives so to squeeze the proverbial lemon…
So, back to the central point of my article,… the first and best act of support towards an unwell person quite commonly is overlooked.
Whether friend, workmate, or stranger we all have this ability to LIFT those who feel down and lost in this world. PLEASE… no questioning, just company. When, and if they want to share something good, just listen empathetically! JOB WELL DONE.
“We all deserve to be helped and listened to by other human beings who decide to give us a few minutes, hours, days. This also means WE NEED TO HELP OURSELVES! – A healthy and prosperous 2022 to all. Remember that we are here, not too bad, isn’t it?
Enrique TOPO Rodriguez, MHMP&S (Mental Health Management Plans & Strategies)
Progressive Rugby member Dr Barry O’Driscoll has condemned world rugby is rain health initiative as insulting to those players suffering from brain damage.
Dr O’Driscoll spoke out in the Boxing Day edition of The Rugby Paper saying the initiative that says dementia can be caused by any one of 12 modifiable risk factors should infuriate those players suffering from brain damage such as World Cup winner Steve Thompson, England flanker Michael Lipman and All Black prop Carl Hayman.
“I find it totally insulting to the Thompsons, the Lipmans, the Haymans, the Pophams and everyone else,” Dr O’Driscoll, who resigned from World Rugby’s medical committee 10 years ago because he felt the governing body were not taking the issue of concussion seriously.
“It’s absolutely dreadful. These are people who have suffered terribly and will go on suffering. World Rugby seems to be trying to dilute the problem by pointing out other ways in which you could be affected. While they were at it, they may as well have said: ‘we’re all going to die eventually’.
“Knocks to the head are just about the last thing they mention. Make no mistake about it, we are talking here not simply about brain damage but permanent brain damage as caused by repeated knocks to the head.
“Why don’t they answer that? Instead they talk about smoking and drinking and not eating properly. They seem to be trying to belittle what has become a huge problem across the rugby-playing world.
“There are hundreds of scientific papers describing what happens to the brain from repeated trauma and why players finish up like this. And yet they’re now being told that it could be because of something else entirely.
“How would you feel to be told that? My reaction would be somewhere between outrage and fury at one end of the spectrum and utter disbelief at the other.”
World Rugby’s Brain Health Initiative was backed by number of independent medical specialists including Professor Craig Ritchie, chair of the psychiatry of ageing at the University of Edinburgh and Professor Willie Stewart, consultant neurologist at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Glasgow.
World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said: “We care deeply about every member of our Rugby family. As a former player myself I appreciate that some players maybe worried about their brain health. We must and are, putting those players at the heart of our welfare plans. Good brain health is much wider than what happens on the field. We have more control over it than you would think.”
“World Rugby seem to be trying to belittle what has become a huge problem across the rugby-playing world.”
THE RUGBY WORLD IS FACING IN THE NEXT 12-24 MONTHS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE SINCE ITS INCEPTION IN THE 1860’S. CONCUSSION-DEMENTIA-CTE-DEPRESSION-PARKINSON’S-ALZHEIMER’S and SUICIDE ARE INTIMATELY LINKED (Not always!) AS BY-PRODUCTS OF CHASING RUGBY GLORY (Players & Coaches) AND PERPETUITY (Directors, Delegates and Administrators). ETR. 29/12/2021 (I take 100% ownership of this statement)
The ISSF and GRU (Global Rugby University) Mission is… to advocate for and generate Educational Programs, Promote General Awareness, and deliver strategies and guidelines destined to improve SPORTS INJURIES PREVENTION, and HEALTH & WELLBEING PRESERVATION.
Dear Sportspeople, Readership and Families of Injured Athletes,
Only two days and a few hours to farewell another year. For some people, 2021 has not ended soon enough. I am fortunately on the other side of the coin, it certainly has not been easy but I have thrived on the challenges in front of me and on the road ahead. I also feel blessed and well prepared, ready for a big decade ahead. HOW? To me very simply, I have been able to bring together experiences and studies of the last 50 years, into a single cause, the ISSF|GRU initiatives to assist athletes and their families. More details are below…
Nevertheless, EI (Emotional Intelligence) helps us in understanding many other people’s plight. ‘The fight’ of our life (2020-2021) has been on many fronts. The COVID-19 pandemic (and its variants) have been one of the main contributors. Survival has become even more complex, not just the fittest, and the smartest, but the most positive and mentally flexible has more/better chances of success (whatever this is for each of us!). Have said back in May 2020 that ‘nimbleness’ and ‘adaptability’ are today ‘must-haves’. Nevertheless, many athletes have been confronting realities such as brain damage due to repeated concussions during their careers. Impossible to diagnose, or to foresee the damages that have historically occurred inside your skull, yet the symptoms are like an invisible enemy that creeps up the back door of your very existence. So, 20 or 30 years later… the ‘phantom’ has been waiting in the shadows of retirement.
There is a class action taken on by 150+ rugby union and rugby league players who feel sufficiently disadvantaged by these realities. Administrators are all but acknowledging the prior absence of Duty of Care. Many of those in positions of responsibility think, ‘IT WAS OK’. Nonetheless, several pieces of good evidence are telling us today; it was far from OK. Doctors and Neurologists have raised the yellow and red flags many years ago, some even before 1995, but??
Rylands Law (UK) has been engaged by a large group of affected athletes, this ominous task to bring proceeding before the Law is quite something. Like in sports, or competitive pursuits, when you decide to PLAY ON… before you start airing out grievances and shreds of evidence, you must internalise the chances of winning, losing, or drawing! Every individual involved, no matter the colour of their playing ‘jumper’ will play ‘hard’ (sometimes fair, others not). Everyone has families, whether parents, siblings, partners, children who are and have been already affected by unwanted symptoms and disastrous physical, psychological, and emotional consequences.
ALL ADULTS, at any stage of life, but particularly active athletes, who lose mobility, lose confidence and self-esteem due to the inability to ‘perform’ their disciplines becomes a caged-up suffering animal, not tamed, not wild, but experiencing something they never prepared for. Fear is ne of the worst companions of an injured person, soon affective disorders arrive (depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, melancholia, etc.) are some side-effects of ‘accidents’ caused by a simple collision or concussion.
There may also be other aggravating and contributing factors, of course, our body, mind and soul are not singular, simplistic and disconnected computers. However, World Rugby (and the contracted scientists) are shifting responsibilities by saying that lifestyle is more conducive to degenerate our brains (yes, alcohol, tobacco, drugs, etc.) Whatddahff? – I would like to reverse this hypothesis and ask these incredibly ‘clever’ fellows running World Rugby… Has it ever occurred that many athletes might be ‘medicating’ themselves to cope with the damages suffered 5, 10, 20 or 40 years ago?
Now, to balance a bit these different opinions and unique angles of observation, let’s look at other hypothetical cases and some questions for the readership, the administrators, and the Lawyers also.
Historic comparisons that may or may not apply to you. Do you remember… a) When you were five? Running flat out, chased by your brother, and suddenly… the living room table stopped you on your tracks, or b) When you were ten, coming downhill screaming on your bike and landed head-on against that fence? Or… c) Your several falls off the galloping horse? – NOW, those accidents above mentioned do not diminish anyone’s responsibility. But it certainly has created a potential for cumulative lesions in your brain.
NOW, playing a 95% collision game will not mitigate the inherent risks. In the contrary, rugby today has a big fight on their hands trying to convince not only parents but grandparents about the ‘beauties’ of playing it at an early age!!! – When the human damages get this big, this hard, and this uncontrolled, we must shoot to the top. World Rugby has been sitting on a big pile of money for a long time, for 50 years at least. Nonetheless, since 1991 (2nd RWC) the profits have become exponential.
Next stages, from 1995 to 2019, we keep adding noughts (not crosses) to those balance sheets, TV, some players, and some coaches’ contracts. However, the minnows, the Pacific Islands and other second-tier countries do not even smell these figures! – World Rugby badly needs all these small ‘actors’ to fill up the stage of their quadrennial RWC grand production.
Q1: Why WR did not accept the advice of independent neurologists, in the early 2000s and before?
Q2: Why WR did not follow up on people badly hurt?
Q3: Why WR did bot budget for unforeseeable or contingencies?
Q4: Does WR have a decent Occupational Health & Safety Policy?
Q5: Doesn’t WR have (or did before) adequate insurance to cover contingencies?
Q6: Why WR is so reluctant to CHANGE THE LAWS to make rugby safer and more entertaining?(And by the way, more profitable?)
FOR YOUR INFORMATION, the disappearance of a proper RUCK, the playing the ball on the ground, the dismantling of the SCRUM, the incessant stoppages and referees’ lectures, are a combined business plot between greedy TV executives, soon Joint Venture Capitalists, inept and arrogant administrators, poorly informed referees, and ambitious inventive coaches seeking ‘perpetuity’. One hell of a trough… Let’s not start with Australian Rugby the administration minnow!
A good overhaul of The Lawbook by professional Lawmakers, without affecting the principles and spirit of the game, is the only solution to this conundrum. What has been done so far by WR are cosmetic changes, window dressing and TV executives pleasing.
There are so many whys’ the rugby family is asking World Rugby today… Let’s hope and work towards a much better 2022 with truly ‘fair’ sportsmanship, respect, and responsibility!
Thanking you most sincerely, for following and encouraging me with my streams-of-consciousness postings. And wishing you all a wonderful and plentiful 2022.
HEALTH, PEACE, and PROJECTS TO ALL.
Enrique TOPO Rodriguez
The World’s best props of all times (pre-1995) – The Pilliers de Legende – Midi Olympique | Paris, November 2011
Are we? or are we not? … On the right track or at least on the right field?
“The LAWS and RULES of sports were not created by superior forces, but by well-intended erring humans! – Now it is our opportunity and duty to right a chronic wrong”
I’d like to suggest that lacking sufficient neck/shoulders/back muscles strength and flexibility (both are directly proportional) or hand in hand would contribute towards abrupt ‘whiplash’ and repeated blows to the head, whether against another head, hard surfaces, or a hardball. Because of these involuntary actions, I believe athletes or non-athletes may experience multiple brain traumas by repeated bouncing of the brain against the internal walls of the skull. To reduce this risk and prevent whatever may be preventable? TACKLES MUST always be with both arms FROM WAIST DOWN! ETR – 15/12/2021.
Big claps, pats, and kisses to all involved in 2021. We as a TEAM are leading the challenge to assist in improving the lives of its participants, and the administration of the Business of Sport. Our investigative ‘under the microscope’ approach is desperately needed in the process of change.
EDUCATION, AWARENESS and FOLLOW THROUGH is our mantra. PREVENTION is the best and the smartest form of PROTECTION! – One million thanks to all, speakers, organisers, viewers, and other 😍 😎 participants. THANK YOU.
Wishing you a healthy and restful Christmas break. I do invite you to… GO FOR IT in a very promising 2022