Editorial

Mr Danza Hyatt's injury a wake-up call to all

Saturday, February 08, 2014    

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WHILE we empathise with the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) for not having the funds to retain a team doctor on a more sustained basis, we are equally not amused that getting one is not viewed by the association as a top priority, if we have read one official correctly.

We fully understand that money is scarce in a tough economy, but we would have hoped, even with the lack of it, that the JCA would have been more sensitive and tactful in articulating a matter that has enormous implications for players.

"...You can't have a doctor here on site for all the matches because you just can't afford it, and it's not a priority for us." That was how the JCA's CEO Mr Courtney Francis was quoted in yesterday's edition of this newspaper.

Money aside, a doctor being present at all sessions where players are likely to be exposed to possible injury must be a matter of uncompromising importance.

We believe that players are subject to the same dangers in practice matches as in competition, therefore professional medical contingencies must be on spot.

And if we were to cite a striking example of how it can all go wrong in a flash, let's look at what occurred to national senior team batsman Mr Danza Hyatt in a national practice game recently.

In preparation for the ongoing regional NAGICO Super50 championship underway in Trinidad and Tobago, Mr Hyatt sustained a broken nose. And as panicked teammates looked around for help, there was no one with medical training around. Subsequently, the injured player had to be driven to hospital by a teammate, we were told.

Mr Hyatt was lucky to a point, as it was only a nose fracture, but it could have easily been worse.

We pause to wish Mr Hyatt a speedy recovery after hearing he had a successful surgery to correct his fractured nose on Thursday.

In the modern dispensation of professional sport, the employment of full-time team doctors is the norm.

We think that at all times -- including training sessions and match days -- our sportsmen and women must have the peace of mind that their best interest is being looked after by administrators. Sadly, this is not always the case.

A former national and West Indies fastbowler and now a JCA board director, Mr Daren Powell, was sobering when he addressed the issue.

"We would love for that (to have a doctor at all sessions) to happen when funding is better at the association, because it's a professional thing now. This is more of a career opportunity than just a sporting event." We couldn't have said it better.

Having the esteemed doctor Akshai Mansingh "on call", as Mr Francis put it, is not enough in our eyes. Where was he when Mr Hyatt was writhing in pain?

We hope, for the sake of players, that the JCA finds a workable solution to the matter in the short term.

The incident involving Mr Hyatt, and countless others of its kind that don't make headlines, is a wake-up call to not only cricket administrators, but to all who serve Jamaica's wide spectrum of sport.

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