It appears some local bloggers (e.g. Ulaca and In Black and White) like to comment on football or soccer, particularly but not exclusively from England’s Premier League. I’m also a fan so I’ve been thinking about posting something about soccer but with HKSARblog’s usual skepticism about certain practices.
So how about: Desperate and Injured Premiership Players Place Faith on Placental Fluid Miracle Cure?
The media circus started when Arsenal’s star striker Robin van Persie injured his ankle a week ago when playing for Holland against Italy. The initial diagnosis was that he had a partial tear in his ankle ligaments and would be sidelined for six weeks. He then announced that he was going to Belgrade in Serbia to seek a “mysterious housewife” who apparently can help players recover quicker by using placental fluid. Initially, the media did not know much about the treatment, by first saying that the woman massaged placental fluid taken from horses on the injured area. Next, it was dripped on. And now, there are reports that injections of placental fluid are involved. No one appears to know exactly what this alternative therapy is, or who this woman is.
Despite this, it later emerged that a whole gaggle (plethora? pile? posse?) of premiership players (e.g. Liverpool’s Glen Johnson, Fabio Aurelio, Yossi Benayoun and Albert Riera; Chelsea’s Frank Lampard; Manchester City’s Vincent Kompany and Pablo Zabaleta) and some top European players have also been treated by this “Mariana Kovacevic” who has at least three aliases and four different addresses. Why all the secrecy? Tax evasion perhaps, or something more sinister?
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger (usually considered rational, relative to other Premiership managers that is) said he “recognised the psychological benefits such a treatment may have on an injured player”. Yes, Arsene may be on to something here. As with many alternative therapies, the placebo effect can sometimes be significant.
Furthermore, we are talking here about elite athletes in the prime of their lives, whose body conditioning can be significantly different compared with “normal” people (i.e. ordinary citizens who do not maintain their bodies at above-average condition on a full-time and prolonged basis). For instance, if you treat a bunch of injured people with the same therapy and divide them in to two groups (one group being young elite athletes; the other being older, unfit and overweight people), it would not be unreasonable to perhaps expect a difference between the groups in their recovery period and performance. A good example would be swine flu: there have been cases of professional football players who have caught swine flu, and none have died. Whereas in other demographics, some people have died from swine flu.
This is why proper clinical trials should always be arranged, rather than relying on testimonies; in this case testimonies from superfit elite athletes.
Still, all this Hocus Pocus malarkey in the Premiership is interesting to follow. Eventually, the truth will out.