Bladed boots have been condemned by managers and surgeons since they were thrust onto the football scene by NIKE in the early part of the decade, there have been calls for them to be banned by none other than Sir Alex Ferguson, who to this day bans his players from wearing them.
With this horrific injury to Wayne Rooney, which required a general anaesthetic and a large amount of internal and external stitching there has to be an investigation into their use. Reports suggested that the gash to Rooneys leg was "close to the bone" and "important ligaments" which begs the question "Do we have to wait until a career is halted, before we ban these blades".
The problem does not just exist in the professional game, those are only the high profile ones we see, in the amateur game, cuts and lacerations caused by bladed boots are dealt with by A & E units every Saturday up and down the country.
A report in the BMJ in 2004 gave cause for concern about the use of the blades in football, and cited two cases of injuries directly attributable to bladed boots, the one picture in the BMJ, show a remarkable likeness to the injury sustained by Rooney.
Similar injury in 2004
The BMJ goes on to say :
"Sporting injuries presenting to the emergency department are common, and, over the last decade more interest has focused on prevention. One aspect of this is footwear design. Chan et al showed a direct correlation between footwear and both performance and rates of injury. A similar study showed that boots with a greater number of studs were associated with poorer performance compared with those with fewer, primarily because of inferior traction with the ground. A large proportion of football injuries are ligamentous and involve either the knee or the ankle,thus shoe-surface traction is the specific variable most likely to correlate with injury incidence.These theories led directly to the development of the blade to replace the traditional stud on football boots to improve shoe-surface traction. For this reason a large number of professional footballers use blades, and as a result the appeal to amateur players of all ages is high. As the number of players using such footwear increases, the number of injuries resulting directly from blades is increasing also. Concerns are now being raised in the media as to the safety of such blades, especially in more junior grades of football. In certain countries there are moves to ban such blades because of safety concerns.
These cases highlight the severity of lacerations that can result from tackles with boots fitted with blades. In the second case report, the blade was actually sharp enough to penetrate the leather uppers of the boot before lacerating the skin. Although stud injuries have presented to the emergency department for many years, we should be increasingly aware of the potential dangers of this design of stud, especially in junior levels of competition."
When reading this it is surprising to see that the BMJ picked up on blades being more than just a laceration risk in 2004 a full year before Sir Alex Ferguson banned the Manchester United players from wearing them.
The problem of the blade is not only in football, injuries have been reported in Rugby and Hurling, in Ireland one Hurling league has already banned the wearing of bladed boots following a spate of injuries, to cruciate knee ligaments.
Posted in the "Hogan Stand Forum in 2011"
It is an injury that is damaging football at the minute, Limerick now have lost Galvin, Kilkenny Tennyson, Down Ambrose Rodgers, Fermanagh Eamon Maguire and Paul Cosgrove, and there are numerous others. Something needs to be done as the injury is not only effecting the game it is affecting the financial well being of many of this players and it is a strain on GAA funds to pay for the expensive operation
Research is also showing that the boot itself is causing as many problems as it solves, with the increased traction comes the risk of ankle and knee injuries, from twisting when the foot fails to move in relation to the joints, pitches now include a mixture of nylon fibres to improve wear, these fibres do not break as easily as grass does, and as the blade is less forgiving than stud more cruciate and ankle injuries are being reported.
The jury is out on the use of blades in football, and the decision could lie in the hands of parents, if they stop buying bladed boots for the youth, then it will not be worth the sports companies producing them to carry, and if the players like Rooney publicise that they don't wear them, that will have the desired effect as well.
You have to wonder, and fear that it will take a career ending injury to high profile footballer before these blades are banned.
Courtesy of Aragorn Admin @ www.talkingreds.net/blog
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