China Match Marred by Rough Challenges and Treatment

CFAPLEASE NOTE: All video links contain images that some may find disturbing.
China 0-1 Kazakhstan (Highlights)
Tuesday 7th June 2016

“Maybe 10 or 15 years ahead, I’m sure China’s national team will compete well [enough] to win the World Cup.”

Sven-Goran Eriksson
Shanghai SIPG manager
February 2016

That prediction from the former England manager suffered a blow when China failed to beat or even score against 112th ranked Kazakhstan in Dalian.

Whilst the result came just several days after a 4-2 win at home to Trinidad & Tobago (ranked 64th), it was the manner in which Gao Hongbo’s side failed to perform against weaker opposition who were reduced to ten men in the 82nd minute.

Kazakhstan scored from a lofted ball into the box, which Azat Nurgaliev met behind a baffled defence. His looping header lobbed the stranded Wang Dalei in China’s goal to give his side the lead – and ultimately win – which neither team really deserved.

But there were two incidents in particular that caught the eye, one of which didn’t reflect too positively on China’s preparation from a medical perspective and the other on the Australian referee.

CHN v KAZ two foot 1In the 53rd minute, Maksat Baizhanov committed his entire body into one of the more obvious two-footed challenges. Fortunately, the nearby Chinese player was able to avoid any dangerous contact. But the surprise was Australian referee Chris Beath failing to dish out anything more than a yellow card.

CHN v KAZ two foot 2There were a number of questionable challenges, which seemed to be triggered by the incident prior to half-time. Kazakhstan, more so than China, were guilty of going beyond the boundaries of the game with Baizhanov’s uncontrolled attempt undoubtedly the worst of the lot.

So the referee missed a clear call but what happened that China should address besides their poor performance?

Just minutes before half-time, Ulan Konysbayev suffered a nasty injury after landing awkwardly. He appeared to have broken his ankle, which the TV producer wasn’t afraid to let the audiences see (avoid if you’re squeamish). But whilst the injury was unpleasant, the treatment he received also made for uncomfortable viewing.

With a great deal of haste, Konysbayev was lifted on to a basic stretcher carried by what looked like young men wearing a white bib with a red cross on it. Within seconds, they were lifting the stretcher and taking the player off the pitch to the doctors and nurses who were on the running track. They then hurried along, presumably to find the ambulance and head straight for the hospital.

Now, treating injuries quickly is all well and good but this seemed a little too quick given the player had his leg cocked up instead of in a splint. He wasn’t receiving oxygen to ease the pain or a simple blanket placed over him to help avoid shock.

I can’t claim to be a medical expert of any sort but having seen players treated on numerous occasions for such injuries, something just didn’t seem right.

Several years ago, I tore the ligaments in my shoulder leaving me in need of surgery. I had been admitted to a Chinese hospital where they wanted to put in a metal plate. Fortunately for me, my parents found out and insisted I return back home for the treatment.

When I met with the shoulder specialist, I purposely waited to hear his suggestion before explaining what the Chinese doctors – I had consulted a few – were going to do. Upon telling him, he said that was a very archaic route to take and that technology and treatment has since developed. So I went with his suggestion of what was essentially a special rubber band in a figure of eight shape held in place by a single pin.

The operation was a success and whilst I have slightly less flexibility in my right shoulder – likely to have been down to a lack of discipline with the rehabilitation – I have felt no ill effects. My friend meanwhile had a different experience with the same injury.

About a year later, he too tore his ligaments after falling during a game of football. He had the insurance to be seen by supposedly ‘the best shoulder surgeon in Shanghai.’ They proposed the same steel plate treatment, which he proceeded to receive. But he would wake up in more pain and discomfort than what he felt pre-op.

The surgeon had messed it up and where I have just one scar, my friend has five after the corrective surgery he received a few weeks later.

This isn’t an article criticizing the whole medical industry in China, but I am highlighting this particular incident that was broadcasted on Chinese television. I find it concerning that most of the millions of viewers who were watching this professional football match between two international teams saw this approach as the example to follow when just a quick online search explains something different:

While you make your way to A&E or wait for an ambulance:

  • – Avoid moving the injured leg as much as possible – keep it straight and put a cushion or clothing underneath to support it.
  • – Don’t try to realign any bones that are out of place.
  • – Cover any open wounds with a sterile dressing, a clean cloth or a clean item of clothing – maintain direct pressure on the wound if it keeps bleeding.

If the person is pale, cold and sweaty (in shock), lie them down and carefully rest their legs above the level of their heart to improve their blood flow. When raising the broken leg, ensure it’s kept straight and supported by a cushion. Keep them warm and calm until you can get medical help.

Source: NHS 

China continues to reiterate its desire to be a footballing powerhouse and that’s fine. But that doesn’t just mean investing lots of money into the Chinese Super League so their clubs can bring in big name foreign names. The investment needs to start from the grassroots right through to the professional game, not ignoring the training of coaches, officials and medics along the way. Otherwise it won’t help progress this nation’s football culture that is still very much in its infancy meaning you could go ahead and add a zero to Sven’s bold prediction.