Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Reality, Check

You know, we write a lot of guff here sometimes. Mostly about footy, and sometimes straying onto social and integrity issues around the game.
And then every once and a while you find reality smack you in the face.

Some examples:

Tim McGrath has recently become a follower of this blog. And when we saw that, we were reminded to make a blog note about some serious football community issues. One of these relates to Tim.

For those that dont know, Tim has been diagnosed with skin cancer. There wouldn't be to many in Australia unaffected by cancer, either directly, or through friends and family. Certainly we at the Institute have lost loved ones, and know others who have fended it off.

Support Tim, join him in his battle, learn from his experience and pass on that learning to others. Read "Bluey's Journey", his blog that so far consists of one long, detailed post, describing how most people would come to find cancer themselves.

...and Tim, if you are reading this, blog often!
Keep people reading.
Keep people learning.

We at the FootyMaths Institute like to think of footy in its purest form.
Of local lads putting down weekday workaday tools and pulling on boots
The local colours get pulled over heads, and chests fill with the pride that comes through representation.
There are no endorsements, contracts, managers fees and 'back-ended deals'.

Local lads playing for the love of the game.
And sometimes these lads suffer.
Casey Tutungi is such a case. And his simple on-feild football act that resulted in fractured vertebrae, is an injury that could happen on local grounds, all around the country, every weekend.

Help Casey with his recovery, and read his challenges here

Moments like the Geelong - St Kilda post match are what football is about. Its just unfortunate that it took a serious injury to make it happen.

The last two have not come into reality yet, but are reminders of what could be coming.

The Doc
Dr Peter Brukner has been a name of renown in sports (and football) medicine for a few years now.
His reading of the Essendon / ASADA Affair is well worth your time.
Without prejudice, his assessment is frank, alarming, and brings foreboding to Windy Hill.

Please read the article, titled "Essendon players escape sanction? It's hard to see why".
And while reading, try to keep your mind open. Read it as though it were another team. It is well worth it.

Some key points:
AOD-9604 is not approved for human use in any country in the world. So on the basis of this drug alone, players would be guilty of taking a banned substance.
There have been suggestions that the players were also administered a number of other drugs, including CJC-1295, GHRP-6, hexarelin, melanotan, cerebrolysin and thymosin. These drugs are either banned peptides under WADA S2 or substances not approved for use under S0.
It has also been suggested that the Essendon players might have been given intravenous vitamins in a drip containing more than the 50mls allowed by WADA.
If the Essendon players were considered to be eligible for reductions under both clauses 10.5.2 and 10.5.3, then the best-case scenario is a six-month ban.
The minimum suspension will be six months. While there have been suggestions the ban will commence after this season and conclude at the start of next season, for the ban to be meaningful it must include some matches.
The ASADA report, full and complete, post-Dank interview, will be the only way to flush our if these bans come into effect. And it will be post season before anything of this happens.

The Inspector
As some of the above drugs were given and were 'not for human use', then you might wonder, as we did, ... when will WorkSafe get involved?

Our blogpost on that topic suggests:
An employer must, so far as is reasonably practicable- 
(a)  monitor the health of employees of the employer; and
(b)  monitor conditions at any workplace under the employer's management and control; and
(c)  provide information to employees of the employer (in such other languages as appropriate) concerning health and safety at the workplace, including the names of persons to whom an employee may make an enquiry or complaint about health and safety.
   Penalty: 240 penalty units for a natural person; 1200 penalty units for a body corporate.
... if Essendon have failed to monitor the medical actions of it staff, as documented by the Switkowski report, or failed to provide sufficient information to their employees (either directly themselves or their contractors), then they could be found liable.

The latest information from the Baker / McKenzie investigative reporting team suggests there is a good case for WorkSafe to get involved.
ASADA has also found Essendon staff failed to implement basic governance, management and medical practices to ensure players were not exposed to health and doping risks, and said the club failed to follow its own protocols around the review and use of drugs suggested by Dank.
Basic records about what drugs were given to specific players were not kept. 
A source who has read the ASADA report, said the circumstantial evidence was very strong that thymosin beta 4 - a drug deemed by the World Anti-Doping Agency to be performance enhancing - was given to several players at the club. Eleven players have told ASADA they were given what they were told was thymosin, although they could not say what sort of thymosin it was.
ASADA has confirmed beyond doubt AOD9604 - a failed anti-obesity drug banned by WADA under its S0 category because it is not approved for human use - was used at the club. The report states players were largely unwitting victims of a high-risk and poorly governed program.
The ASADA investigation into Essendon is ongoing and the prospect of infraction notices for doping violations being issued to individual players or the wider team remains open.
However, any such decision would be weighed against evidence showing players acted in good faith and had been given poor advice and directions by Dank - who has refused to be interviewed by ASADA and others at the club.
The report will relieve Hird to the extent the evidence gathered portrays him as a person who never sought to break anti-doping rules or knowingly expose his players to harm. However, it is understood Hird is one of several officials identified as having failed to ensure proper practices were implemented and followed, exposing players to an unsafe workplace.
(our emphasis applied)

So based on the above, and our previous blog detail, there is a case for fines by WorkSafe to the Essendon club, as well as on Mr Dank and Mr Hird and others.
Applying Section 21 and Section 22 of the Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 could incur fines to the club of $1,372,472.
To individuals such as Mr Dank, Mr Hird, etc. it coukd be as high as $294,494.

There is so much more in the Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004  that can be applied in this case, but we will leave that to WorkSafe and when they start working over the Bombers.

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