Friday, April 8, 2016

Injury Prevention

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive

Injuries have always been a part of ski racing. But this past season, it seemed like there was a record number of injuries. Every week there was a report of athletes injured in races, training runs, or simply getting out of bed in the morning. What were the causes of so many injuries and what can be done to reduce them next season? Well dear readers, you are in luck. One of our intrepid reporters scored an interview with Bob, our favorite contact at the International Ski Federation (FIS), and talked to him about all of the injuries. Let's find out what he has to say.

BB: Bob, it is nice to see you again. Are you still working in media relations?
Bob: Yes. The position in media relations was supposed to be temporary, but the FIS made it permanent after reading my interviews with your reporters.
BB: The Blickbild doesn't just have ordinary reporters, we have the most intrepid reporters in the business. It's nice to see that we are good for something. (short pause) This past season, over 50 ski racers, from big stars to lesser-known racers, were injured. What seemed to cause this epidemic of injuries?
Bob: There are a lot of theories as to why so many athletes were injured. I'll go into the most popular one by one. The first is snow conditions. There was either too much snow or not enough. It was difficult for service men to decide which type of wax to put on the racers' skis, so they sometimes used the wrong one for the snow conditions.
BB: Do you really believe that all of the injuries were caused by the wrong wax? Surely the athletes' service men know which waxes to use for different snow conditions. That is why they are paid so well.
Bob: I didn't say that I believe this theory. But it is one popular theory making the rounds. Another is that pain killers are masking the little aches and pains that every ski racer has. The racer then pushes himself beyond his limits because the medicine is masking the pain and gets injured.
BB: I'm not so sure about that one. Ski racers have been taking pain killers since the beginning of the World Cup. That does not account for last season's carnage.
Bob: I agree that there has to be something more than pain killers at work. From talking to the athletes, I heard that the snow was a different shade of white than it has been in the past.
BB: That is absurd, even by our low journalistic standards! Are you saying that a ski racer can really tell the difference between the snow being pearl white and eggshell white?
Bob: Yes. It could be that the racers were expecting the snow to be one shade of white and wore the wrong goggles. They could not see the bumps or ruts on the course, which made them crash and get injured.
BB: I don't'd think that the racers would have goggles that would work no matter what shade of white the snow was. Variations in snow color cannot account for all of the injuries that we saw.
Bob: Right. But sunspot and solar flare activity could.
BB: Wait a minute! Our intrepid research team looked into sunspots and solar flares. The past year was a period of low sunspot and solar flare activity.
Bob: Maybe the lack of sunspots and energy from solar flares striking Earth affected the athletes' brain waves and made them sluggish, which resulted in the injuries.
BB: I seriously doubt that low sunspot activity would affect the brain waves of people on Earth and make them sluggish and injury prone.
Bob: You never know. But there has been a lot of volcanic activity on Jupiter's moon Io.
BB: Are you really saying that volcanic activity on the moon of a planet millions of kilometers away is the cause of all the injuries that we saw on the race pistes?
Bob: When you say it that way, it does sound a little ridiculous. By the way, I read that Pluto could have a warm underground ocean and possibly harbor life forms.
BB: You do realize that Pluto is no longer considered a planet? It is a dwarf planet.
Bob: It will always be a planet to me.
BB: So are you going to say next that the alien life forms on Pluto somehow affected ski racers and caused them to get injured?
Bob: You never know! Plutonians could be among us on Earth now and we just don't know it. But I do know that the aliens on the planet Zorkon in the Andromeda Galaxy were upset about Anna Fenninger being injured just before the season started. They wanted to recruit her to compete for Zorkon after her falling out with the Austrian Federation. Perhaps they went out and shot ski racers with their ray guns to get revenge on the FIS for not allowing Anna to compete for Zorkon.
BB: Don't you think that spectators  or course workers would have noticed space men with ray guns on the training and race courses shooting the athletes?
Bob: The Zorkonians could be invisible to Earthlings.
BB: Let's get back to this planet and reality for a moment. Who do you like better, Messi or Ronaldo?
Bob: What do football (that's soccer to our North American readers) players have to do with all of the injuries we saw last season?
BB: I'm the one asking the questions here. That's why I'm the intrepid reporter and you are my interview subject. Messi or Ronaldo?
Bob: Umm...Jan Oblak
BB: Jan Oblak?
Bob: Yes. He is the goalkeeper for Atletico Madrid and has given up the fewest goals in the Spanish football league this season. Even though I live and work in Switzerland now, I am Slovenian and Jan is one of the national team goalkeepers.
BB: I thought you might have answered with Neymar, but now I can see why you went with Oblak. Now that we are back on Earth, here is my opinion about what is causing all of the injuries. I think it is a combination of faster skis and courses that are basically sheets of ice. The athletes are being pushed beyond their limits.
Bob: Wait a minute! That is not fair! People want to see the racers go fast and at their limits. After all, think about some other sports. Do people like auto racing because they enjoy watching cars going in a circle for several hours? No, they want to see crashes. Hockey fans don't actually like the game. They want to see the players fighting. We at the FIS are giving the fans what they want by changing the skis and making the courses super fast.
BB: Isn't athlete safety supposed to be one of the FIS's main concerns?
Bob: Of course it is, but so are ticket sales and TV ratings. If the skiers went down a beginner slope wearing bubble wrap suits, nobody would watch. These days everything is about making the races as exciting as possible for the spectators.
BB: Races are more exciting to watch when there are not big pauses for injuries or theatrics. Whenever there is a big injury break I end up changing the channel on the TV. I'm sure other fans who watch the races do the same thing.
Bob: We have noticed that ratings for curling and ice dancing increase and ski racing ratings decrease whenever there are big injury pauses. But we will soon remedy that by showing films of past crashes to keep the viewers from changing the channel.
BB: Why not just make the courses slightly slower or change the skis to make them safer? I'm sure ski racing fans prefer their favorites to finish the season in one piece.
Bob: You really need to get into the modern world. Sports where athletes are simply measured against the clock and their fellow competitors are so 20th century. There needs to be something more exciting to keep fans interested.
BB: I'm not so sure that your way of thinking will stop the injury epidemic. Ski racing fans that we talked to were saddened by their favorites dropping like flies.
Bob: At our summer meeting in Cancun we will discuss some proposals that fit the FIS values of safety, excitement, entertainment, and high TV ratings. We will keep you posted on the outcome.
BB: I hope you will. Well, it looks like we are out of time. Bob, I want to thank you for another enlightening interview. It was interesting as always. And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive interview.

The Boston Blickbild. Our motto is: We polled our staff and they prefer Messi over Ronaldo, though they say that Ronaldo's dives and theatrics are better than Messi's.

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