Cudicini’s accident raises questions on player safety and ‘risk management’

Carlo Cudicini the Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper has suffered ‘potentially life-changing injuries’ as the result of crashing his motorbike early this morning.

The crash occurred at 10:30am GMT on Forest Road in Walthamstow – East London. The collision involved a Ford Fiesta containing a female driver and a child, both of whom walked away from the incident and did not require hospital treatment.

The incident adds to an already tragic week in the world of football when considered alongside the untimely death of German and Hanover 96 keeper Robert Enke earlier this week.

The precise extent of the injuries sustained by Cudicni are as yet unsubstantiated, however it underlines the fragile nature of a professional sportspersons existence. To a mitigated extent, on field injuries and those sustained during training are considered part of the game and a occupational hazard. Career threatening injuries as a result of an everyday activity is something that must be much harder to swallow.

Cudicini (36) rose to fame after a number of solid performances for Chelsea during almost 10 years at the west London club, until being displaced following the arrival of Petr Čech. He previously enjoyed spells at AC Milan and Lazio. Cudicini completed a Bosman free transfer move to Spurs in January of this year and has made eight appearances under manager Harry Redknapp standing in for the injured Heurelho Gomes. His father Fabio was AC Milan’s goalkeeper in the 1960s.

A Metropolitan Police spokesperson said: “A 36-year-old male suffered injuries described by the London Ambulance Service as possibly life-changing and was taken to an east London hospital for further assessment and treatment. No arrests have been made.”

A statement on Tottenham’s website said: “Carlo Cudicini has fractured his wrists and injured his pelvis after being involved in a road accident this morning. The 36-year-old Italian goalkeeper has been admitted to hospital and undergone scans under the supervision of club medical staff.”

When I heard the news, although sympathising with Cudicini’s situation, I am forced to ask myself why he was riding a motorbike anyway. It is no coincidence the other parties involved in the crash walked away unscathed…because they were in a car. Cristiano Ronaldo famously planted his brand new Ferrari into the wall of a tunnel on his way to training with Manchester United on the 8thof January this year. He and a team mate got out of the car and then got a lift with Edwin van der Sar to Carrington and played a full part in training later that morning. The car was a mess, its inhabitants were fine.

There is lesson to be learned here, in particular if you are an athlete and your livelihood depends on the elite use of your extremities. It’s called risk management, or common sense, or the more wheels the better. Most professionals in Cudicini’s position have clauses in their contracts forbidding them to participate in potentially dangerous activities. There is good reason for this and perhaps the use of motorbikes as a method of transportation should be added to the list of don’ts. Harsh but True.

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