Thursday, May 3, 2012

Kenya mourns death of women's rugby captain Aberdeen Shikoyi


Kenya mourns women's rugby captain Aberdeen Shikoyi – lot to be read into that news !

Sports is not a pastime or simply a passion – it is also a way to keep one fit and avoid obesity.  It is National pride.  There are some sports which look outright dangerous with risks of injuries and fatalities.  Cricket has its own share of injuries.  Here is an interesting post on some cricket injuries :    http://sampspeak.blogspot.in/2012/05/chang-gatting-mohinder-lamba-injuries.html

There can be lurking danger at most unexpected places as well.  The number of sports related  injuries keeps increasing every year. In US the highest no. is associated with basket ball whilst others bicycling, football and  other sports.  Surprisingly, the largest number of deaths were associated with head injuries while riding a bicycle. Most of these injuries resulted from accidents with motor vehicles due to heavy traffic, poor visibility, or failure to obey traffic regulations. Drowning while swimming was the next most common cause of death, followed by skiing accidents.

This is about a woman -  Aberdeen Shikoyi  who represented Kenya at the Dubai Sevens tournament amongst other events – she was captaining the side when she unfortunately died on Saturday in Nairobi.  While leading her team to the first leg of the Elgon Cup, the captain of the Kenyan women’s rugby team sustained an injury which later saw her to an early grave.  BBC reports that Aberdeen Shikoyi of the Kenyan rugby team sustained an injury when her opponent’s knee hit her spine during a tackle. She was further injured in the scramble for the ball afterwards which further increased on the injury she had earlier on incurred.  She sustained the injury at Kyadondo where her team was battling with Uganda for the Elgon Cup Clash.  Shikoyi was airlifted from the pitch and taken to hospital in Nairobi for surgery before the match ended. She however was not able to survive and died, a few hours after her team defeated Uganda in the second leg to claim the Cup.  It reportedly was a game which tempers flaring.  The referee had to stop play for close to seven minutes as blows shot out especially from the hosts who were apparently angry over their skipper’s injury in the Kampala leg.

The fatality was reportedly due to the collision with the burly Christine Kizito before being further injured in a scramble for the ball involving several players.  As it happens, after her death, rich tributes were paid to her.  "Aberdeen was a very, very brave girl and a very, very strong character - she was a natural leader and that why she very quickly became the captain of the Kenya women's team, and it's a team that has a lot of promise," Mwangi Muthee, chairman of Kenya Rugby Football Union,  was quoted as telling  BBC Africa.  The head of the Ugandan Rugby Union, William Blick, told BBC Africa it was a tragic accident, but no investigation was planned as it occurred as part of normal play.  On its Facebook page, the Kenya Rugby Football Union said it was organising a fundraising event to pay for her funeral - a memorial service will be held on 7 May 2012.  A fundraiser to offset funeral expenses  is slated to be  held  at 5.00pm on Saturday 5 May 2012 at the Nairobi Railway Club .

Was it a simple accident and whether she could have been saved, had there enough medical assistance – are the Qs that have risen.  Some reports that she tackled an opponent weighing over 100kgs who was running pretty hard; the  impact knocked over Aberdeen (about 65kgs) and the opponent landed on her neck knees first.  There are places where you have competent trained Medical assistance – perhaps Shikovi had no access to such advanced facilities which hastened her death !

By its very rules  Rugby football is played hard ; between the League and the American version one of the differences lie in the players' attire, with helmets, gloves and large amounts of padding around the body being the norm for American football.  Away some might be dazzled with the cheerqueens performing at the IPL. There are some reports that  the dazzling cheer girls  with their smiles and sequins, are at greater risk of serious injury than American football players.  Some of them have had devastating injuries to limbs and stress related injuries from their performance.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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