I 'Carneiro' believe it…

Yet again I read with dismay, despair and disgust that an experts medical opinion and emergancy decision making is being second guessed, criticised and now punished by coaching staff in professional football, this time it’s Chelsea’s José Mourinho against his club doctor Eva Carneiro.

Carneiro is arguably the most well known doctor in professional football, heck probably in all sports. Not just because she works for a high profile club like Chelsea FC, but also because she is a very succesful and talented female doctor in a very male dominated profession. And of course because she is extremely good looking and attracts her fair share of the media spot light.
However Carneiro has made the headlines today due to being reportedly banned from the bench for all of Chelsea’s future matches by Mourinho after an incident last weekend.
This ‘incident’ was her simply doing her job, attending to a suspected injured player. It occured in the last few minutes of stoppage time with the game against Swansea drawn at 2-2. Carneiro and the club physio ran onto the pitch to assist Eden Hazard after he went down during a tackle, however Chelsea were already a player down due to a sending off and so by Carneiro attending and subsequently removing Hazard from play for a few minutes leaving them two men down, Mourinho told the media he thought it left Chelsea tactically disadvantaged and exposed.
This blaming, finger pointing and public flogging of medical staff by coaching staff over their decisions to attend to a player or not, or even remove them from play or not is becoming more and more common.
It needs to stop!

Simply put, medical staff have a job to do that supersedes any coaching job, ever.

End of discussion!
When did coaching or tactics, become more imortant than player welfare and safety? When did coaches decide what medically trained professionals can, or can not do? When did making high pressure snap judgements and erring on the side of caution get rewarded with critisim and scorn, rather than support and solidarity?
When you have personalities rather than professionals in charge thats how!

Having had some experience in the pressure of emergancy sideline work, I know its tough, really tough. Its 90+ minutes of mentally draining and emotionally exhausting work, trying to stay constantly aware of all the players all of the time, keeping an eye on the flow of the game and of course the emotion of the results.
Making a decision to run on, or not if you suspect a player is hurt is down to a lot of factors. First and foremost is the incident. Any head collision and/or if a player ‘stops and drops‘ thats it you’re on like a bullet, fuck the ref, fuck the coaching staff, but these are rare!
Then there are the ‘bone crunchers’ these are when you physically wince watching the tackle, you grab your bag and wait by the sidelines, these go either way, these are 50/50, these are tricky. However, more often than not its usually a simple knock or a innocuous tackle, your player rolls about looking highly distressed for 2.3 seconds then bounces up and makes a 25 metre max effort sprint when the ref waves play on.
What usually helps my decision to run on or not is knowing the player, some can take knocks and often bounce back without making a fuss, others not so, these are the softer lads who like a bit of drama and TLC.
It must also be remembered that in football it is also for the ref to decide if a physio should attend to a player or not, by stopping play and waving them on.
However, if I’m in doubt I would always err on the side of caution and run on, and yes, often I would get over to the player only to see him wink at me, or get up before I get to him, ask me for some water and run off… Bastard! Thats when you take the slow walk back, usually from the furthest corner from your dug out, thinking you prat, you should have known he was alright!
Now, I wouldn’t say Eva made a poor call in this fiasco. First the ref waved her and the physio on, which means they have to go, it’s the rules. Next, Hazard is not a soft lad, he is used to being kicked about and usually not known for ‘crumpling like a cheap suit’. I always remember the state of his shins during a match with Galatasaray last year (see picture below) so I think Eva was right to go to Hazard when he stayed down, it could of meant he was hurt.

He wasn’t, luckly for him, but not so for Eva. Now Mourinho publicly criticises her and removes her from the bench for all future matches. This is just not right. I wonder if Mourinho would have been as quick to commend or congratulate Eva if Hazard was seriously hurt? Or if he has criticised Hazard as much as he has Eva for leaving them exposed?
There really needs to be a shift in the culture of professional football around this. Professionals not personalities make the final descions on player welfare and safety, end of discussion.
This needs to be supported by us all, not just other healthcare professionals, but the public, the fans, and the media.
If personalities like Mourinho are lambasted and criticised more often about this kind of crap, then they may hopefully think twice before doing it again. The more up roar we can create, the more egg on the face we can give the personalities, it may mean the professionals can do their job (albeit with the odd over cautious decision now and then) without the fear of loosing their job.
So come on, lets support our medical staff more in the circus that is called professional sport.
As always thanks for reading



  1. Absolutely brilliant! You couldn’t be more right. You can only really understand this point of view if you’ve been in that situation. Cheers!

  2. Very well said. Also from working in a championship football academy, I’m pretty sure the FA require a doctor to be pitch side, we have to have one. So I’m not sure how that will work out :/

  3. Sadly and still surprisIngly this also happens between schooling and the medical profession. It goes with out saying who has priority but you would be surprised sadly

  4. She’s so well known you’ve managed to spell her name wrong each time you’ve mentioned it! 🙂

  5. Jose deflecting the blame from his players again. That’s all this is….Psychological. Make his players believe it was not there fault (or his)!
    Still very wrong.
    Similar discussions here in Oz about NRL concussion and Sports docs!

  6. You have it completely wrong. Most of the time these guys are not injured. They are playing for time. It was not a head collision or anything like that. Hazard is well known for pretending to be injured to get a player booked or waste time. If you look at the context of the game he was wasting time as chelsea were under the extreme pressure. It was obvious he was not injured. As is the case with him 90 percent of the time. With her experience she should know better weather he is injured or not.

    • The simple matter of the fact is the ref waved her and the physio on to attend the player, that means go on… End of story and as I said Hazard isnt the usual soft lad or the worst offender for feigning injury

  7. Ah Meaks, Coach here. Just stalking your very entertaining blog. Your article on Jose and Eva got me thinking, taking me back in time to the glory days of travelling to Carlisle and Darlington on a raining Tuesday night then down to Exteter the next day with the “ressies” bloody showbiz that was !
    You forgot one very important fact, you did not mention the scenario of a player going down injured (the winking at you type of injury) in the furthest corner, resulting in the legendary home player being sent off in controversial circumstances, a player brawl and you winning 1-0 with only minutes remaining. This scenario, results in you having to walk back to the dug-out past the home fans “kop end”. Often getting feedback on your waistline and collecting enough salivary samples to carry our post graduate research (not that you are interested in that type of thing).
    Of course Jose was wrong and he knows that, its whether it bothers him is the intriguing point for me. The issue as I see it here is that there is more than one personality involved (do you not read the Sun ?) . Eva, as you well know is a very professional individual and also an extremely nice lady, society and “football” is interested, rightly or wrongly, in Eva not just because of her professional medical standing.
    With any team I work with or influence we have a simple rule, “no opinions in public” I am not saying that the decision Jose would have taken in this case would be any different but it could have been managed a little more appropriately. Or maybe that’s not what Jose wanted …..
    Hope you well buddy.

    • Hey Coach…
      Thanks for the comments and the very entertaining story, I really don’t know what the supporters could of possibly be saying about your waist line, apart from how jealous they were of it! ?
      Must admit I never had that, but I did trip over my own kit bag during a run on, which everyone found entertaining, including the bloody ref!
      Hope all is well your end

  8. I think you’re article is very accurate. I worked with high profile teams before and if you tell a manager a player is unfit to play they will look for a 2nd and possibly a 3rd opinion. I also feel that some, if not all of the premiership players should spend some time playing Hurling. When they go down in one of those games you know it’s serious!!!! 🙂

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