Everyone calling Cooper Cronk a legend for playing with a broken scapula is enshrining this nation’s problem with pain management in crystal and exacerbating the issue.
Cronk had access to superior pain management through his team (he had at least 4 painkilling injections throughout the week, most of us are unable to access any).
Any suggestion of duty of care to players from the team is being met with bullying and harassment (and remember, workers compensation for sports injuries is the rare exception, as professional sports aren’t covered for precisely this reason) on social media, because playing through the pain is to be praised because of dedication to the team/the sport, yada yada.
But the real issue is that while people like Cooper Cronk, Adam Elliott, (etc… etc… etc… and so forth) are publically noted for playing through injuries, people like Bowen Lockwood are left with no financial support and the inability to work after doing so. People like me are further stigmatised for not being able to do things because of chronic pain because ‘famous people (with access to instant, personalised, expensive, dedicated medical care that non-professional-sportspeople cannot hope to have) can do it so why can’t you?’. Every player who doesn’t play through an injury (potentially making it worse or opening themselves to longer-term or more significant consequences) is automatically not-a-legend because of it – even when not playing is better for the team, even when playing should logically be impossible. Every player who retires through injury or through medical advice due to long term consequences or because not being in pain is more important to them than throwing a ball around with mates in a bubble-world, is not tough enough. And that then flows down to us, the people who don’t work because standing is excruciating, who don’t get out of bed because walking is exhausting, who live in the dark because lights hurt, because if Cooper Cronk can play a Grand Final with a broken shoulderblade and painkillers, why can’t we?
Because we don’t have access to that kind of medical care (let alone effective or partially-effective medication), because when we ask for it we’re made to wait or told it’s not that bad or we don’t need it or if we just went back to work/ate better/lost weight/gained weight/wished on a star we’d be fine again, because people like Cooper Cronk can do it so everyone can and if they don’t they’re ‘less’.
Now, excuse me, I’m an introvert and with all the crap going on that I, as a non-professional non-sportsperson who is ace and non-binary, have to deal with in order to be able to walk from my computer to the kitchen and back, I cannot actually cope with online people, let alone discuss it without ending up in a rage-induced panic attack, so I’m going to go be alone and try not to cry for a while longer, because I have to stockpile spoons just to function.