NRL health crisis reaches boiling point
A leading health expert has warned that an “as yet unknown” medical epidemic poses a bigger threat to the future of rugby league than petty internal squabbling and rival codes combined.
Professor Dragan Lance, whose inspirational work with young head lice victims in regional Queensland has seen him described by colleagues as “the best doctor never to play Origin”, wasn’t surprised by the revelations of a second outbreak of boils in the playing ranks of the Canberra Raiders since 2008.
Calling the outbreak “a natural consequence of sending the team to camp on the Central Coast and away from their regular linen washing service”, Professor Lance says he’s been waging a silent campaign on player welfare for months but has only now felt compelled to speak up.
“There’s been a lot of talk about racial vilification at Origin games and the hard work of women in league dominating the media over the past couple of weeks,” Professor Lance, who once treated an entire NRL under-20s squad with “chronic acne rosacea”, told The Roar.
“But this personal hygiene crisis has been looming since Julian O’Neill first laced up Jeremy Schloss’s boot in the late ‘90s.
“Then you’ve got guys like Nate Myles exposing themselves to all sorts of infection risks by dropping kids off in hotel hallways instead of pools, not to mention the courageous efforts of players who regularly brave the walking disease incubators that are fan days and coaching clinics,” he shuddered.
The prevalence of knee ligament damage, pectoral tears and brain injuries are, according to Professor Lance, “just fallacies spread by fear-mongering rogue doctors looking to get their names in the papers”.
His own incredibly detailed personal speculation on the matter has concluded that the real threat to rugby league players is yet to reveal itself.
“You’ve heard of Lou Gehrig’s disease?” Professor Lance asked rhetorically. “Well there are 400 players in elite NRL squads around the country, and I think it’s inevitable that one of them with a slightly exotic name will put their hand up – not just a Hoppa-esque digit or two, but their whole hand – to develop a unique and horrifying contagion that will put rugby league back in the international spotlight.”
Professor Lance revealed he first tried to take his story to a Fairfax Media publication but “couldn’t get a word in between the journos uncontrollable sobbing”, while the News Limited press would only speak to him on the condition he claimed the Canberra boil outbreak could be traced back to ARLC chairman John Grant’s Maserati.
He’s vowed to continue his selfless fight until boils are defeated.
Or contested scrums are reintroduced to the NRL.
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