Shortly after the home draw against Sheffield Wendies, I wrote an article expressing concern about Leeds defender Giuseppe Bellusci’s potentially damaging celebratory routine. He has this habit of showing his delight at scoring by executing a singularly ungraceful wheels-up landing from an altitude of approximately four feet, impacting Mother Earth on his unprotected tailbone, or coccyx – as we medical anoraks call it. Bellusci had already performed this trick once, after his worldie free-kick down at Bournemouth. Now, having notched a point-saver against the dee-dahs, he was at it again. Wincing, I took to my computer and penned a cautionary piece, never dreaming anyone would take it seriously.
To my surprise, however, there was some professional interest out there in Twitterland. No less a personage than the highly respected American “Tailbone Specialist” Dr. Patrick Foye, M.D. – Director of the “Coccyx Pain Center” at New Jersey Medical School – commented on the article, asking: “Can anyone point me to a video clip showing this athlete doing this celebratory display where he lands on his tailbone /coccyx region?” Happily, one of my remarkable band of regular readers, D. Bowden, was considerate enough to post in the same comments thread the following video clip of Giuseppe’s Bournemouth crash-landing.
The good doctor was clearly most alarmed. “Yikes!” he responded. “Definitely an avoidable risk for tailbone pain! In the world of risks/benefits, we all take risks, and sometimes it’s just to look cool. But this doesn’t look cool at all. All risk; no benefit. Good soccer skills though. Thanks for the video share.“
Once I’d got over my surprise at an actual doctor taking the time and trouble to address a concern raised by my humble blog, it occurred to me that this was as near to wisdom straight from the horse’s mouth as we’re likely to get. In short, it’s expertise (given freely and without thought of recompense) that anybody running this risk will disregard strictly at his peril. It seems to me also that, as his employers, Leeds United might do well to review Bellusci’s post-goal conduct and perhaps have a quiet word with him about it.
After all – as ever with Leeds United – we have no shortage of problems, controversies and other issues both on and off the pitch. There is no need to go courting ill-fortune at the best of times and, at Elland Road, it’s always in plentiful supply anyway. Even if we were a mundane and boring football club, like certain of our Yorkshire neighbours, we wouldn’t be looking to the playing staff to enliven proceedings by inflicting orthopaedic disaster upon themselves. Better, surely, just to consider the matter and perhaps arrive at a more tranquil alternative for the celebration of future goals. And let us fervently hope that there are many more to come for, defender or no defender, Bellusci has the potential to be a Leeds United hero in the opposition’s penalty area.
My thanks to Doctor Foye for his valuable input and expert advice; I hope it reaches the ears of our Warrior in time for him to adopt a slightly more circumspect approach in whatever moments of joy and triumph the rest of this season may hold.
Thanks, Rob, for sending me the link to this! I don’t think anyone has ever before written a blog on things I’ve said. I’m flattered.
I’m glad, too, that you said my advice was straight from the horse’s mouth, and not from elsewhere in the equestrian anatomy.
Each year, I see hundreds and hundreds of patients suffering from tailbone pain. It can truly be life-altering and in some cases life-long.
Most cases are not easily preventable. But here is an example of someone throwing his own body weight (that of a grown man) down to land hard onto his tailbone and other sit-bones. That’s a preventable injury waiting to happen.
Anyway, I hope of course that he has a wonderful and healthy career. I hope that whether he keeps this up or not that he suffers no ill from it. But he is tempting fate.
Also, is he famous enough among local young sports fans that kids may start trying to mimic his celebratory coccyx contusions?
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Thank YOU, Doc, for responding so helpfully to my original point. It’s always good to hear from a pro in whatever field any article might touch upon; the more so when the pro has an engaging sense of humour as well as a fund of specialist knowledge. In my beloved football club’s world, the alternative area of equine anatomy I think you refer to is aptly represented by former United and current Football League CEO Shaun Harvey – so now we have both ends of the horse.
The point you make about footballers as role models is currently topical for controversial reasons. A neighbouring club’s player has just been released from prison after serving thirty months for rape. Do you allow him to resume his career, knowing he will be looked up to by thousands of impressionable young men? Or do you turn him out of the game, knowing you’re denying him the chance for rehabilitation, when society appears to be saying he’s paid the price for his crime? There’s at least a whole blog there, but the moral of kids looking up to and possibly being influenced by star footballers is a real one. Bellusci’s behaviour is innocent and on a different plane altogether to violent crime, but the worry about him being copied by younger people is still there, particularly when you consider the chance of young athletes curtailing their ability to function or inviting chronic pain/disability. Footballers do have this moral responsibility, as far as I can see.
Thanks again, Doc – I hope your concerns and advice don’t go unheeded.
Where have you been Rob? You are sorely missed here, and as much as Neil Redfearn has been, in the dug out.
I’m still around thanks Eugene – just been a tad less productive lately due to family circumstances. Appreciate the kind words! MOT
Here’s a story that should cause comments.It has nothing to do with the above.
Last night was watching Pointless on the Tele, when up came the question about UEFA cup winners one of the answers given was Leeds United, back came the answer, No Leeds did not win the cup.
Just shows how wrong some of these researchers are.
What’s your thoughts on wrong information given about our team Rob?
I think that, on this occasion, the researchers are right as Leeds United never did win the UEFA Cup. We won the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup on two occasions, the latter being 1970-71 I think, beating Juventus in a two-legged final on away goals. This was the last Fairs Cup, the UEFA Cup replaced it the following season. There was actually a play-off for permanent retention of the trophy, between Barcelona, the first winners and Leeds who won the last competition. Sadly, Barça beat us 2-1. I was thinking about this the other day, as I believe the old League Championship Trophy should be contested in a play-off between Preston North End (first winners) and Leeds United (Last Champions). Now THAT’S something I might even get up a petition about…
How any article with such bizare content could be so enjoyable I don’t know? Probably because the deviation from FA wrangles, Cellino’s alleged superstitious nature and erratic match day performances is welcomed relief.
If you enjoyed it, that’s all I can ask – thanks fella, MOT
I have to say Rob old boy , you’re spending an unhealthy amount of time thinking about bellusci’s bottom these days !!! lol
not looking forward to tomorrow , back to work in rotherham !!
That’s unfortunate Mr O – you’d be better off joining me in ongoing contemplation of the Warrior’s posterior 😉
Maybe Bellusci should take a look at this Rob: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/29689747
That’s a pretty bleak worst-case scenario!! 😳