Driving the truth

When I was younger, one of traits of those involved in sport was plain speaking and a readiness to speak clearly about most things.

Most of that openness is long gone and sportsmen and women can now obfuscate with the best when it suits then.

But today I think we have a classic of its kind – the statement issued by McClaren about their driver Fernando Alonso who appears to have been concussed when his car crashed in practice.

First note that they issued a statement, so could not be publicly challenged on what they were saying.

Secondly note the use of the extraordinary phrase “environmental risk factors.” What on earth does that mean? I googled the phrase and was no wiser.

It is a classic phrase that appears full of meaning but conveys nothing. It probably pleased the author but actually caused the rather hysterical speculation on twitter because it gives the clear impression that McClaren have something to hide.

Here is that statement in full:

“Having performed an exhaustive series of tests and scans – some of them as recently as yesterday evening – McLaren-Honda driver Fernando Alonso’s doctors have informed him that they find him asymptomatic of any medical issue; that they see no evidence whatsoever of any injury; and that they therefore describe him as entirely healthy from neurological and cardiac perspectives alike.”
“However, Fernando’s doctors have recommended to him that, following the concussion he sustained in a testing accident at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on February 22nd, for the time being he should seek to limit as far as is possible any environmental risk factors that could potentially result in his sustaining another concussion so soon after his previous one, so as to minimise the chances of second impact syndrome, as is normal medical procedure when treating athletes after concussions.

“In order to limit those environmental risk factors, specifically, his doctors have advised that he should not compete in the imminent Australian Grand Prix meeting, which will take place on March 13th, 14th and 15th.”

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