Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Travis is a Cheater!

Couldn't find a photo in school uniform. Think his gloves were sold at Target!
Travis Cloke, a key forward at the Collingwood Football Club was fined yesterday for wearing a glove on his left hand. The wearing of a glove is not a new thing; not for Travis, not for patients of mine, not even for a fat bloke I went to school with called Tony Campbell  (he played for Melbourne and Footscray back in the day and would have no idea who I am!). The problem with Travis is that he wore a glove that is prohibited for use in AFL football. The bigger issue I think is that there is no way that Travis or the staff at Collingwood could not have known that that glove was on the unapproved list. 

Palm completely covered by silicone coating
Travis’ glove is made by Nike, and has a full silicone covered palm. It is incredibly sticky, and there is no doubt in my mind that it would have given him an advantage in the game last weekend. The reason this glove was not used more often by others, apart from the fact that it was banned two years ago is that the stickiness hampers ball drop, i.e. release of the ball when kicking. This is why gloves are usually removed when players kick for goal. 

Suction caps for hands
There is a readily available list of the approved gloves put out by the AFL to all clubs. I’m happy to forward this list on to Collingwood and I’ve already shown it to players from the Eastern Football League. The problem with the list is that the best glove, the Franklin with its’ pseudo suede palm, is no longer easily found. Gloves are not commonly used in Australian sport, although they are in America where there does not appear to be such a hang up about equipment designed to give players an advantage, or even a modicum of protection. That being said, the NFL is investigating whether the tackiness of a glove needs to be regulated. 

Go Sharks!
The rules governing what can be worn at a professional level and what can be worn at an amateur level are often very different and variable. There is no way that my son could have taken the field for the Camberwell Sharks under 13’s with Travis’ glove. I tell all my patients to make sure that any protective splint or guard I supply is compliant with the rules of their sports’ governing body or risk being told they can’t play. 

Gloves are usually worn for protection of a finger or hand injury, to more easily permit adherence of a thermoplastic guard, or to compensate for a loss of strength due to pain. On this last point, it is unlikely they help, with grip and pinch strength shown to significantly deteriorate once gloves are donned (Rock, 2001). 

Gilbert make a range of gloves for rugby,
some are AFL approved.
Another researcher with too much time, Dr Lewis at the University of Sheffield, has determined that different glove surfaces are appropriate for different weathers, with the spacing of “pimples” on the palm of the glove dramatically altering ball handling errors in Rugby 7’s players by enhancing the friction between palm and ball essential for grip. He predicts a time when gloves and balls will be designed in such a way that they can “interlock”! Say it isn’t so. 

And that is the point isn’t it? Friction. Travis didn’t need to enhance his grip strength. He may have a chronically sore finger, but that could have easily been protected by a legal glove. Instead, Travis Cloke and the Collingwood Football Club knowingly chose to use a glove that was banned in 2013 not for marketing issues as club president Eddie McGuire claimed, but banned because its’ full silicone palm was too sticky and provided too much of an advantage. 

Hey @AFL I know you guys banned some gloves today, I was just checking that mine was still ok? Cheers Jack
That advantage allowed him to kick four goals in a game his team was expected to lose. That advantage allowed him to have his best game for the year in a season where he hasn’t been able to get a kick in the magoos. That advantage was illegal, he knew that, and that’s why Travis Cloke and the Collingwood Football Club are cheats. 

Look after those fingers,


The effects of gloves on grip strength and three-point pinch Rock, Kim M;Mikat, Richard P;Foster, Carl Journal of Hand Therapy; Oct-Dec 2001; 14, 4; Health & Medical Collection pg. 286


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