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Not for the faint of heart: Toronto let Michael Bradley play with this gash on his head

Mar 22, 2014, 8:03 PM EDT

michael_bradley AP

When Michael Bradley returned to the game at BMO Field late Saturday, nobody could have guessed the wound would have looked like this. It was mid-way through the second half, and the cut that had forced him to the sidelines looked like it had been contained. Over the last 20 minutes in Toronto, Bradley’s head was a non-issue as the Reds saw out their second win of the season.

Now that we’ve seen the 13 staples in the U.S. international’s scalp, the injury doesn’t seem like such a non-issue. Post-game, after Bradley displayed a cut that appeared to be in excess of two inches long, you couldn’t help but wonder why was one of Toronto’s most valuable assets allowed to continue against D.C. United.

The injury occurred well after Bradley had helped set up the game’s only goal – a 60th minute score from Jermain Defoe. In a head-to-head collision between the midfielder and United veteran Danny Arnaud, Bradley temporarily led the game, returning minutes later with his head wrapped in a bandage. Arnaud, with his face bleeding, was removed from the game in favor of Kyle Porter, his team tailing 1-0.

After the match, Toronto-based reporters Kurt Larson (left) and Cathal Kelly (right) grabbed these shots:

source:  source:

With Toronto up one — with just over 20 minutes left in the game — why was Bradley put back on? Is there no procedure in place where a trainer can go to a coach and say “that cut looks really bad”? Or is there no mechanism in place where the staff simply assesses the risks against the rewards and decides it’s not worth it?

Sure, Bradley probably felt he could continue, and given everything we’ve heard from BMO Field, there was no reason to think there was any conscious-related reason to keep him out. But this is why you don’t leave the decision to the player, especially when they can’t actually see the wound. That’s is a pretty big cut, and so early in the season, with a goal-starved D.C. United trying to comeback, why was Bradley risked?

You want to give the Toronto staff the benefit of the doubt, but one wayward elbow or another collision of heads and that cut could have gotten really ugly. Well, uglier.

  1. midtec2005 - Mar 22, 2014 at 8:39 PM

    Common… it’s a cut, not a concussion. This is a non-issue. What’s he gonna do? Make the cut worse? I would expect nothing less from him. Did McBride leave the WC when his face got cut open?

    • Richard Farley - Mar 22, 2014 at 8:51 PM

      What’s he gonna do? Make the cut worse?

      Yes.This is not an insignificant issue. Even if you’re not risking serious injury (which is a false assumption, but let’s run with it), any worsening of the cut could prolong Bradley’s recovery. When you’re already up 1-0 against the league’s worst attack — in a low strakes game (second of the season) — you probably should stop and ask “is it worth subjecting my star of further harm,” just as you should ask with any injury.

      Re: McBride … this wasn’t exactly the World Cup on Saturday.

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