Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Azarenka sustains concussion, collapses on court

It was a scary moment today, when we saw Victoria Azarenka--who was clearly suffering from some malady--suddenly just go limp and drop to the court surface during her first set against Gisela Dulko at the U.S. Open. Though it was very hot, it appeared from the beginning of the set that something else was bothering the 10th seed. It was easy to flash back to the 2009 Australian Open, when Azarenka--who had vomited incessantly the night before because of food poisoning--became exceedingly weak and had to retire, after winning the first set against Serena Williams.

Azarenka, who has now been discharged from a hospital, says that she not only felt weak--she had a headache and some vision problems. Those are symptoms of a concussion, and that's exactly what she has. Prior to beginning the second-round match, Azarenka fell and banged her head on the court when she fell while running a sprint in a training session.

Victoria Azarenka is either quite fragile, or she has a lot of bad luck. She retired during a Fed Cup match in February, saying she felt sicker than she had ever felt. She has also had a run of leg and thigh injuries this season.

Azarenka was among the players favored to win the U.S. Open. I hadn't counted her out at all, though--just last night--I remarked to someone that I thought Dulko might give her trouble. Instead, Dulko gave her ice as she lay crumpled on the baking hard court in Flushing Meadows. This is a most unfortunate turn of events, but the good news is that Azarenka is not seriously ill.


Anonymous said...

I have had a number of concussions so I know how they present; it sounds like you do, too. I am honestly appalled that the USO MDs (prior to the match) could not diagnose Vika's, and allowed her to play. Then to miss what was going on with her ON court, when she asked for the trainer... it's mystifying to me. One statement I read mentioned that she was being monitored, but it doesn't seem like it. They offered her a medical time out. ? What was that supposed to do for her? I hope it really wasn't as poorly handled as it appears from the outside looking in.

You don't need an MRI to diagnose a concussion, so a lack of MRI is not why they missed this. I just-- I can't believe that the situation reached the point where she collapsed on the court (and hit her head again). I'm very glad she has come through this without manifesting something much more serious.


Diane said...

Did you see Dulko shooing ballkids away so she could actually get to Azarenka with some ice?

Azarenka just didn't look right at all. Her symptoms could have reflected a number of things, but there were people who saw her fall on her head before the match, and it was known by all who mattered that she had fallen. I don't quite get it, either.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, it was scary. And yes, her symptoms on court could have indicated other things, but I'm fairly certain I read a statement tonight (perhaps hers?) which said that she was examined by MDs prior to the match and they approved her to play, so the medical staff knew she had suffered head trauma.

If it's true that she was examined, and if it's also true that she was being monitored by the medical staff - the actions of the trainer and whoever else was with him/her at Vika's chair on court seems pretty negligent. Dizziness/vertigo; vision problems; headache; confusion are the things that were being said by the teevee folks while this was going on. (I assume overheard by the reporters). Those are classic concussion signs, including one potentially serious one (the vision problems).

Sorry to go on -- this is a button pusher for me, obviously. I thought we were past the point of dismissing head injuries as no big deal. I hope Vika has an uneventful recovery.


Diane said...

I'm with you. Fall down and hit your head--get dizzy, your head aches, can't see right---concussion. I don't know what was going on in terms of the monitoring, but it doesn't seem right.

(I'm having a bit of trouble with comment editing, so my edited comment omits some things I meant to save.)