Hold The Back Page: 25/06/2011



Tread carefully in SW19 minefield


Wimbledon is a dangerous place. Well, dangerous in a safe, middle-England sort of way.

That bastion of British society, the St John Ambulance service, and its 50 volunteers who congregate in SW19 have their hands full throughout the fortnight. Last year, they treated 1,721 people with 24 more sent to hospital.

What's the most common injury? Blisters. About 20 to 30 per cent of people they see have dressed up for the occasion, finishing the ensemble off with a shiny new pair of ill-fitting wheels.

Beware the flower beds and Murray Mount too, since insect bites are a common complaint.

And it seems watching long baseline rallies are bad for the health: four people so far have been treated for neck-ache.

King of coma-dy out for the count

If you believe the hype, David Haye – shy, retiring, respectful heavyweight champion of the world (for several hours more, at least) – is hanging up his gloves in October. What will he do instead?

If Haye's tweet this week is any guide, one métier to avoid is stand-up. "Wife walks into bedroom & says to husband, 'Shall I slip into something that will make you smile?' Hubby replies, 'Yes. A coma u ****!'"

Let's deconstruct it: theme from the Seventies, superfluous swear word and exclamation mark showing a lack of confidence. Don't fight on, David, we'd hate you to do damage to that razor-sharp wit.

Red card with a sting in the tail

Cubic Zirconia is, marginally, more attractive than a torn, bloody earlobe – a footballer is forbidden from wearing "anything dangerous to himself or another player" – so the sight of the Hackney Marshes amateur with an Elastoplast on each ear is a common one.

During a match in Melbourne last week Aaron Ecclestone, "a disillusioned Mansfield Town fan, Down Under," needed treatment after taking a blow in a very sensitive area, a very sensitive area where the sharp-eyed – perhaps too sharp-eyed – referee noticed a piercing. How that may be dangerous to other players is a moot point, and you may think the damage to himself was already done, but Aaron was understandably loath to prove he subsequently removed the offending adornment. Red face, red card.

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