If you have ever stepped foot in a neurosurgery ward, you will likely never forget it.
Heads are bandaged. Faces are bruised and bloodied, swollen beyond recognition.
Those patients who are conscious communicate chiefly with eye movements – either etched with agony, or with an apathy that portrays a grim inevitability.
For every few patients you see, there will be a man with seemingly half his head missing (thanks to a decompressive craniectomy, a procedure where part of the patient’s skull is removed in order to relieve pressure on the brain).
I can promise you this much: it sobers you up real quick.
However, if you read some of the initial reports on Jesse Ryder being put in a medically-induced coma due to a serious assault, you could be forgiven for thinking that Ryder wasn’t in fact a victim of an assault, but that he deserved to be in hospital, fighting for his life.
Many news outlets included a ‘timeline’ of Jesse Ryder’s ‘troubled past’, when all police reports and eyewitness accounts repeatedly stressed that the assaults were unprovoked. Many media reports shone an expositional spotlight on Ryder’s somewhat infamous history, almost as if to imply that being in a coma was the result of karmic retribution for putting his hand through a window five years ago.
As news of Jesse Ryder’s condition broke, yellow journalism became an epidemic.
One news channel was particularly cringeworthy in its brazen attempts to ‘sex up’ the story, even asking a panelist:
“Is it time for Jesse Ryder to clean up his act?”
“Well, he’s in a coma right now…but since you’ve put me on the spot…”
The media outlets in question were swift enough to pounce on Jesse Ryder’s troubles, so why didn’t they mention his numerous good deeds? In fact, Jesse Ryder is a living, breathing example of how cricketers can be role models, and more pertinently, how even if they might have personal demons, they can still be good samaritans and inspire fans to do good.
For example, why didn’t the media mention that Jesse Ryder donated his match fees from New Zealand’s domestic T20 competition to Angus Little, a five-year old with a brain tumour – coincidentally, Jesse is now being treated at the same hospital where Angus is an outpatient.
Also heard on the same TV show: “Delhi Daredevils will need to find a replacement [for Jesse Ryder] – do you find that at all problematic?”
Thankfully, recent reports suggest that Jesse Ryder is getting better. We wish him a speedy recovery – although of course, we should all spare a thought for the Daredevils at this most difficult time. They are the real victims in this tragedy.
If you want to wish Jesse Ryder well, you can tweet him or write a letter, but even better would be to visit AngusLittle.com and make a donation. If any good can come out of Jesse’s situation, let it be that this young boy’s case is publicized!
NB: We could have linked to various sites and mentioned specific offenders in this article. However, to give them more hits, and the oxygen of publicity would be self-defeating.