You almost certainly haven’t heard of Lori Chalupny. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t learn her story.
The 26 year old is, according to people who know these things, “the most complete and versatile player” on the United States women’s soccer program.
Except she’s not going to play for the Americans anymore, despite the fact that she’s still a dominant force on the Atlanta Beat of Women’s Professional Soccer and easily boasts enough talent to star on the Red, White, and Blue squad.
Why not? Concussions.
Here’s the deal: Chalupny has had five or six concussions during her career and “the U.S. Soccer Federation, in consultation with one of the leading experts on sports head trauma, has not cleared her to play for the national team.”
The decision is the USSF’s to make, and Chalupny is okay with it.
“I don’t have any bad feelings toward them and I’m grateful for the opportunity given to me,” she told the Washington Post. “There is part of me that wishes they would reconsider. It’s a difference of opinion. They’re looking out for my best interests – I get that – but I feel fine.”
That said, she’s likely the only athlete in the world who can play for her professional team but not for her country. The best practices involving concussion treatment aren’t close to standardized. It’s an absurd situation, one that hurts the credibility of everyone involved. Either Chalupny should be allowed to play or she shouldn’t. End of story.