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Timbers to Host Special Testimonial Match Before Thursday’s Game

25 August 2010 2,640 views 5 Comments

From the Timbers:

TIMBERS TO HONOR JIMMY CONWAY WITH TESTIMONIAL
Club to host testimonial match Aug. 26, featuring Timbers alumni

For immediate release: Aug. 16, 2010
PORTLAND, Ore. – Partnering with the local soccer community, the Portland Timbers will honor former player and assistant coach Jimmy Conway with a testimonial and when they play host to a testimonial match Thursday, Aug. 26, at PGE Park. A team of former Timbers players will face a select team at 5 p.m., prior to the Timbers match against the Austin Aztex at 7 p.m.

Among the several events honoring Conway, who has been diagnosed with trauma-induced dementia, the testimonial match will pit a team of Timbers alumni against the Oregon Select XI, which is comprised of players Conway coached at the youth and collegiate levels. Conway is expected to play for both sides during the match.

Tickets for the day are $12 in advance and will allow entry into both the testimonial match and Timbers game against Austin; gates open at 4:30 p.m. Tickets are available through the PGE Park box office, area Ticketmaster locations, online at www.ticketmaster.com or by phone at (800) 745-3000.

“Jimmy is a great person and a true gentlemen,” said Gavin Wilkinson, Timbers head coach and general manager. “He has done more for the development of the sport in the state of Oregon than people will ever truly realize.”

Conway, 64, will also be recognized by the Timbers during a special presentation at halftime of the match against the Aztex. In addition to his time with the Timbers, Conway also had a significant impact on the development of soccer at the youth and collegiate levels in Oregon for nearly 30 years.

The concept of a “testimonial” match has a long history in Europe and can be traced back to the days when clubs honored long-serving players prior to retirement. Conway’s family, friends and colleagues planned the testimonial activities after learning he had been diagnosed with trauma-induced dementia last fall.

Among the players scheduled to play for the Timbers alumni are Wilkinson (2001-06), John Bain (1978-82), Darren Sawatzky (2001), Paul Conway (2005), Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar (2002-06), Greg Howes (2001-02), Andrew Gregor (2004; 2007-08), Lee Morrison (2003-07), Brian Winters (2001-05) and Dale Mitchell (1978-82). Members of the Oregon Select XI side include former Timbers goalkeeper coach Jim Brazeau (2001-05; 2007-09) and player Eric Cronkrite (2004).

After starting his career in Ireland and with top-flight English clubs Fulham and Manchester City, Conway was transferred to the Timbers’ North American Soccer League franchise in 1978. He was one of the great playmakers of the Timbers’ NASL era, totaling seven goals and 15 assists in 61 matches during his three seasons as a player with the club. Conway, who earned 20 caps with the Ireland National Team during his playing career, served as an assistant coach for the Timbers from 1980-81 and then again for the current franchise from 2001-05.

Conway’s coaching resume also includes time in the college ranks with Pacific University and Oregon State University as well as three decades at the youth levels, coaching elite teams at the state and regional levels. He recently retired after 28 years as the director of coaching for Oregon Youth Soccer Association.

Additional information on the Jimmy Conway testimonial and its events can be found on the official website at www.jimmyconway.com.

Here at Dropping Timber we feel that competition related head-trauma is a serious and important issue facing soccer today. We feel that everything should be done to raise awareness about the potential hazards and risks that are out there on the field. Player safety is an issue that’s currently under the microscope for other major sports in America, such as helmet collisions in the NFL or the role of fighting in the NHL for instance. So it’s certainly a topic that the MLS needs to consider heavily as well. Clearly, it’s unrealistic to take all physical danger out of sports, it’s simply a part of serious athletic competition. And it’s not anyone’s goal to stop sports altogether and it would be frivolous to try (Jay DeMerit hid a mutilated tongue from his coaches so he could stay in a World Cup game). Athletes love the sports they play and most would play for free, but it’s simply about raising awareness and prevention. As long as people know what they’re getting into and the dangers are minimized, then what else can be done?

Here’s a piece Dropping Timber did earlier this season regarding player safety:


An Important Heads Up Before the Season

With all the recent attention that has been paid to head injuries in the NFL recently, it’s inevitable that the spotlight will eventually be shone down upon soccer and other injury-prone sports. And for good reason. Although the benefits of athletic competition are easily apparent (teamwork, dedication, hard work, etc), all too often the physical and sometimes life-threatening risks can be overlooked, denied, or simply ignored. Many barriers towards stronger safety measures exist in soccer, most commonly the assumption that soccer isn’t a dangerous sport or that heading the ball is simply fundamental to the game. Former players who naively hold to the belief that if they themselves played the game for years free from head trauma then it can’t possibly be a serious issue. For instance, observe the blase’ attitude this site takes with head injuries.

However, this couldn’t be further from truth. Recent studies have shown that the percentage of injuries in soccer that are head related account for about 2-4% of all injuries. And although a seemingly small number, this percentage is very comparable to American football. The main concern here is TBI or Traumatic Brain Injury, which is defined as an external force causing traumatic injury to the brain. TBI can also be categorized as mild, medium, or severe and can cause a host of physical, cognitive, emotional, and behavioral effects with outcomes ranging from complete recovery to permanent disability or death. Common physical symptoms may include headaches, loss of consciousness, nausea, dizziness, and blurred vision among others.

So what is the cause of head injuries in soccer? Heading the ball obviously, right? Well, not so fast. According to one recent report, a majority of head injuries are caused by….continue reading

Posted by Kevin

5 Comments »

  • totalnerd said:

    FYI — it's not made clear in the press release, but your season ticket is good for admission to the Jimmy Conway game. I kind of figured it wouldn't be, the point of testimonials being to raise money; if I weren't broke I'd probably buy an extra ticket.

  • Anonymous said:

    Jump the fence for Jimmy!

  • Sean said:

    It will be great to see these former lads play. Those names are blasts from the past. I am most excited to see Bain play, last time I saw him play was for the Pride.

  • Kevin said:

    If I wasn't broke…..I could say that about so many dreams in my life (sigh)…..lol, anyway, the Conway testimonial will be pretty fun I think. Dropping Timber will be there covering the event, here's hoping that some other fans decide to spend a nice afternoon reminiscing, drinking some beers, and enjoying a god-spirited soccer match in the sun. And its for a good cause, if you need a quality self-righteous excuse :)

  • HBK FC said:

    Pre-funking for a good cause! Im always down for that. Plus I really want to see ol' gavin huffin and puffin tryin to kick that ball around the field, that's gonna be awesome.

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