General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 20 Nov 2017/5 Eagle
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Professor Eric Taladoire

Question for March 2012

Did they have medical teams on hand [in the ballgame] in case there were injuries? Asked by Bishop Winnington-Ingram CE Primary School. Chosen and answered by Professor Eric Taladoire.

Ballgame ceramic model from West Mexico
Ballgame ceramic model from West Mexico (Click on image to enlarge)

It is impossible to talk of medical teams, as we know them. But there were certainly people able to help an injured player. We know, from ethnological [research] data, that players used knives (obsidian blades, in those times) to let out blood from haematomas [internal bleeding resulting from an injury]. Besides, sweat baths are frequently located close to ballcourts (in Tonina, for instance), so that we think that players might have gone there after a game to relax.
Lastly, and partly because of their religion and experience of human sacrifice, Mesoamerican people had a much better knowledge of the human body than the Spaniards, for instance. They were better prepared for injuries.

Photo courtesy of Eric Taladoire.

Read another of Professor Taladoire’s answers on the ballgame

Professor Eric Taladoire has answered 5 questions altogether:

Did the Aztecs have hospitals?

Did they have medical teams on hand [in the ballgame] in case there were injuries?

How many people watched the [ball]game?

After the ballgame, did they perform the sacrifice(s) straight away...?

Would they have carried on playing the ballgame if it was pouring with rain?

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