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Beyond the Mesut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac assault

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Sead Kolasinac deserves all the praise and admiration. But now we must focus on how they are best supported - by the club and supporters alike

Arsenal v FC Bayern - 2019 International Champions Cup Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

A day later, it’s still hard to not have immense pride in what Sead Kolasinac did in thwarting two would-be carjackers as they attempted to rob Mesut Ozil’s truck near Kolasinac’s home in north London. But my thoughts are past the heroic efforts of Kolasinac, and now entirely focused on the mental mind-states of both players as they continue to prepare for the start of the new season.

It’s safe to assume that neither Ozil nor Kolasinac have been in such a harrowing situation before, and if true then it’s safe to assume that neither have had a whole lot of practice in processing and understanding their emotions from such a traumatic event. Anyone who’s been a victim of an assault like this understands the effects of this can linger for months, even years. It’s imperative that Arsenal provide unlimited counseling and other mental health treatments for the players, as well as ensuring extra security is provided for them and any other player who might feel they might be a target in the future. Based on this eyewitness account…

“Özil looked absolutely terrified, as anybody would after being chased by men with knives. He looked like he was running for his life. And I suppose he was. I saw him disappear into the restaurant with the motorcycle guys on his tail.”

…it’s fair to say that the club should comprehend the magnitude and emotional impact this experience might and probably will have on the players involved. And that goes for supporters as well.

Part of playing a sport well is being of clear mind and conscious and having the ability to block out external factors. Fans will never be able to quantify how well a player can do this, so we as a collective should allow the assumption that if the players struggle to move past yesterday’s event it might show up in less-than-optimal performances on the pitch. That actually goes for every player who might be dealing with things in their life that aren’t as public and newsworthy as yesterday’s failed carjacking, but since that’s hard to know we can only surmise so much before the exercise becomes fruitless.

So while we applaud and celebrate Sead Kolasinac as a hero and an extremely brave person, let’s also move past the assault itself and recognize this wasn’t a normal, everyday thing they survived and show them the kind of support in the stadium terraces and beyond that we otherwise would for other people in our own lives that we care about.