Dr Eric gets his teeth into memories that leave him smiling

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 27 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 27 March, 2011, 12:00am

When it comes to the oral history of the Sevens, Dr Eric Carter is your man. As the tournament dentist from 1986 to the early 90s he has plenty of memorable incidents to chew over.

In 1990 the doc was summoned to the physio room to see to a Scottish lad. 'He was clutching his rib-cage and bleeding from the mouth,' says Carter. 'Doubled over, he was a miserable sight. The duty doctor gently touched him on the shoulder and asked: 'Where did you get hit son?' 'Down near the 22 mark', the victim replied. Even the player had to join in the laughter, which, with two broken ribs, was not easy for him,' says Carter, still smiling at the incident 21 years later,

In the 1980s Carter needed to attend to 'a giant of an American Eagle who was pole-axed by a Tongan opponent' and carried off unconscious. 'Unlike females who will gently respond to supportive care on coming out of a brief unconscious spell, the male ... can wake abruptly and attack the nearest member of the perceived oppressive human race.

'I was not prepared for the scene that followed. As I entered the tunnel to the physio room the giant had just awoken and visions of The Incredible Hulk are now a permanent feature of my memory.'

The same year he was asked to see the captain of the Penguins, a rough and tumble group of expats. 'I remember a lanky fellow who had played for Australia. He had fractured the crown of one of his lower incisor teeth, which he attributed to the elbow of a Kiwi opponent. My job was to get the tooth back into normal shape because he wanted to look his best at the Monte Carlo Sevens the following week,' laughs Carter.