Foot­ball must wake up to con­cus­sion is­sues, says ex-robin Parslow

Gloucestershire Echo - - CHELTENHAM TOWN -

FOR­MER Chel­tenham Town defender Daniel Parslow says con­cus­sion pro­to­col must change to avoid players’ safety be­ing put at risk.

The 33-year-old missed the last three months of the sea­son after suf­fer­ing a blow to the side of his head in ac­tion for York City against Here­ford in Na­tional League North on Fe­bru­ary 5 and he is still re­cov­er­ing.

“It looked in­nocu­ous at the time, but it turned out to be a hell of a lot more se­ri­ous than that,” Parslow said.

“I had the bump and the physio came on and asked me my name and the score “I was then al­lowed to go back on, but I quickly re­alised some­thing was se­ri­ously wrong.

“My bal­ance was go­ing and I was see­ing dou­ble and I stag­gered down the tun­nel at half-time.”

Parslow was ob­served by York’s physio and then taken to the bed at the back of the chang­ing room, where the doc­tor told him he had delayed on­set con­cus­sion and he was put through some stan­dard mem­ory re­call tests.

“I had a se­vere headache and I felt sick, so I slowly show­ered and changed and the doc­tor came back in after the game and told me not to drive, so my wife picked me up,” he said.

“I’d bro­ken my nose a few times and had a few split lips, but never had con­cus­sion be­fore, but I was caught on a sen­si­tive part of my head.”

Parslow was ad­vised to rest, eat and sleep well and avoid watch­ing tele­vi­sion and that the symp­toms should ease.

“My wife said I looked ter­ri­ble so we de­cided to go to A&E,” he said.

“I saw a doc­tor who re­it­er­ated what the club doc­tor had said and that there was no bleed on the brain, so he sent me on my way.

“But I then had a tough few days. I had chronic headaches and light hurt, so all I could do re­ally was lie down and shut my eyes in a dark room, it was hor­ren­dous.

“I couldn’t move re­ally and I had strong mi­graines. The physio asked me how I was do­ing and I told him I was in a bad way, de­spite hav­ing 10 days of rest and the headaches were not shift­ing.”

The club doc­tor then ad­vised Parslow to have a scan to rule out the pos­si­bil­ity of a ‘slow bleed’ on the brain.

“I went to my GP at the lo­cal prac­tice and the symp­toms were so strong I had a CT scan at York Hospital, which con­firmed there was no bleed,” he said.

“It was re­as­sur­ing and I felt a bit bet­ter, but the headaches were still there and I’d gone three or three-and-a-half weeks with­out any ex­er­cise and ob­vi­ously hadn’t kicked a ball.

“I went to see a neu­ro­sur­geon in Birm­ing­ham and un­der­went cog­ni­tive tests, which all came back okay, but the doc­tors didn’t have a base­line test to com­pare my re­sults to in terms of mem­ory re­call and bal­ance.

“In an ideal world ev­ery player would have those base­line tests, but it comes down to bud­gets and time, so clubs’ hands are tied.

“I was in the nor­mal level for my de­mo­graphic, but I failed on eyes and ears with the bal­ance and vi­sion tests.

“I was there­fore a way away from re­turn­ing to play and with six weeks of the sea­son left, there was not enough time and I was ruled out for the sea­son.

“It was not the news I wanted be­cause my con­tract was up in the sum­mer, but health had to come first so I fol­lowed the ad­vice.”

Parslow feels he has turned a cor­ner in re­cent weeks, with headaches less fre­quent and he has not been feel­ing as tired.

“I am not my­self, but it’s that nig­gly last lit­tle bit now,” he said.

“I’ve stepped up my car­dio work and started some re­sis­tance train­ing, so I am mov­ing in the right di­rec­tion, and there has been no dizzi­ness. “York are al­low­ing me to use their fa­cil­i­ties, but there is no deal for me next sea­son so it’s a stress­ful time, but get­ting my­self healthy has to come first.”

After go­ing through such an or­deal, Parslow be­lieves new pro­ce­dures must be im­ple­mented.

“I know clubs have dif­fer­ent fi­nances, but players’ health needs to come first,” he said.

“At the mo­ment, medics are of­ten stab­bing in the dark so in my view those base­line cog­ni­tive tests should be im­ple­mented im­me­di­ately.

“I am not blam­ing my physio at all be­cause he fol­lowed the pro­to­col and the rules, but it needs chang­ing from the top.

“Jan Ver­tonghen (for Spurs against Ajax in the Cham­pi­ons League semi­fi­nal) had a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion to me, but it has since tran­spired that he did not suf­fer con­cus­sion.

“But you can have a delayed on­set of symp­toms and medics need time to prop­erly as­sess players, which is the case in rugby.

“Foot­ballers have a cou­ple of min­utes with a physio run­ning on and it’s not enough and in my case the symp­toms came on later.

“You need to be ex­am­ined by an ex­pert and it’s hard be­cause fans start to get rest­less when the game stops and of­ten they as­sume you are feign­ing in­jury.

“But a tem­po­rary con­cus­sion sub would be a huge step for­ward. Teams may ma­nip­u­late the sit­u­a­tion and I am not sure how that could be stopped,

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