Call for foot­ball con­cus­sion subs

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - Front Page - By Tim Wig­more

Fifa has been urged to bring in con­cus­sion sub­sti­tutes by the chief med­i­cal of­fi­cer for the global play­ers’ union.

Con­cerns have been raised about how foot­ball deals with head in­juries af­ter a num­ber of high-pro­file in­ci­dents, and Vin­cent Gout­te­barge, chief med­i­cal of­fi­cer for FifPro, says the sport’s gov­ern­ing body must fol­low rugby’s ex­am­ple and al­low tem­po­rary re­place­ments to give doc­tors more time to as­sess an in­jured player.

Games are stopped for just three min­utes to al­low med­i­cal staff to as­sess a player with a sus­pected con­cus­sion, with the player then asked to leave the field if fur­ther treat­ment is re­quired.

The Sun­day Tele­graph can re­veal that pre­lim­i­nary dis­cus­sions are un­der way between Fifa and FifPro over ex­tend­ing that pe­riod of on-field treat­ment, but Gout­te­barge has called for the au­thor­i­ties to go fur­ther and in­tro­duce con­cus­sion sub­sti­tutes to en­sure there is no re­peat of the 2014 World Cup fi­nal, where Ger­many’s Christoph Kramer played on for 14 min­utes af­ter suf­fer­ing a con­cus­sion.

“Rugby has this pos­si­bil­ity to sub­sti­tute a con­cussed player with an­other one,” Gout­te­barge said. “In foot­ball, we do not have that. If you want to make changes you will have to look at the laws of the game.

“We would have to look at sub­sti­tu­tions. We will need to cre­ate more time for the med­i­cal team to as­sess a po­ten­tially con­cussed player. This is the main thing. How can we cre­ate more time for the med­i­cal team?

“That does not mean we should copy and paste what they are do­ing in rugby. But we will have to be a lit­tle bit less con­ser­va­tive and more in­no­va­tive and proac­tive in or­der to pro­tect the health of the player. Of course there is a way to make any­thing manda­tory. The peo­ple who are deal­ing with the laws of the game need to make the call.”

FifPro’s calls echo those of Premier League doc­tors who sup­port con­cus­sion sub­sti­tutes, as The Tele­graph ex­clu­sively re­vealed ear­lier this year.

It is thought the lack of a tem­po­rary re­place­ment en­cour­ages play­ers to re­main on the pitch rather than leave their side a man short, par­tic­u­larly if they have used all their sub­sti­tutes.

Gout­te­barge be­lieves that must be ad­dressed, start­ing with an ex­ten­sion of the time given to as­sess a player with a head in­jury.

“It takes at least 10 min­utes to as­sess a player on the side­lines for whether he or she has a con­cus­sion,” he said. “Th­ese three min­utes are not suf­fi­cient – you need to cre­ate new rules for the med­i­cal team to do a proper job and make a proper di­ag­nos­tic.”

FifPro wrote to Fifa af­ter the Kramer in­ci­dent at the 2014 World Cup, ad­vo­cat­ing con­cus­sion sub­sti­tutes, but Fifa re­sisted, claim­ing th­ese could be abused by teams.

No change to the laws of the game, such as al­low­ing for con­cus­sion sub­sti­tu­tions, can be made without Fifa’s sup­port. “We are talk­ing to them and try­ing to make the right rec­om­men­da­tions. We are not there yet but we are at least in pos­i­tive dis­cus­sions right now,” Gout­te­barge said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.