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Knocked out: Global players’ union want action after World Cup concussions

FIFPro say the decision needs to be taken out of the hands of team doctors.

Kramer played on for 11 minutes before being substituted.
Kramer played on for 11 minutes before being substituted.
Image: Hassan Ammar

THE INTERNATIONAL UNION for professional footballers wants FIFA rules about on-field concussions to be investigated.

FIFPro say the issue needs to be examined after Uruguayan player Álvaro Pereira overruled doctors advice and returned to the field of play after blow to the head against England in the World Cup.

In last night’s final, German midfielder Christoph Kramer received medical attention after Ezequiel Garay’s shoulder connected with his jaw in the 17th minute.

Kramer looked dazed but played on for 13 more minutes before being helped from the field.

Argentinian player Javier Mascherano was also involved in a clash of heads in the match against Netherlands and appeared dizzy on his feet before playing on.

An editorial published today in The Lancet Neurology journal calls for sports authorities to consider the long term neurological problems repeated concussions can cause.

The authors say that FIFA’s current “recognise and remove” policy is clearly failing and argue that decisions need to be taken more independently.

https://vine.co/v/MxDeb3mnPB6

In particular they argue that the decision to substitute a player should be taken out of the hands of team doctors:

Because signs and symptoms of concussion can be delayed, removing an athlete when there is any suspicion of injury would seem to be the safest approach. The decision on whether Pereira should leave the field for assessment was left in the hands of the Uruguayan team doctor and team officials, but such decisions should surely be taken out of the hands of those with a vested interest in the player’s performance.

The editorial points to research into sports-related traumatic brain injury which shows repeated concussions can lead to long-term problems like dementia.

They want any player exhibiting signs of concussion to be removed from play immediately because many of the problems are not always appratent at the time.

“Because signs and symptoms of concussion can be delayed, removing an athlete when there is any suspicion of injury would seem to be the safest approach,” they argue.

Read: Should Javier Mascherano be free to play on after reacting to a head injury like this? >

Read: Warrior ethos is putting players’ lives at risk >

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