Tottenham Hotspur defender, Jan Vertonghen, chose to play on rather than go off the pitch, after suffering a head clash in Tuesday’s Champions League semi-final first leg defeat by Ajax Amsterdam.
Although the player was later substituted, this event prompted brain injury charity, Headway, to call for changes to the FIFA rules.
“Introducing substitutes specifically for concussion is a possibility and something worth discussing,
“But if you bring a player off for 10 minutes and they are then reintroduced without warming up properly, it’s more likely to lead to muscle injuries… there are problems with that too.” — D’Hooghe
The brain injury charity has also called for the introduction of “independent doctors with expertise in concussion” to be the final say on if a player is fit to continue the game.
As much as it is paramount for FIFA to look into this, D’Hooghe believes it would be quite difficult for independent doctors to assess players, since clubs and teams already have their medical crews and they know the players better.
“The advice from FIFA and UEFA is clear. At every occasion and before every tournament we tell the doctors that they must follow the protocols,” he added.
According to D’Hooghe, the team doctors must take responsibility for their own players, and provide optimum care on-the-go to properly assess the players fitness levels, both physically and neurologically.
FIFA has stated that it is open to having discussions on changing the rules governing temporary substitution of players who suffer serious head injuries during the game.
If successfully implemented, this would ultimately lead to less cases of severe brain injuries and better care for players who suffer head clashes during matches.
Featured image source: JSTOR Daily