Sports

New concussion rules are ‘deeply flawed’, says brain injury charity

F

ootball’s new concussion rules have been described as “deeply flawed” by a leading brain injury charity.

West Ham made the first concussion substitution in English football in their FA Cup tie at Manchester United on Tuesday after Issa Diop clashed heads with Anthony Martial.

Both men were allowed to continue until half-time when Diop was eventually substituted and replaced by Ryan Fredericks.

But Headway chief executive Peter McCabe says the new rule does not go far enough. He has criticised the way that Diop was initially cleared to continue playing following an on-pitch consultation before being substituted shortly afterwards at half-time.

“The decision to allow Issa Diop to return to the field of play after being assessed for concussion in just two minutes while still on the pitch shows just how deeply flawed this new protocol is,” said McCabe.

“When this rule was introduced to much fanfare, we warned that it would make very little difference in terms of protecting players from the risk of more serious injury.

“Had the FA followed the advice of Headway and other leading experts by introducing temporary substitutes, as successfully used in other sports, Diop would not have been at risk of exacerbating the injury to his brain during the seven minutes he was allowed to play on before half time.

“Instead, he could have had a longer assessment, which would have included the 15-minutes of half time, in a quiet treatment room. This would have given the medical team more time to make their decision.

“The new protocol has failed its very first test. Fifa and IFAB must act now to alter the rule and introduce temporary concussion substitutes to avoid such unacceptable risk being taken in the future.”


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