Sporting bodies failing to take concussion seriously, says charity

Football’s “pointless protocols” are risking lives, a charity has warned amid of flurry of inappropriately treated head injuries.

Headway, the brain injury charity, is calling for better protection for players who are at risk of serious brain injuries as a result of playing on after sustaining a suspected concussion.

The report comes as a response to a sharp rise in the number of players in the professional and amateur game suffering concussions without receiving the necessary treatment.

Headway points to two recent incidents, one involving Olympique Lyonnais goalkeeper Anthony Lopes, who was allowed to play on for 11 minutes during a Champions League match against Barcelona on Wednesday before having to be removed. Napoli goalkeeper David Ospina also had to be given urgent treatment after collapsing on the pitch last month 35 minutes after colliding with a player.

Commenting on the events witnessed last month, Peter McCabe, Chief Executive of Headway, said he is “deeply shocked and appalled” at these latest examples of concussion protocols not being followed in football.

Under FIFA’s own guidance, players suspected to be suffering from a concussion should be removed from the field and not be allowed to return. This is done so the injury can be properly assessed by medical professionals.

However, “Both players have been badly let down and left unprotected by football’s failure to take concussion seriously”, said Mr McCabe.

“There’s a real fear that it will take a catastrophic injury to a high-profile player before any real change in attitudes is forthcoming.”