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Diop concussion shows new subs rule ‘deeply flawed’ Main Image

Diop concussion shows new subs rule ‘deeply flawed’

Wed 10 Feb 2021

The first use of a concussion substitute in football in the UK has highlighted the ‘deeply flawed’ nature of the newly-introduced rule, according to leading brain injury charity Headway.

After 36 minutes of an FA Cup match between Manchester United and West Ham United on 9 February, Anthony Martial (Manchester United) and Issa Diop (West Ham United) clashed heads at a corner kick.

The players received on-pitch treatment for two minutes before they then both returned to the field of play, only for Diop to be removed at half time, becoming the first player to be substituted via the new protocol.

“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 Peter McCabe, Chief Executive of Headway – the brain injury association.

“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 football's authorities 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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Headway - the brain injury association is registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales (Charity no. 1025852) and the Office of the Scottish Regulator (Charity no. SC 039992). Headway is a company limited by guarantee, registered in England no. 2346893.

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