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‘Premier League needs to define what ‘doubt’ means’ Main Image

‘Premier League needs to define what ‘doubt’ means’

Mon 21 Feb 2022

Headway – the brain injury association has spoken out against yet another high-profile concussion incident in football.

Leeds United defender Robin Koch suffered a blow to the head in a collision with Manchester United’s Scott McTominay in the twelfth minute of a game on 20th February.

The defender was treated for a cut to the head but was allowed to continue playing for another 20 minutes before dropping to the ground and appearing to make signs to his bench that he was struggling, moving his hands in front of his face to suggest problems with his vision or balance. He then had to be helped off the pitch before being substituted.

“Yet again we are left completely frustrated and confused by football’s approach to concussion,” said Luke Griggs, Deputy Chief Executive of Headway.

“Medics have a tough time when trying to make on-pitch concussion assessments. The game simply has to help them by implementing temporary concussion substitutes.

“It is hard to believe that if they had ten minutes to assess the player in the quiet confines of the dressing room that they would have come to the conclusion that he was fit to continue.

“We need urgent answers from the Premier League as their reputation is on the line here.

Concussion protocols in all sports clearly state ‘if in doubt, sit it out!’. The Premier League needs to come out and explain to everyone – particularly impressionable youngsters and grassroots players – what the word ‘doubt’ actually means because I think we have a different definition.

“Robin Koch had to be helped from the pitch, looking dazed and making blinking signs with his hand, with no signs of blood flowing from a head wound. It is hard to draw any other conclusion as to why he could not continue other than that he was experiencing concussive symptoms.

“The days of Terry Butcher soldiering on with a bloody bandage are gone. We cannot continue with a ‘patch them up, get them back out there’ approach to head injuries. Players must be protected.

“There needs to be greater transparency with these incidents. Silence from the Premier League is not helping. Instead, it is just confusing matters and undermining all efforts to lead an evolution of attitude towards head injuries at the grassroots level.

“Enough is enough.”
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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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