The topic of head injuries within a football match setting was discussed at length on Monday, after the sickening clash of heads between Arsenal’s David Luiz and Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Raul Jimenez, which left the latter with a fractured skull.
Thankfully, after undergoing surgery, Wolves released a tweet to note that Jimenez is said to be comfortable.
At the time of the incident, it seemed abundantly clear to all concerned that it was serious, and yet, after the briefest of assessments, Luiz was allowed to continue playing and, shortly after, blood began seeping through the bandages on his head.
The safety of players must be absolutely paramount within the game but, unlike their rugby counterparts, the rules and regulations surrounding head injuries in football appear woefully inadequate.
Raul is comfortable following an operation last night, which he underwent in a London hospital.
He has our love and support as he begins a period of recovery.
We’re all with you, @Raul_Jimenez9.
— Wolves (@Wolves) November 30, 2020
Watford’s Troy Deeney spoke at length about it on talkSPORT on Monday morning, and though the tweet published by the outlet was deleted after an outcry on Twitter, Balls.ie reproduced his opinion.
“Things have already been taken away from the players,” he said.
“You’re already told how much you can run, how much you can’t, by sports scientists. At some point there has to be an element of trust between player and doctor.
“As a player you know when something is not right.
“What I would say from watching David Luiz, for the next 20 minutes afterwards, he never looked shaky on his feet, his legs weren’t gone from underneath him.
“They followed all the protocols (and) he has ticked every box. Then afterwards you don’t see anything other than blood to suggest he’s in a bad way at all.”
Dr. Eva Carneiro, a Sports and Exercise practitioner who worked for Chelsea for over seven years, suggested that, in fact, because of the nature of concussion, players shouldn’t have a say in whether they play on or not.
“Unfortunately the nature of concussion makes the player unable to self-assess,” she told CaughtOffside.
“These are sometimes literally warriors of men who will do anything to continue playing. When your brain has been shaken in its skull it may not function normally.
“In football we sometimes live for the moment but sadly concussion can come back to bite many years later in a way that destroys players lives and those of the family that care for them.
“It is hard to understand this even as a senior player sometimes, but the damage that is happening to your brain is real.
“Symptoms can also develop after minutes but may take hours. I will add though that only the doctors on the field are in a position to make that immediate assessment regardless of how it looks to people watching at home.
“Current regulations in football limit the doctors assessment to minutes but symptoms may develop later so it’s unfair to criticise medical teams who adhere to current football protocols and are forced to make early decisions.”
TalkSPORT’s Simon Jordan poured even more petrol on the flames when he noted that an automatic substitution wouldn’t be the answer.
“If a player gets a head injury does he get subbed & a 4th sub allowed?”
“If you get into that territory you have to move to an automatic sub.”
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) November 30, 2020
Frankly, there shouldn’t even be room for discussion amongst those in the game unless they’re qualified doctors.
Carneiro speaks from a standpoint of authority, and if anyone should be listened to, it is her and her colleagues and no other.
It begs the question at what point will the football authorities and clubs finally do something about this? Is a fractured skull not serious enough…