Fans of every team will lose patience with a referee for stopping a game whenever any player goes down clutching their head, but the incident between Raul Jimenez and David Luiz shows exactly why that happens.
Footballing authorities will tell everyone that they are all about player safety and how it’s the number one priority, but the rules aren’t set up to help anyone when it comes to concussions and head injuries.
Players are competitive so they’ll tell you they want to play on no matter what, while a manager who’s under pressure is likely to make a decision which gives them a better chance of winning a game instead of looking after their player’s long term health.
READ MORE: Former PGMOL boss Keith Hackett on head injuries in football – We must act before someone dies on the field
We saw the perfect example on Sunday when David Luiz played on despite suffering a sickening clash of heads, so it’s led to Mikel Arteta calling for the introduction of temporary subs to allow players to be properly assessed:
“It’s just a suggestion if we want to be extra protective.”
Mikel Arteta says concussion substitutions in football should be considered.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) December 2, 2020
Caught Offside spoke to former PGMOL boss Keith Hackett to get his views on how this could be implemented, and it’s clear he’s in favour:
“Firstly the decision for a player to leave the field to undergo a concussion inspection has to be made by an independent person, not the managers.
“This is a medical judgement and decision. The Premier League already provides a doctor for every game and they also have an ambulance on standby.
“Guidelines should be introduced where an independent medical expert decides if a player can continue to play.
“The laws of the game would need to be changed to allow the introduction of temporary concussion substitutes, while the substitution can be made permanent if the injured player cannot return to the game”
It’s hard to make any reasonable argument against this but it would come down to the Premier League to vote on any changes, but Hackett thinks they need to act on this soon.
“There are twenty shareholders who make up the Premier League Board, so it’s they who would vote on any potential changes.
“Each club is a shareholder and they have a duty of care towards their employees, so the sooner this is introduced the better.”
There’s always a fear that football waits for a disaster to happen before they agree to make big changes, so hopefully they can shake that habit and bring football in line with other sports when it comes to taking concussions seriously.