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Just Another Football Match In Europe – Another Head Injury

As a lifelong Liverpool FC fan of course there is never “just another football match in Europe”

I raced home last night after my daughter’s football training to start watching the match and although the Gods (Firmino and Salah) worked their magic for an LFC win. I am, in the cold light of day, writing on the same subject again. Head Injury in Football.

I have previously written during Euro 2020 (played of course in 2021) about what happened in Munich at the match between European Heavy weights France and Germany. To recap the French defender Benjamin Pavard was involved in a collision with Germany’s Robin Gosens in the 58th minute of the match.

He subsequently confirmed to French broadcasters BeIN Sports that “I was knocked out for 10 – 15 seconds. After that, it was better”

The 24 teams at Euro 2020 had signed a “concussion charter” which commits to taking a series of steps to enhance the care of players and includes neurological testing along with a gradual return to play. This was not followed then and things don’t look to have improved much.

Fast forward to the Champions League 2022 last 16. The San Siro Stadium. AC Milan v Liverpool FC.

Stefan de Vrij ( AC Milan defender ) suffered a blow to the head after 30 mins play. He was treated with an ice bag to his head – clearly indicating (from my sofa I could see this clearly) that he may have had double vision. He was ushered back onto the pitch

His manager was keen for him to continue, so was he. Unbelievably, he hit the deck near the end of the first half but got up and carried on playing.

Fully expecting him to be subbed at half time, no he came back on.

When will clubs change the culture and start protecting the players from themselves?

Currently, the England FA along with the Netherlands, Portugal, Japan and US have trailed using concussion substitutes.

The FA have already produced a concussion guideline: “If in doubt sit them out”
Yet this basic guidance which is carried out at grassroots was not followed on the European stage

In line with the FA guidelines anyone with a suspected concussion must be immediately removed from play. It can take days or weeks for the brain cells to return to the pre-injury condition. They must have physical and cognitive rest. There is also an increased risk in returning to play after sustaining a concussion before the brain has had a chance to recover.

Headway the UK wide charity that works to improve life after brain injury also campaigns for the removal of players after a head injury.

The Chief Executive of Headway, Mr Peter McCabe, has been vocal in condemning what happened on the pitch as sickening and I wholeheartedly agree with him.

It’s not clear what action UEFA will take with respect to AC Milan as to why de Vrij was allowed to carry on playing.

For now it’s just another woeful display of care after a head injury.

If you have suffered a brain injury due to someone’s else negligence and wish to discuss your situation with our leading personal injury solicitors, please call us today on 0330 822 3451 or request a call back online.