November 30 – Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Mexican striker Raul Jimenez has undergone surgery on a fractured skull after a sickening first-half clash of heads in his team’s 2-1 win over Arsenal on Sunday.
Jimenez was rushed to hospital after receiving oxygen on the pitch but Arsenal’s Brazilian defender Luiz was allowed to carry on playing after having his head bandaged, rekindling the debate over the need for concussion substitutes.
Luiz was eventually replaced at half time and Arsenal, who have now had their worst start to a top-flight campaign for 39 years, insisted protocols were strictly adhered to.
But according to English FA rules players who sustain a suspected concussion, either during training or in a game, should immediately be removed from the pitch and not allowed to return until the appropriate treatment has been administered.
The clash between Raul and Luiz left both players on the ground for an extended period of time and the brain injury association Headway expressed its “anger and disappointment at football’s continued failings to protect its players from concussion”.
“Too often in football we see players returning to the pitch having undergone a concussion assessment only to be withdrawn a few minutes later when it is clear that they are not fit to continue,” Luke Griggs, Headway’s deputy chief executive, was quoted as saying.
“That is the very reason why we urgently need temporary concussion substitutes in football. You simply cannot take a risk with head injuries. One further blow to the head when concussed could have serious consequences.
“The question that has to be asked is, had the concussion substitutes rule been in place, would Luiz have been allowed to return to the field of play? Would that extra time in the treatment room have led to a different decision being made?
“The sport continues to promote an ‘if in doubt, sit it out’ approach to head injuries. Time and time again we are seeing this rhetoric not being borne out by actions on the pitch. Something is not right. This cannot be allowed to continue. How many warnings does football need?”
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