Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - UK football’s head injury policy is a ‘shambles’



UK football’s head injury policy is a ‘shambles’

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Manchester United's English defender Harry Maguire recieves treatment to a head injury during the English FA Cup semi-final football match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium in London, on July 19, 2020. Andy Rain/POOL/AFP

UK football’s head injury policy is a ‘shambles’

A concussion expert told British lawmakers on March 9 that football’s management of head injuries was a “shambles” during a parliamentary inquiry on the issue.

The House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee probe into concussion in sport comes as concerns grow over the potential risks of long-term brain injury.

England 1966 World Cup winner Bobby Charlton has recently been diagnosed with dementia and a group of former rugby internationals are involved in a legal case against a number of governing bodies after being diagnosed with neurological conditions.

Consultant neuropathologist Willie Stewart, speaking to members of Parliament, said he could not understand why football had not followed rugby’s path in introducing temporary substitutions, which allow a longer period of time for a potential concussion to be assessed.

“Football has a habit, whenever it is forced to develop, of going out on their own and trying to develop something unique to everybody else as if the problem never occurred before,” he said.

“What football has introduced is a shambles in 2021.”

Football’s lawmaking body, the International Football Association Board (IFAB), has approved trials of permanent concussion substitutes, with the initial on-field assessment period remaining at three minutes before next steps – further examination or a substitution – are taken.

Asked whether temporary substitutions were preferable, Stewart added: “Unquestionably. Rugby has made great developments in understanding how you can assess and identify players with brain injury on the field, and that should be the model and the benchmark that [other] sports start from.

“They shouldn’t be starting with a blank page and drawing up a protocol, they should just be saying: ‘How do we make that happen in football?’”

Stewart led a 2019 study which found that professional footballers were three and a half times more likely to die from neurodegenerative disease compared with members of the general population.

He said head impacts were probably leading to long-lasting brain injuries in athletes across a range of sports but that it would be a “virtual impossibility” to prove it beyond reasonable doubt.

Stewart said rugby could be made safer even though it was a contact and collision sport.

“On the one hand, the global business, the industry, there is a revelling in the collisions and the contact, but it’s doing a lot of damage to young men and women so they are desperately trying to find a solution,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Omicron patients can stay home: PM

    The Ministry of Health has issued a directive on the treatment of people who have tested positive for the highly transmissible Omicron coronavirus variant, following a suggestion from Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of January 21. The directive permits home quarantine for those who

  • The effects of the USD interest rate hike on Cambodian economy

    Experts weigh in on the effect of a potential interest rate expansion by the US Federal Reserve on a highly dollarised Cambodia Anticipation of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike in March is putting developing economies on edge, a recent blog post by

  • Cambodia’s first ever anime festival kicks off Jan 22 at capital’s F3 centre

    Phnom Penh's first ever Anime Festival will bring together fans, artists, shops and other local businesses with ties to the Japanese animation style for cosplay competitions, online games, pop-up shops and more on January 22, with Friends Futures Factory (F3) hosting. F3 is a project that

  • Demining rat ‘hero’ Magawa dead at 8

    A landmine-hunting rat that was awarded a gold medal for heroism for clearing ordnance from the Cambodian countryside has died, his charity said on January 11. Magawa, a giant African pouched rat originally from Tanzania, helped clear mines from about 225,000sqm of land – the equivalent of 42

  • Hun Sen gets 4th Covid shot, urges compatriots to follow

    Prime Minister Hun Sen and his wife Bun Rany on January 14 received their fourth dose of Covid-19 vaccine and called on compatriots to follow suit as the Omicron coronavirus variant continues to spread in the community. This marks the launch of Cambodia's fourth-dose vaccination campaign,

  • Fourth dose Covid booster drive jabs 43K in two days

    In the first two days of the fourth-dose Covid-19 vaccination campaign, more than 43,000 people volunteered to get the jabs, while over 4.6 million people have received a third shot. Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said that fourth-dose vaccinations, which began on January 14 exclusively with the Pfizer