Concussions in professional sports are a delicate topic for athletes, teams, and leagues all over the world. Medical research has brought this issue to the foreground of the industry, indicating a demand for more precaution to be taken at all levels, including youth leagues. On Monday, the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) and the world player’s union Fifpro made comments regarding the current policy on concussions.
Fifpro medical advisor Vincent Gouttebarge stated,
Fifpro condemns that the health and safety of players are left to coaches, trainers or even to players themselves. Medical professionals should be aware of any relevant medical guidelines and apply them in order to empower the health and safety on the field.
John Bramall of the PFA concurred saying, “If anyone suffers severe trauma to the head and loses consciousness, they should be required to leave the field.” These comments are a direct reaction to Tottenham and Everton’s 0-0 draw Sunday where Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris lost consciousness after a collision with opponent Romelu Lukaku. Manager of the Spurs Andre Villas-Boas told media after the game that Lloris could not recall the incident that left him unconscious briefly.
It is important to take the pressure off the players, club medical staff, and the manager – removing the need for them to make a very difficult decision. The PFA will continue to work with the stakeholders within the game, to evaluate what guidelines are currently in place and to see if and how they need to be improved.
Similar incidents have resulted in lawsuits at the collegiate levels in the United States at the collegiate levels.