Premier League To Improve Concussion Rules

Players Suffering Head Injuries Must Now Leave The Field

05.08.2014

Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397
The Premier League has announced it will improve rules relating to head injuries from the start of the 2014/15 season to protect players from long terms problems after suffering concussion.

Last season saw a number of incidents where players stayed on the field after suffering head injuries, most notably Tottenham’s goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, who lost consciousness during a game against Everton, but continued to play on after treatment. 

Head injury charity Headway described Tottenham’s decision to allow their player to continue in the game as “irresponsible” and accused Andre Villas Boas, manager of Tottenham at the time, of having a “cavalier attitude” towards head injuries.

There were also notable incidents in the World Cup in Brazil involving Uruguay’s Alvaro Pereira and Germany’s Christoph Kramer.

Under the new Premier League rules, the club doctor will have the final say on whether a player should continue after a head injury, rather than managers or coaching staff. Measures have also been implemented to ensure home teams have a third doctor on-hand at pitch side. Medics will also carry a ‘concussion recognition tool’ containing guidance on assessing and dealing with concussion.

The “tunnel” doctor will assist the medical staff employed by the two teams involved in the game, spot players showing signs of concussion and watch TV replays of incidents to ascertain the severity of injuries.

The move is a positive step by the Premier League and follows a report from the University of Newcastle which revealed even milder forms of traumatic brain injury can lead to problems with thinking and memory.

All players in the Premier League will also undergo baseline neurological assessments as part of their annual medical check-ups to help doctors understand their needs during recovery from a head injury.

Expert Opinion
The Premier League’s rule change that will see players with head injuries removed from the field for assessment and additional medical staff on hand to treat them is welcome, and comes after long debates and discussions regarding the serious issue of player safety and concussion in sport.

"Our work on behalf of victims of serious head injuries means we see the consequences that such incidents can have both in the short term but more importantly the longer term, so we understand the problem and believe that these measures will go some way to reducing the effects of concussion within the Premier League.

“Brain injuries are life-changing and we believe it is vital that these actions are extended to other leagues and other contact sports to ensure those who suffer head injuries are given the appropriate level of care and their wellbeing is the top priority for anyone treating them.”
Stephen Nye, Partner