Fifa’s Concussion Protocols Questioned Following Women’s World Cup Head Injuries

Calls For Independent Assessment Following Head Injuries

02.07.2015

The protocols put in place by football’s governing body concerning concussion and head injuries have been called into question after two players were not assessed by an independent doctor during a semi-final in the Women’s World Cup.

USA’s Morgan Brian and Germany’s Alexandra Popp clashed heads during the game and received treatment for four minutes on the pitch. Brian was seen holding her head following the collision, while Popp suffered a cut and was bandaged by medical staff.

However, both returned to action, with Brian playing for 89 minutes and Popp the full 90 minutes. Former USA player Taylor Twellman, who was forced to quit football after a series of concussions, called into question the commitment to player safety.

After multiple head injuries at the 2014 men's World Cup, FIFA's medical committee proposed new regulations for managing concussions, which ensures team doctors have time to examine players for signs of concussion on the pitch following a head injury.

However, campaigners have called for independent doctors to be made available to conduct the assessment and for an extra substitution to be permitted in cases where players have suffered head injuries, to enable teams to protect their players.

Stephen Nye, a Partner and expert sports injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said:

Expert Opinion
Progress has been made on the way head injuries and concussions in sport are treated, but incidents like this indicate there is still some way to go.

“Head injuries can have a serious impact on players and if the correct assessment, treatment and care is not provided then these injuries can have long-term consequences. A number of professionals, in a variety of sports, have been forced to retire as a result of continued concussions and it is vital steps are taken to ensure anyone suffering a head injury is given the care and support they need.

“Debate around handling head injuries and concussion is always welcome and we hope progress will continue to be made to introduce safety measures at all levels of sport, not just for elite players.
Stephen Nye, Partner