Does head injury guidance in football make any difference to how players are treated?

Only a week or so after writing here that new head injury guidelines had been announced by the Premier League, one of this weekends games has resulted in controversy.

Thibaut Courtois, Chelsea’s goalkeeper collided with Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez in the 10th minute of their game. Courtois appeared to take a knee to the head and be momentarily knocked out.

Headway chief Peter McCabe said “it was hard to understand how a concussion was not suspected”. The goalkeeper was assessed on the pitch by the Chelsea medical staff and was allowed to continue until the 24th minute, when he was substituted for Petr Cech.

The BBC reported that when he was taken from the pitch he appeared to be bleeding from an ear! McCabe went on to say “if there is any suspicion of the player having sustained a concussion, they must be removed from the field of play, and not allowed to return”.

Chelsea Manager Jose Mourinho was happy to defer to his medical staff, which begs the question why was concussion not suspected and why was the keeper not removed straight away for his own safety.

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