During a Premier League match with Everton in November, Tottenham Hotspur keeper Hugo Lloris lost consciousness after his head collided with striker, Romelu Lukaku’s knee. Lloris was determined to continue to play and was cleared by the club’s medical team and the manager, despite a suitable substitute ready and waiting. After the match, Lloris could not remember the collision, a possible sign of concussion and he was taken for a precautionary CT scan. Although, Lloris has been given the all clear, the situation has caused much discussion amongst football organisations and charities as to the safety of players after a head injury.
The Professional Football Association have argued that the rules should be changed so that when a footballer suffers a serious head injury they should be removed the pitch immediately. John Bramhall from the PFA said in a statement: "When treating a player on the pitch, it can be very difficult to determine the severity of a head injury. 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.” He went on to add that Lloris "wasn't in a fit state to make that decision. It was quite apparent that some of his team-mates, having seen that sickening collision, were encouraging him to go off. And they had a perfectly adequate replacement waiting to come on. So it seems ridiculous that he should be placed in danger in that way.”
FIFA reviewed the guidelines on concussion last year. However, the current rules do not seem to be appropriate. The chief medical officer for FIFA has stated that: “The player should have been substituted. The fact the other player needed ice on his knee means it's obvious the blow was extensive.”
Brain injury charity Headway, have said it is ‘ludicrous’ that the player was asked if he was ‘ok’ and Lloris should have been taken off the pitch and properly examined. Spokesman for the charity, Luke Griggs, commented that the attitude of the club towards the player’s health was ‘cavalier’.
It seems that this incident has sparked a much needed rethink about the way players are assessed after a head injury. Headway and FIFA’s chief medical officer agree that the FA need to address the guidelines and that if someone is knocked unconscious they should be removed from the pitch.