By Ken Reed

France’s Benjamin Pavard said he was knocked out in a soccer game against Germany this past week. Nevertheless, the France medical team allowed him to play on.

France’s team doctor reported that Pavard wasn’t knocked out. However, at the least, there had to be some doubt as to whether or not Pavard had been knocked out and possibly suffered a concussion.

According to the governing body, Uefa, a concussion protocol signed by all 24 nations competing at Euro 2020 stated that if there are “doubts about unconsciousness or signs of concussion” a player should be removed from the field.

The decision to allow Pavard to continue playing against Germany was “sickening” according to Peter McCabe, the CEO of Headway, a brain injury organization.

“It was plain for all to see that Pavard was unable to protect himself from the fall,” McCabe said.

”Pavard’s later statement that he lost consciousness confirms the seriousness of the incident. (H)ere we have yet another example where it is simply not credible to suggest that a concussion could not be ‘suspected’ or a possible consequence of the impact. However, after a brief on-pitch assessment the player was allowed to continue.

“The way this incident was handled was sickening to watch. Uefa has to come out and immediately explain how it was allowed to happen and what action it will now take to ensure something similar does not occur in the future.”

The concussion protocol signed by all competing nations, including France, had the following definitive statement:

“We confirm that if a player of our team is suspected of having suffered a concussion, he will be immediately removed from the pitch, whether in training or match play.”

That sounds good on paper but if it’s not followed on the soccer pitch it’s useless.

American football has received a lot of criticism regarding how it handles brain trauma, concussions and CTE through the years, much of it well-deserved. But European football might be even worse when it comes to these issues.

“We’re really worried about it because football seems to be a long way behind some of the other sports in terms of protocols and just in terms of the way how seriously they’re taking concussion,” says FIFPro vice-president Francis Awaritefe. FIFPro is the worldwide representative organization for 65,000 professional soccer players.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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