UEFA on Concussions

18 Sep

The-UEFA-Executive-Committee-meeting-at-the-House-of-European-Football-in-Nyon-©UEFA.com_-610x369UEFA announced today the immediate implementation of a three minute concussion break protocol for all of their competitions. The rule was proposed last week by FIFA medical committee chairman Michel D’Hooge, and approved today by the UEFA Executive Committee.

According to the notes from today’s meeting:

In the event of a suspected concussion, the referee will stop the game for up to three minutes, to allow the injured player to be assessed by the team doctor. A player will only be allowed to continue playing on specific confirmation by the team doctor to the referee of the player’s fitness to do so.

Putting something official in the rule book is a great step forward, and I reservedly applaud UEFA for moving so quickly. However, I’m not yet satisfied. Is it three minutes plus whatever stoppage time has already occurred while getting medics on the field and the doctor assessing the player via the concussion protocol? Or is it three minutes in total, to get on the pitch, assess the player, and make a decision? Is three minutes enough time?

What I found most interesting with this announcement was the wording used in UEFA’s statement and the wording used by General Secretary Gianni Infantino. Infantino is quoted as saying, “…the referee can stop the game…” The UEFA statement says, “A referee will stop the game…” Can or will – which is it? Will implies the stoppage is required; can implies a discretionary decision.

In other medical news today, UEFA also ratified the use of Athlete Biological Passports (ABP) for next year’s Champions League competition. The ABPs were first introduced at this year’s World Cup. Athletics and cycling have used these biological profiles for years as part of their anti-doping initiatives.

-hopechaser

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