‘Sickening’: handling of blow to the head of Pavard criticized by charity for brain damage

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The decision to allow Frenchman Benjamin Pavard to play against Germany after being knocked out in a collision was “sickening”, according to a leading brain injury charity.

Pavard was hit in the face by a challenge from German defender Robin Gosens in the 58th minute of the Group F game on Monday. Although the French Football Federation committed to a new protocol that would see players suspected of concussion removed from the pitch, it stuck.

Bayern Munich defender said he was “a bit stunned for 10-15 seconds”, and Headway general manager Peter McCabe said Pavard should have been pulled.

“It was clear to everyone that Pavard was unable to protect himself from the fall,” said McCabe. “Pavard’s later statement that he lost consciousness confirms the seriousness of the incident.

“We were continually told that football’s concussion protocols were adequate and that temporary concussion substitutes were not needed. But here we have yet another example where it just isn’t credible to suggest that a concussion cannot be “suspected” or a possible consequence of the impact. However, after a brief evaluation on the pitch, the player was allowed to continue.

“In addition, it appeared that the referee [Carlos Del Cerro Grande of Spain] was trying to speed up the medical team and get them and the player off the pitch, rather than giving them time to assess the severity of the injury.

“The way this incident was handled was sickening to watch. UEFA must come out and explain immediately how this was allowed and what steps they will now take to ensure that something similar does not happen in the future.

UEFA said it was in contact with the French federation over the incident. The governing body has chosen not to include Euro 2020 in the trials for permanent concussion substitutes currently managed by the International Football Association Board. However, he called on nations to sign a new protocol on the treatment of head trauma. International players’ union Fifpro said it had contacted UEFA to determine why the protocol had apparently not been followed.

Head coaches and team medics from the 24 nations signed the protocol, which agreed to the use of new video technology to assess injuries and includes the following apparently final statement: “We confirm that if a player of our team is suspected of having suffered a concussion, he will be immediately taken off the field, whether in training or in a match.


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