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MANAGER: We have to sort the concussion protocols

Paul Simpson on the topic of heading the ball

2 December 2022

Club News

MANAGER: We have to sort the concussion protocols

Paul Simpson on the topic of heading the ball

2 December 2022

With more and more studies highlighting links between heading the ball and conditions such as dementia and even MND in later life for professional footballers, it stands to reason that ways to further protect players are being sought, with the need to even head the ball at all being removed from the game a recommendation from some quarters.

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With any step forward likely to impact training sessions directly, we asked gaffer Paul Simpson how it could be dealt with at our level.

“It’s really hard to monitor it, I’ve got to be honest with you,” he conceded. “Heading the ball is part of our game, and it does sometimes come into the training you have to do.

“We very rarely do specific heading drills, so it’s not something that we really worry about during the planning process, but I do think it’s important in terms of looking after players.”

“Looking beyond that, I think we really have to sort the concussion protocols out as more of a matter of urgency,” he added. “That’s the biggest thing for me at the moment.

“Off the top of my head, I can think of two situations in this World Cup so far where there have been horrible cases where a player should have been withdrawn straight away, there’s no two ways about it.

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“Neco Williams was one, and I think the Saudi keeper was the other. The doctor should have taken them off, and if the doctor doesn’t do it the referee should step in.

“That’s something we can’t take chances with. It’s too risky for players to be continuing if they’ve got even a hint of concussion.

“I know there’s a lot of talk about whether or not we should have concussion subs, like they do in rugby, and if that’s a solution then brilliant, let’s do it.

“If there’s any risk at all then at no point would I ever be saying to a physio or a doctor that a player has to stay on just because it’s important for us.

“If there’s any risk they have to come off, so that’s the thing I think we need to address more than anything else right now.”

Keeping things medical, he confirmed that a replacement for outgoing physio Ross Goodwin is well down the path of being appointed.

“We’ve been through the process and we’re at stage where we’re ready to finalise things,” he told us. “All being well we should be in a position to make an announcement very soon.”

 


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