The Professional Footballers’ Association has renewed calls for temporary concussion substitutes to be introduced after renewed controversy over the weekend.
Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez suffered a severe blow to the head in an accidental collision with team-mate Tyrone Mings in the first half of his side’s 4-0 defeat at Newcastle on Saturday, but he is first remained after a long treatment before being replaced soon after. .
The incident sparked fresh debate over head injury protocols, and the PFA has now said the current rules put players at “serious risk”.
Dr Adam White, Head of the PFA’s Department of Brain Health, said: “Put simply, the current laws of gambling put the health and safety of players at risk.
“Permanent substitutions do not allow medical teams to assess a player with a potentially serious brain injury in an appropriate environment. The rules as they stand create an extremely difficult situation and offer no support to
medical personnel. »
In December 2020, the International Football Association Board introduced a trial of permanent concussion substitutes – not counting towards a team’s substitution limit.
The Premier League, Football Association and English Football League subsequently adopted the rule permanently in all professional competitions – a move widely welcomed at the time.
But the PFA continues to push for the introduction of temporary concussion substitutes, which would allow medical staff to assess potential injuries longer before deciding whether or not a player should be substituted permanently.
The players’ union has also expressed concern that European governing body UEFA has yet to incorporate the permanent concussion replacement rule in major competitions including the Champions League, Europa League and the League of Nations.
White added: “This situation needs to be addressed urgently. At the bare minimum, UEFA, as one of the main bodies in football, must lead by example and introduce the permanent substitution rule available in the event of a concussion. This is an issue that the PFA will raise directly with UEFA.”
Villa’s decision to initially keep Martinez was heavily criticized on Saturday.
Goalkeeper boss Aaron Danks said: “We have very professional medical staff, they had assessed him and he was okay to continue.
“Then obviously things changed or there was a delayed start of something which meant he had to retire.”