Head Injuries in Football Cause More Concern For Charities

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Football Head Injury
LLB (Hons) & LPC Stacy Pimlott
Legally reviewed by: LLB (Hons) & LPC Stacy Pimlott In: Industrial Disease

A leading brain injury charity has criticised the decision to allow footballer Sadio Mane to continue playing, after he suffered a head injury during Senegal’s win over Cape Verde on Tuesday 25th Jan. Discussion surrounding the treatment of head injuries in football has been ongoing for the past few years and has forced concussion protocol to be continually reviewed.

Sadio Mane collided with keeper Vozinha in the second half of the game, which left both players suffering from head injuries. Vozinha was concussed and had to be persuaded to go off by his teammates. He was eventually given a red card by VAR for the incident. However, Mane was allowed to come back onto the field and continued to play. After celebrating a goal. He then later collapsed and had to leave the field shortly afterwards, complaining of a headache. He was taken to hospital to receive treatment.

The chief executive of brain injury charity Headway commented that; ‘On the face of it, this seems to be yet another example of football putting results ahead of player safety…this was a sickening collision that clearly left both players in enough distress for a concussion to have surely been considered a possibility at the very least. At that point, the principle of ‘if in doubt, it it out!’ should have resulted in Mane being substituted without another ball being kicked. The image of the player collapsing on the ground and having to be helped from the pitch after scoring his goal should tell you everything you need to know about the impact and the effect it had on his brain. Yet again, the desire to win is seen as being worth serious risks to players’ health. It is simply shocking that this continues to happen…If football wants to be taken seriously when it comes to concussion, it simply must take action to enforce and strengthen its protocols.’

What is Post-Concussion Syndrome?

One of the medical issues that a head injury can cause is post-concussion syndrome. This is a collection of symptoms that some people develop after they have received trauma to the head. Post-concussion syndrome is a complication of concussion. The symptoms of post-concussion syndrome can include:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • A feeling of sickness
  • Double or blurred vision
  • Hearing loss and/or a ringing noise in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Reduced sense of smell and taste
  • Problems tolerating bright light and loud noise
  • Being easily irritable and sometimes aggressive
  • Feeling anxious easily
  • Depression
  • Having disturbed sleep and feeling tired
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Changes in your appetite
  • Slowed reaction times
  • Problems processing information and problems reasoning

In addition to post-concussion syndrome, several high-profile cases in the media have drawn attention to the risk of dementia in later life for professional football players. Former West Brom striker Jeff Astle died in 2002 of a degenerative brain disease that he had become aware of five years earlier. After his death, the coroner found that repeated minor traumas to the head had been the cause. He was subsequently confirmed as the first British footballer known to have died because of repeatedly heading a football, and the inquest into his death therefore recorded a verdict of ‘death by industrial disease.’

The number of high-profile injury cases that are happening in football have been drawing increasing attention to the legal support that they may be entitled to. It is not just professional footballers who may be affected by this, it also trickles down to grassroots clubs and semi-professional players.

Read more on our head injuries in football page.

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