Member Article

Better awareness of head injuries needed in amateur football

Legal brain injury expert Mark Hollinghurst is calling for safety measures to be introduced to protect amateur footballers at risk of concussion after the FA and Premier League announced new regulations governing the response to head injuries suffered by professional players.

Mark, partner and head of the Brain Injury team at hlw Keeble Hawson, welcomed the latest initiative, which will see professional footballers with a head injury leaving the pitch and not returning unless the team’s doctor has given the all clear. Previously, managers were able to make the decision themselves.

But he remains concerned about the lack of awareness of this issue among the thousands of amateur footballers who play each week, and is urging for a change in the rules to be implemented across all non-professional levels of the game.

Explained Mark: “The new regulations have to be welcomed, but guidelines need to be introduced so that people can act appropriately when an amateur player suffers a head injury. Steps also need to be taken to challenge the myth that you are being ‘brave and courageous’ by playing on after sustaining concussion. Grass roots players do not have the luxury of having doctors on standby should something go wrong, so it is vital that we make people aware of the risks.”

The new regulations introduced by The FA and Premier League make it clear that any player suspected of having concussion must leave the pitch and that the ruling of the doctor is final. Players will also have to undergo pre-season baseline cognitive testing to detect whether there is any risk from a previous head injury.

Mark added: “The potential of brain injury in football cannot be ignored any longer and it may well be that in the next decade we will see a great difference in procedures and rules to protect against such injury.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Mark Hollinghurst .

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