UEFA calls for temporary head injury substitutes to avoid complications associated with concussion

James Milner
Image: James Milner suffered a head injury in Liverpool's match at Southampton earlier in the season but avoided concussion

UEFA is calling on world football's lawmakers to introduce temporary head injury substitutes - like those used in rugby union - to try to avoid the complications associated with concussion.

In a new report, UEFA's medical experts have decided the current three minutes allowed for teams to assess whether a player is concussed on the pitch, is inadequate and puts too much pressure on team doctors from players and coaching staff for a quick diagnosis.

The proposal to allow temporary substitutions, UEFA argue, would remove that pressure and allow players who have received a blow to the head to be assessed more fully away from the pitch.

For the proposals to be introduced, UEFA has to persuade FIFA and the International Football Association Board (IFAB) - which make the game's laws - that the idea is necessary and suitable.

Theo Walcott
Image: Theo Walcott received medical treatment after being hit on the head by a Raheem Sterling cross on Saturday and was taken to hospital for a precautionary assessment before later returning to Goodison Park

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said: "The health of players is of utmost importance and I strongly believe that the current regulations on concussion need updating to protect both the players and the doctors, in order to ensure that an appropriate diagnosis can be made without disadvantaging the teams affected, and I am delighted that FIFA and IFAB have responded positively to UEFA's suggestions on this."

Meanwhile, the international players union FIFPRO, together with the European leagues, is also calling for better procedures for dealing with concussion.

They are advocating instant video replays be made available to team doctors during a game, so they can better assess if a player is at risk of concussion, as well as better education in pre-season for players and officials about the dangers.

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