“Barbaric” World Cup Soccer Rules Call For FIFA Concussion Investigation
On Thursday, June 19th, the World Cup came under heavy criticism after Uruguayan player Alvaro Pereira suffered a nasty blow to the head, when an English player’s knee knocked the player out for a minute. After suffering an obvious concussion, however, Pereira was not only allowed to, but encouraged to, return to the field, due to outdated soccer rules that do not consider concussion problems. A FIFA concussion investigation was initiated shortly thereafter.
FIFPro, the world soccer players’ union, has called for a concussion investigation into the incident surrounding Pereira’s head trauma. While soccer is a high-contact sport and no one blames the players, the incident highlights problems with the rules that “failed to protect Pereira.”
The FIFPro statement said:
“The World Footballers’ Association is seeking urgent talks and immediate assurances that FIFA can guarantee the safety of the players, which must be priority number one, for the remainder of this tournament and beyond.
In the absence of that, FIFPro is considering alternative solutions such as independent medical practitioners appointed by FIFPro for all future FIFA competitions.
FIFPro also calls for a review of the laws of the game so that a player with a suspected concussion can be temporarily replaced whilst being diagnosed.”
“After the hit, I only recall that I was unconscious for an instant,” Pereira said, per the Associated Press. “It was like the lights went out a little bit.”
Officially, Pereira has not yet been diagnosed with a concussion.
“I said ‘sorry’ a thousand times to the doctor because I was dizzy. It was that moment your adrenaline flowing in your body, maybe without thinking … what I really wanted to do was to help get the result,” Pereira later said.
FIFA’s official concussion protocol alleges “recognize and remove” as its mantra. However, loss of consciousness was one of the criteria, which should have led to Pereira’s removal from the field.
FIFPro recommended appointing independent medical personnel, to offer an unbiased diagnosis. The union also said it would monitor Pereira’s health following the blow to the head.
“There’s no protocol,” former U.S. national team striker Taylor Twellman said. “Even Clint Dempsey’s broken nose, he came over on the sideline. Who’s to say that’s not a concussion. FIFA has to address this. It’s 2014. It’s not 1950. And the most important thing to remember is this: It’s not the concussion. If Pereira gets another one there’s something called second impact syndrome that’s fatal. You’re now playing with people’s lives. I could care less about knees, arms, ankles you get one brain. And right now, FIFA should address it. Otherwise, it’s going to take someone losing their life.”
Twellman’s career was cut short because of concussion injuries.
Concussions in Soccer Not Necessarily From Head Balls
In February of this year, a New York Times article suggested that the rate of concussions in soccer – which is statistically the same as in American football, for which the NFL faces numerous personal injury lawsuits – had to do with a move called “head ball,” in which a player uses their head to hit the ball. However, that link is false, according to a new article in Mother Jones.
Like football, soccer is a high-contact sport, meaning that most of the injuries come from player-to-player contact. Of the 24,184 reported cases of concussion and injury from soccer games in the 2011 Consumer Products Safety Commission, just 12.6% were from contact with the player’s head and the ball.
FIFA also recently published an article on its website that suggested soccer’s goalkeepers are at the highest risk of concussion and traumatic brain injury, from contact with the ground, the ball, and other players.
The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Concussion Personal Injury Cases
Concussion lawsuits are rare in professional soccer, but frequent in other contact sports, especially professional football. Three thousand players are currently suing the NFL for an alleged cover-up of head injuries and their frequency. The Concussion Lawyers at the Strom Law Firm will review cases involving brain damage and concussions for former players, whether football or soccer. Call today for a free consultation. 803.252.4800