So far this season we’ve seen a few smash and grabs such as the winner for Chelsea vs. Arsenal but more and more, we’re seeing the result of the physicality of the League. Within 2 weeks we’ve seen 3 cases of concussion with Lloris versus Everton and two in Man Utd vs. Arsenal game with Wojciech Szczęsny after a collision in the air with Phil Jones and the other being Nemanja Vidic who had a nasty collision with De Gea when collecting a cross.
As Everton have been involved in a couple of these situations, you can understand why Martinez wants the rules to be clearer as he said
"My view is that I don't think it should be a manager's decision whether you take a player off or not."
All three of these cases were dealt with differently. Which is understandable as the rules stated by the FA
“All Clubs shall ensure that any player in a league match having left the field with a head injury shall not be allowed to resume playing or training without the clearance of a qualified medical practitioner.”
So depending on the response of the player after medical checks such as the Maddocks questioning, determine whether they are fit to resume. It also states that each individual clubs medical team should discuss protocols and procedures at the start of every season so every club understands these rules.
Now Vidic’s case was more severe as he looked clearly dazed and there was losses of balance with a slight nose bleed, so having him leave play was a simple decision for both the player and staff. But for Szczęsny even though he was out for a fair bit of time the procedures were followed and he was able to carry on, the only difference between that situation and Lloris’ case was time taken to recover, which was much, much longer. Based on that it’s down to opinion and not the rules, after players are brought back on, they are watched by the medical staff intently for any reoccurring symptoms and if so they will be taken off the field. I’d have to say Tottenham were right to allow Lloris to play on based on the rules and guidance from the medical staff. (The same staff who dealt so efficiently with the Fabrice Muamba collapse.)
Interestingly the game against Newcastle Lloris didn’t feature and this could be because when it comes down to recovery after the game it can range between 7-10 days advised by the FA but I think Lloris missed the game against Newcastle to avoid any more controversy.
Other concussions this season again includes Lukaku against West ham (Sept 21st) were he actually suffered memory loss but as it was late in the game, wasn’t so significant. Flamini versus Norwich (Oct 19th) was the other player who had to take the precautionary week off.
The other side to the concussions are the punishments for the player who could have caused the injury. As Jones was penalised which looked unfair as it was a fair attempt for the ball, also Lukaku’s challenge against Lloris he was also yellow carded even though it was impossible for Lukaku to get out of the way at the speed he was going at. It was one of those situations where you usually say “brave goalkeeping” when they don’t get hurt. Are some referees giving out yellow cards automatically for concussion and then a red for intent. Because on recent showings that what referees seem to be judging on.
In response to the Everton manager most would agree that the rules could be stricter, with players suffering with concussion then they should be immediately removed and have a safety first approach. On the other side of the coin it could be too safety cautious and ruin the balance of a game and because there hasn’t been too many issues with the rules until now. The rules could stay as they are.