Brain injury charity raises concerns over Maguire treatment

ReutersNov 6, 2023, 09:01 AM ET3 Minute Read

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A prominent brain injury charity has raised concerns regarding the adherence to protocols after Manchester United defender Harry Maguire suffered a head injury in the opening minute of their Premier League win against Fulham on Saturday.

Maguire appeared uncomfortable and went down on his haunches after being struck on the side of the head by Rodrigo Muniz’s shoulder during a challenge at Craven Cottage.

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The team doctor assessed Maguire on the pitch for possible concussion, in accordance with Premier League guidelines. Despite receiving clearance to continue, the English international required a second check at halftime.

This incident has once again ignited the debate on the introduction of “temporary concussion substitutes” in football, similar to those used in rugby, where a replacement player can be brought on while the injured player is assessed off the field.

In a statement, Luke Griggs, Chief Executive of Headway, stated, “We have made significant progress since the incident involving Hugo Lloris in 2013, when he returned to the field despite suffering a clear concussion while playing for Tottenham against Everton. However, each high-profile incident that ignores the safety-first principle and allows players to continue despite potential signs of concussion undermines this progress.”

Harry Maguire was checked for a possible concussion after colliding with Fulham’s Rodrigo Muniz at Craven Cottage.Jacques Feeney/Offside/Offside via Getty Images

Griggs added that while there is no indication of wrongdoing by Manchester United’s medical staff, the incident emphasizes the importance of implementing concussion substitutes throughout football. He stated, “This issue reflects the cultural resistance of football to prioritize player health over everything else, including game results. The adoption of temporary concussion substitutions would immediately restore credibility to the process, but a fundamental change in attitude is urgently required.”

Maguire confirmed that he passed the concussion tests conducted on the field, saying, “The doctor conducted all the tests, I was aware of my surroundings, answered all the questions correctly, and completed the protocols, thankfully. If the doctor clears me to continue, I will always carry on.”

Earlier this year, the International Football Association Board (IFAB) rejected a trial for temporary concussion substitutes in the Premier League, Ligue 1, and MLS. Meanwhile, FIFA is conducting indefinite trials for permanent substitutions, allowing teams to make an additional substitution in the event of a likely concussion.


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