Goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand, from Iran, starred in a worrying scene right at the beginning of the match against England when he collided with his teammate when disputing a high ball. After receiving care, the archer tried to return to the field, but a few seconds later he ended up asking for a replacement. He became the first player in World Cup history to be substituted due to concussion.
The new protocol adopted by FIFA in its tournaments provides that in cases of suspected concussion, that is, head collision, the substitution does not count towards the limit of five exchanges. However, for this to happen, there are some steps to be taken.
“Before the Cup, FIFA presented news on the cerebral concussion protocol and this included the temporary substitution in suspected cases of concussion. According to the International Consensus on Concussion in Sport, athletes with cuts and/or bleeding in the head must be considered as cases concussion suspects as this suggests that there was a direct impact on the head. Specific evaluation is mandatory in cases like this. In this evaluation, we use specific tests and perform a comparative functional evaluation with results obtained in the pre-season, so we are not dependent on the report of symptoms”, explains PhD Hermano Pinheiro, sports and neurofunctional physiotherapist.
Hermano explains that “sometimes, the symptoms are not present, but they can appear later or be provoked by specific stimuli. Temporary substitution was not even used in this case (of the Iranian goalkeeper)”.
“With the temporary replacement of the athlete, there would be better conditions to evaluate the case and, perhaps, provoke the symptoms through specific tests in the locker room, since on the lawn or sideline we do not have an adequate environment to carry out a quality neurological evaluation”, he adds.
What is the concussion protocol at the Cup?
To implement the concussion protocol, FIFA has defined some criteria. Football’s highest governing body has established that the diagnosis of the injury will be made by the team’s own doctor and another representative of the organization, also a doctor, who will be at the side of the pitch.
In addition, the organization places a second doctor (observer) in the stands to have access to images in real time and communicate with field professionals, in the event of a serious injury that requires assistance to start the concussion protocol.
FIFA has established a procedure of about three minutes for conducting a questionnaire for doctors to classify signs of mental confusion or disorientation in the athlete.
Beiranvand clashed heavily with Majid Hosseini, teammate. The match was paralyzed for more than 10 minutes to assist the goalkeeper, who, disoriented, had to be replaced.
On the big screen at Khalifa International Stadium, FIFA announced that it was a “concussion substitution”, a first in World Cup history.
What are the risks of concussion?
Cerebral concussion is an injury to the brain (brain, cerebellum and other structures) generated by a shock to the head. This type of problem is becoming increasingly common in contact sports such as soccer, rugby and American football. In view of this, the theme began to be treated with greater importance and seriousness, creating protocols that prevent the emergence of future neurological diseases in athletes as much as possible.
Concussion has come to be much discussed lately because of its severity and the constancy that has been happening. The lawyer specializing in sports law and journalist, Andrei Kampff, warns of legal problems that major sports leagues may face due to the consequences left to former athletes.
“In addition to the permanent obligation to take care of the health of athletes, the situation poses a legal risk. The NFL has already suffered a multi-billion-dollar defeat without justice, when athletes filed for compensation due to the sequelae caused by concussions. This brought learning by force, and the NFL began to invest more in the health of athletes. Fifa and football also run this risk”, quotes the columnist for Field Law🇧🇷
Some of the symptoms of brain concussion are: fainting; severe or growing pain in the head; alteration in the state of consciousness; mood change; seizure or some other type of epilepsy; lack of motor coordination; double vision; vomiting; weakness or tingling in the arms or legs; and severe pain in the neck.
Follow us on social networks🇧🇷@leiemcampo