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Premier League Introduce Concussion Protocol Substitutions

The Premier League have recently approved the use of permanent concussion substitutions with this rule officially being introduced during Matchweek 23 which began on February 6th. This new trial means that substitutions can be made if a player suffers a head injury, even if all replacements have already been used.

How will these substitutions work?

If the referee has to temporarily stop the match for a potential concussion injury to a player, the medical staff from that player’s team will be allowed to enter the field to make a fair assessment of the individual in question, whilst the tunnel doctor will be required to review video footage of the incident. 

If there is evidence of a clear concussion, the team will be permitted to replace the player with one of the new additional permanent concussion substitutes.  

A positive move for football

The introduction of these new substitutions is a hugely positive move for football and one that will definitely prove to be a lot safer. 

A spokesperson for the Premier League said ‘’With player welfare the Premier League’s priority, clubs agreed in principle to introduce additional permanent concussion substitutions following approval of the trial by the International Football Association Board.’’ 

‘’The Premier League will look to implement protocols which will allow a maximum of two concussion substitutes to be used per team, with the opposition side able to use the equivalent number. The additional concussion substitutions may be made regardless of the number of substitutions a team has made already.’’

The ability to gather a more accurate diagnosis of head injuries has been in the spotlight after several members of England’s 1966 World Cup-winning team were diagnosed with dementia. 

Jack Charlton and Nobby Stiles both passed away last year from dementia whilst the family of Sir Bobby Charlton have also recently revealed that he too has been diagnosed with the same disease. 

The new concussion substitutes were all set to be introduced at the football competitions of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, however due to the current pandemic these have now been postponed until later in 2021. 

First concussion substitute in English football

Issa Diop of West Ham United became the first ever concussion sub to be used in English football during their FA Cup fixture against Manchester United on February 9th. 

Diop, who only entered the pitch as a substitute himself in the 16th minute to replace the injured Angelo Ogbonna, suffered a clash of heads with the Red Devils forward Anthony Martial in the closing stages of the first half. 

Both players were able to continue up until the break but Diop did not come back out for the second half with the official West Ham Twitter account confirming that they had used the new guidelines. 

Following the match, manager David Moyes said ‘’We think he’s fine, but he had a bump on his head at half-time, so I chose to take no risks and took him off.’’ 

This trial will continue in the Premier League until the end of the season but if effective will be extended into the 2021/22 campaign. 

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