Concussions are a big topic in American sports with strict protocols in place to avoid athletes suffering severe head injuries. Hell, America has an entire movie literally called “Concussion.” FIFA and UEFA don’t appear to be on the same wavelength as head injuries aren’t taken too seriously. A Phil Foden head injury in the Champions League vs. Atlético Madrid was a prime example.
Foden Head Injury vs. Atlético Madrid
The 21-year-old English star went up for a header early in the game and got absolutely rocked by Felipe. Foden landed in a heap on the ground and shockingly no card was shown.
¡Se encienden las alarmas en el City!Foden se llevan tremendo golpe por parte de Felipe y el árbitro no saca la tarjeta.
EN VIVO https://t.co/TMwbadAN48#TuChampions #UCL #AtletiManCity pic.twitter.com/xDaITfoB3S
— TUDN USA (@TUDNUSA) April 13, 2022
Soccer has made some progress in the concussion world with play being stopped immediately if a head injury has taken place. The progress stops there.
Manchester City’s medical staff spent three minutes looking over Foden. Despite literal blood dripping from the back of his head, the staff decided a nice bandage around the head should solve the problem.
Phil Foden pic.twitter.com/jUadWHggCn— B/R Football (@brfootball) April 13, 2022
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Fans online weren’t pleased with the idea of Foden continuing to play and expressed their distaste with the decision.
Something tells me Foden has a concussion— Oli (@OliverBoisen) April 13, 2022
So are @UEFA just not doing concussion protocols now? Foden flattened, now sporting a Butcher-style head bandage, apparently not independently assessed? Feels like @chris_sutton73 and others are shouting into the wind on this ♂️ #ATMMCI— Stu (@stulah) April 13, 2022
Surely that a concussion risk. I thought the "strap it up Terry Butcher style" was a thing of the past now. #ATLMCI #foden— Martin Steggall (@stegs73) April 13, 2022
There is no way in hell Foden should be allowed back onto the field without an independent concussion check in the dressing room.Footballs governing bodies are still putting players at risk!!!!
Bring on a concussion replacement until his check is complete.
— Stewart ⚽️ (@stewart_buick) April 13, 2022
This concussion might’ve finished Foden off this dude thinks he’s playing Southampton in an irrelevant PL game here, just fucking shoot man— ✍️ (@10blended) April 13, 2022
I have to say that I’m in agreement. I don’t know what sort of Mickey Mouse medical test is conducted to decide if a player has a concussion, but it doesn’t appear to be too intensive.
Jack Grealish momentarily began to warm up to fill in for Foden, however he was waved off and the man who just had his brain turned to spaghetti came back on the field and played the rest of the game.
How on Earth a player takes a hit to the head that hard and continues playing is beyond me. He wouldn’t be the first and surely won’t be the last player to stay on the soccer field with a head injury.
One of the worst cases I’ve ever seen was on the biggest stage during the 2014 World Cup final between Germany and Argentina. German midfielder Christoph Kramer took a hit to the head so hard he didn’t even know where he was and asked the referee if he was playing in the final.
Kramer later collapsed from the concussion and was removed from the game.
UEFA didn’t launch a concussion awareness campaign until October 2019.
In November 2021, UEFA released a concussion charter with some rules teams must follow. The concussion protocol is as follows.
UEFA Concussion Protocol
1. In the event of a suspected concussion, the referee will stop the game to allow the injured player to be assessed by the team doctor. Players should remain calm during the situation and not interfere with the assessment.
2. The assessment should in principle not take more than three minutes, unless a serious incident requires the player to be treated on the field of play or immobilized on the field for immediate transfer to a hospital.
3. If the assessment cannot be made after the three minutes and/or a suspicion for a concussion arises, the player should not be allowed to continue playing.
4. A player suffering a head injury that requires assessment for a potential concussion will only be allowed to continue playing after the assessment, on specific confirmation by the team doctor to the referee of the player's fitness to do so.
5. The decision remains entirely with the team doctor. Coaches, referees and players are not allowed to interfere in the assessment and decision of the doctor.
In Foden’s situation, the doctors bandaged his head and gave the thumbs up for him to continue. The rules were followed, but part of me feels that it couldn’t hurt to have an independent doctor not representing either team also have to give approval. The three-minute rule also sticks out to me; why are doctors being rushed?
Manchester City held on to the 1-0 aggregate lead with a 0-0 draw and advanced to the semifinals to take on Real Madrid.