Concussion Lincoln Player

European player unions and leagues take steps to improve concussion management

20 July 2021
FIFPRO and European Leagues have hosted an online workshop of more than 50 representatives from player unions and leagues, along with medical experts from FIFA and Major League Soccer, with a view to drastically improving the management of concussion in football.

The meeting is part of a three-year collaboration between FIFPRO and European Leagues to elevate standards of concussion recognition and treatment in domestic professional club competitions across more than 20 European countries.

The agreement with European Leagues is one of a series of steps that FIFPRO has taken in recent years to raise awareness about concussion and implement optimum protocols for professional football that protect the health of players as much as possible across domestic and international competitions.

Under the collaboration, domestic player unions and professional leagues are working together to implement a series of measures in their respective countries. These include arranging regular education sessions for players, club staff, referees and match officials about how to identify the symptoms of concussion and how to treat concussed footballers.

Leagues and unions are also collaborating with a view to introducing a reporting structure for each concussive incident and trained independent spotters at matches who can immediately review video replays to help club doctors on the pitch identify signs of a concussion.

In a presentation during the online workshop, Dr. Margot Putukian, Major League Soccer’s Chief Medical Officer, described the highly-developed protocol that has been developed in the American league with the national player association, MLSPA.

Dr. Putukian explained that trained spotters have worked at MLS matches for the last few years. Each season, the league is improving the real-time communication between the spotters and club doctors treating injured players.

Prof. Vincent Gouttebarge, FIFPRO Chief Medical Officer, and Dr. Andrew Massey, FIFA Medical Director, also addressed the workshop. They spoke about the critical importance of effective concussion awareness and management because of potentially serious health side-effects, and further steps being considered to improve the existing protocol.

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