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Petr Cech and Álvaro Pereira are helping FIFPro educate their colleagues in professional football on what to do when they suspect a team mate or opponent of having a concussion.

Arsenal goalkeeper Cech and Uruguay full-back Pereira are ambassadors of FIFPro’s campaign video which will be shown in players’ dressing rooms around the world.

“If a concussion is not treated properly, then you could be suffering from long term effects like depression, fatigue, headaches,” Cech explains in the video. “Or worse, playing on while concussed could even be deadly.”

Cech has had multiple concussions and is wearing a protective helmet on the pitch after suffering a fractured skull in 2006.
Pereira temporarily lost consciousness at the 2014 FIFA World Cup due to a collision with England’s Raheem Sterling. He then insisted on returning to play and had a sideline discussion with the team doctor.

Pereira now knows that leaving the pitch is paramount in such a situation.

“We only have one brain and we need it for everything we do, our whole life,” says Pereira, who played for FC Porto and Inter and is currently at Cerro Porteno in Paraguay.

Cech has seen players asking to stay on the pitch while showing signs of a concussion. “I have heard players talking about a completely different game then which they were playing in, when they were asked about the score. This is a clear sign that something is wrong.”

“Recognise, Report, Remove” is the key message in the campaign that FIFPro presented to 70 player unions at its general assembly in Rome yesterday.

“The main goal is to get players with a suspected concussion removed from a match or training to protect their health,” said Dr. Vincent Gouttebarge, FIFPro’s Chief Medical Officer.

FIFPro developed an educational toolkit after consulting players, unions and concussion experts. The experts, including medical specialists from other sports, unanimously recommended to focus on the three R’s:

  • Recognise a possible concussion in a teammate or opponent;
  • Report a suspected concussion to the coaching and medical staff;
  • Remove any player with a suspected concussion from the field.

The toolkit includes an animated video introduced by Cech and Pereira, an exclusive interview with Cech and a leaflet with more background information on concussion.