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FIFPRO has held talks with more than 300 Women’s World Cup players and coaches about concussion – and found some had little knowledge of the effects of the head injury.

The world player union arranged education meetings with 15 teams including Australia, Brazil, England, France, Italy and Japan about the potential damaging or even fatal effects of returning to play with a concussion.

During one of the seminars, there was a debate about whether a player who suffers a concussion in a semi-final should be allowed to play the final.

The coaching staff said they would decide with the player, prompting the team’s medical officer to interrupt. “No, this is her brain and her life after football on the line,’’ he said. “She should miss the final no matter who she is.”

“It is important to have these sorts of discussions regularly and go through potential scenarios with players, coaches and medical staff,” said Dr. Gouttebarge, who himself visited three teams and noticed the players engagement.

“They were pleased to get information. Some players told me they were unaware of any protocol, others advised we show the video at their clubs too.” Gouttebarge called for clubs to arrange meetings to educate players and staff about concussion.

World Cup players were shown a video, introduced by France’s Eugenie Le Sommer, about how to recognize the symptoms of concussion in a teammate or opponent.

FIFPRO has been campaigning for improved concussion management in football for more than 5 years. In a 2014 letter to FIFA, FIFPRO recommended giving team medical staff access to video footage during matches; allowing a 10 to 15-minute window to assess a suspected concussion; bringing in an independent medical professional to help assess suspected concussions; and introducing a minimum of recovery days before a concussed player is allowed to play again.

FIFPRO would also welcome temporary substitutes during the 10-minute window to check a player for symptoms of concussion.

So far, only one of FIFPRO’s recommended measures has been introduced: UEFA and FIFA have recently begun to give medical staff access to the same video footage as the Video Assistant Referee (VAR).

Dr. Gouttebarge said he welcomes UEFA’s recent comments that it would seek more changes to football rules to improve concussion management.

There have been several mismanaged cases involving players including defender Fabian Schaer (Switzerland) and goalkeeper Anthony Lopes (Olympique Lyonnais) in UEFA competitions recently.

“Generally, governing bodies have been non-progressive in their approach of concussion but that seems to be slowly changing,” Dr. Gouttebarge said.

“We are moving in the right direction but it is crucial that the necessary changes are implemented as quickly as possible to protect the health of our players.”

Concussion visits 640

Meetings with the national teams of Australia, Japan, Brazil, Jamaica, South Africa and Sweden