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Danish player union Spillerforeningen has issued an alert after football mishandled three cases of players with concussion.

The union says cases involving three footballers and one handball player were not treated appropriately after they sustained a head injury; two of the players continued playing (read below).

“We must not gamble with players’ lives,” said Mads Oland, director of Spillerforeningen, which represents athletes from various sports, including football and handball.

Oland said Danish sport lacks knowledge about concussions and their treatment. “We do have proper regulations to protect players in these situations, but apparently nobody follows these rules.”   “Unfortunately, this was clearly visible when we saw players playing despite suspicion or even knowledge of a concussion,” Oland added.

“It simply cannot be true that we risk players' lives in order to play the last few minutes in a game.”

Oland emphasizes that it is up to the medical staff of a club to take a decision based on player's health and not from a player's desire to play. “Of course, any sportsman or woman will do anything to play. But it must never be the player's responsibility or assessment.” 

According to 2012 concussion guidelines, an athlete must be removed from the field and not play any further part when concussion is suspected. The decision on further care and return to play must be managed carefully as a comeback before a concussion is properly healed might lead to an increased risk for recurring concussions or more serious consequences, such as long-term neurological disorders,

Oland knows various players who encountered problems due to insufficient treatment of their concussion. “Unfortunately, we already have several examples of Danish athletes who have been so disabled that they cannot work, play sports or have a normal weekday. At all costs, we must avoid more examples.”

What happened?

Louise Svalastog Spellerberg – handball player Copenhagen
One day before playing the deciding match in the play-off finals, Louise Svalastog confessed she was still suffering the consequences of a concussion she sustained on March 24th, which was her second of the season. Nevertheless she wanted to play to win the title. The national team player wore earplugs to be less affected by the noise of supporters.

Yaw Amankwah – football player Hobro IK
Yaw Amankwah clashed heads with an opponent resulting in a suspected concussion (photo below). The opponent was substituted, but Amankwah returned to play the final 50 minutes of the promotion match. After the game the Norwegian defender said he “might have a concussion”.





Also read: Dr. Vincent Gouttbarge's blog on concussions