Soccer (Football) Suggested Changes

5 Nov

In the wake of the Hugo Lloris incident there has been plenty of discussion on how to possibly avert such a situation from happening again.  In this particular case it is simple; if a player is knocked unconscious they are removed, no questions asked.  The problem really is the minutia of the game, more explicitly the traditions of the game.  Why not remove emotion and tradition and figure out a way to be better.

Because of this I am going to propose some changes for the international game of soccer.  Being mindful that some places and medical staffs do it correctly – I do not intend to “pick” on any particular league (although my lack of soccer knowledge may be off-putting to some).  There is no rooted soccer tradition in my family, nor do I even pretend to know all the history and because of that I feel that some of these ideas are void of fanaticism.

In order of importance;

  • Allow for a medical substitution for head injuries (this can be both a temporary and/or permanent replacement for the fixture)
    • After play is stopped for a head injury the team should immediately sub for that player; this gives the player less of an ability to fight to stay on the pitch.  It will also allow the medical team to properly evaluate the player in an environment more fitting (locker room).
    • If player cannot continue due to head injury then the sub stays permanent for the fixture.  If the player is deemed fit, then a re-entry is given to the initially injured.
    • This substitute would not count against the maximum of three subs/match, in either case above.
    • In the event of multiple incidents of head injury then another medical substitution would be allowed.
    • The referee would be in control of the above medical substitutions.
    • All medical subs would be subject to FA review; as to prevent gamesmanship of the rule.
    • This medical substitution would be for head injuries only.
  • If a player shows signs of a concussion, i.e.: loss of consciousness, balance disturbance, vomiting, etc. that player is medically suspended for 7 days, and return to play could be longer if determined by team medical staff.
    • This takes all questions and gamesmanship by the player out of it.  There will be no doubt of the seriousness of the injury.
    • This sets a good example for those watching that the FA takes head injuries seriously.
  • If there was a foul that created the head injury, Yellow Card or Red Card, then the offending player will also be suspended for the duration of the medical suspension (7 days).
    • Obviously in the Lloris incident there was no foul, it was purely an accident, and in those cases it is merely bad luck.
  • There should be an independent medical provider (doctor, athletic trainer, etc.) that would be in charge of head injury evaluations – pitch side.
    • This “evalulator”, would be sanctioned by the FA medical and would be assigned to each match like the officials.
    • This person alone would determine if the player is fit to return through FA policy.
  • The FA should sponsor/create a “viewing room” for trained medical spotters to watch matches and identify any possible instances of head injury.
    • This “center” would have TV feeds of all the games and have people viewing games for incidents.  In the case of a possible incident the head spotter would inform the “pitchside evalulator” who would then attempt to confirm if there is a need for intervention.
    • In the case for intervention, the “pitchside evalulator” would notify officials to stop play for an evaluation and medical sub.

Certainly these are not the best ideas, but they are ideas none-the-less.  I don’t feel they completely change the game of soccer, nor do they tactically change how a game is played.  Rather the ideas above look out for player safety; which is the top concern of the FA.

I would love to hear any other ideas out there…

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3 Responses to “Soccer (Football) Suggested Changes”

  1. Robert Piane November 6, 2013 at 09:31 #

    I need to get this out there as a real treatment for a concussion because it worked for me after I had a severe concussion, and I was asked “What are you doing?” by the Doctors as I essentially healed myself. I named it “The Gravity Cure”. I was hit head-on in football practice and ended up in the hospital for two weeks with a broken nose and severe headaches.. The brain scans (in 1972) showed a dark mass had formed under my skull that covered the area of the hit, the about 5″ in diameter under my forehead area. It was bad, so bad a priest was called in to pray because they felt I might never recover. The headaches were horrendous. I found a way to stop them. All I did was NOT lay on my back as they kept telling me to do. When I laid face down in my pillow the headaches went away. All I kept thinking was my brain must have torn away from my skull in the impact, and it’s bleeding. If I just let gravity do the work I might fix this, at least it stopped the headaches. I did this every day and night as much as possible. I even watched TV using a mirror. People thought I was nuts, but it stopped the headaches. Two weeks later they did another brain scan just before the planned surgery they had coming next and it was gone. They though it was a miracle. Perhaps, but all I can figure is gravity did the work and I had simply positioned my head to allow it to heal properly. It’s the only thing that makes sense. Simply laying face down must have allowed my brain to settle back against the skull into the proper position using gravity to do the work, closing the wounded area like you do when treating a bleeding cut…you apply pressure to stop the bleeding and put the cut tissue together. If this Gravity Cure helped me I think it can help others not just understand and talk about the symptoms, but actually fix the injury. I went on to play football two years later, wrestle at a high level and even took second in a national Judo tournament while in the USMC and currently own 10 patents, ran multiple companies and still going strong at 56, so my brain works just fine with no headaches or other symptoms except my memory was never as sharp as it was before the injury.. I hope this post can help someone out there.

  2. Jason Viel November 6, 2013 at 13:54 #

    Dustin,

    As a fellow AT and former high school and college soccer player I think that your suggestions are very good and agree that they would not take away from the game. Allowing a medical substitution while the “concussed” athlete is being evaluated is fair because if it ends up not being a concussion then the player would be allowed re-entry (similar to the college game where if you are subbed out in the 1st half you are allowed re-entry into the 2nd half). I agree also with an independent “watch dog” for lack of a better phrase, and humbly offer my services to FIFA I have long said that I love working at a high school and the only thing that would change that is if a team in the EPL came calling for and AT. :)

    But getting back to your suggestions I think you also take into consideration what many soccer fans and haters dislike about the game in the “diving” or “gamesmanship” of faking an injury to get a foul. Make it stick if they fake the head injury then they are out for the remainder of the game. But if it is a legit injury and they are somehow cleared then they are allowed back in. Only reason for this would be no concussion with maybe a head laceration and no PCS.

    I like your suggestions and have for a long time feared for my favorite professional sport that they are not getting it as far as concussions go “across the pond”

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  1. Soccer: A Change of Culture is Required « Smart Head play - December 19, 2013

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