Late in the second half of a 0-0 draw between Tottenham and Everton, Hugo Lloris threw his body towards Everton striker Romelu Lukaku before he could latch onto the long ball and score. In the process, Lloris’ head collided against Lukaku’s knee, leaving him dazed and clearly concussed as Lloris had noticeable bruising and redness on his face.
Watching the game after incident let you know that this was a player who clearly should not have continued playing.
In the post-game press conference, Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas praised Lloris for being a warrior and soldiering on after the incident even though he could tell that Lloris had no recollection or idea of what had happened to him.
Ladies and gentlemen, those words by Villas-Boas tell you all you need to know, as the fact of the matter is that the time has come for the Premier League (and frankly every league) to institute a concussion policy.
The issue of concussions is a big topic of conversation for those who are fans of the the NFL given that the league has instituted certain protocols to handle potential head injuries and concussions following the settlement of a lawsuit. Every other major American sports league has also established their own concussion protocols.
What makes what happened to Lloris on Sunday more deplorable is the fact that his concussion was clear to those of us watching the game.
The fact that Villas-Boas could tell his player was not “all there” and the fact that team doctors still let him play showed a great disservice to the player’s welfare by both coach and the team medical personnel. Some may say that this was a freak incident and there’s no need to make a big deal out of it. To those individuals, I say you would be wrong.
As was pointed out, this was the fourth such incident in the Premier League this season of a player having potentially suffered a concussion as a result of a clash. One of those involved Lukaku, the player whose knee Lloris’ head hit.
In those previous incidents, only once was a player taken off and not allowed to continue, and that happened with Mathieu Flamini of Arsenal a few weeks ago after he was kicked in the head and suffered a cut, and was checked out for a possible concussion.
Why was his case the only time a player was not allowed to continue playing? As pointed out in a retweet by Irish journalist Miguel Delaney, Arsenal’s team doctor Gary O’Driscoll used to be the doctor for the England National Rugby Team, and the rugby union is ahead of soccer when it comes to dealing with head injuries.
Still not convinced that the Premier League needs a concussion policy? There is plenty of research on both sides of the Atlantic that suggests that soccer is not immune to the issue of head trauma. There have been links to former players in Italy with ALS aka Lou Gehrig’s Disease and in a Saturday article in the Washington Post, the headache issues that have troubled Brianna Scurry in retirement should shed some light.
The time has come for the Premier League to institute a concussion policy, because letting Lloris continue playing was reckless.