IFAB approves trials for concussion substitutes from January following clash between Arsenal defender David Luiz and Wolves’ Raul Jimenez

IFAB approves trials for concussion substitutes from January following clash between Arsenal defender David Luiz and Wolves’ Raul Jimenez

Concussion subs incoming

The clash of heads between Raul Jimenez and David Luiz when Arsenal faced Wolves at the Emirates earlier this season brought to the fore a discussion regarding concussion substitutes. Both Luiz and Jimenez were substituted during the game, but the former continued on until half-time, where further assessment of the player deemed him incapable of continuing.

Calls for the footballing bodies to introduce concussion substitutes have since been raised. This would mean a coach would not have to be concerned about losing one of his three standard changes due to the unforeseen circumstances of a concussion occurring. There was concern that Mikel Arteta may not have chosen to remove Luiz so early on versus Wolves, because Arsenal would have been left with just two subs for the majority of the match.

The concussion substitution, which, according to The Athletic, will be available to be trialled from January, will mean a substitution can be made, and not affect the remaining number of changes available to a manager.

A meeting between the Premier League’s clubs is set to take place on Thursday, and that is most likely where a definitive decision will be made to trial the system.

‘Brilliant idea’

Sir Geoff Hurst, who has been a vocal advocate of greater focus on head injuries and the action of heading in the game, has labelled the idea of concussion substitutes a ‘brilliant’ one.

“That [concussion substitutes] is a terrific idea,” Hurst said. “I appreciate there are disagreements between clubs in regards to the introduction of five substitutes but I can’t see why any club would disagree with substitutes purely for concussions, and nor should they,” Hurst told the Guardian.

“Frankly, it was ridiculous that a guy with his head bandaged, blood everywhere, could carry on playing football,” he said. “We have to get away from this stupidity – as soon as someone gets a knock to the head they come off. Simple as that. No quick check and then back out with a bandage on. This issue is too serious for things like that to be happening.”

What will be required is scrutiny over any possible exploitation of the rule. Were a side to have used all of their substitutes, there lies an opportunity for a player to feign a concussion in corroboration with club medical staff. A simple solution here would be for a third party doctor or paramedic to conduct the necessary tests, which would have much stricter mechanisms in place to determine whether a player is in fact concussed or not.

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This article was edited by Conor Laird.

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