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Jimenez, Luiz head clash raises questions of concussion substitutions in football

Liverpool FC manager Jurgen Klopp agrees that concussion substitutes “makes sense” after David Luiz clashed heads with Wolves striker Raul Jimenez, who suffered a fractured skull and has since had surgery.

Jimenez was replaced straight away at the Emirates; however, Luiz was patched up and continued playing despite blood seeping through the head bandage he was wearing. He was subsequently substituted at half-time.

Headway, who are a brain injury association, expressed its previous involvement on calls to introduce concussion substitutes into football. They conveyed their “anger and disappointment at football’s continued failings to protect its players from concussion.”

Former Newcastle United striker Alan Shearer, who has been vocal in the debate surrounding dementia in football, said on BBC’s Match of the Day: “We’re talking about life and death here… football needs to wake up”

“Football needs to get real; it needs to wake up, it needs to get serious. Not next year, next month, now. It is not acceptable; it has been going too far, too long."

In a news conference Jurgen Klopp was asked about his opinion on concussion substitutes, however Klopp said that, "At that moment I didn't think about a rule change, I was just sitting there for 10 minutes hoping that they would both get up without any issues, but that didn't happen. I hope Raul Jimenez is as good as possible now, I heard he had surgery. I wish him and David Luiz all the best.”

According to the Football Association guidelines, any suspected concussion that happens during training or in a game should be immediately withdrawn from the pitch and not allowed to return to action after the appropriate treatment has been handled.

Shearer added: “We've been having meeting after meeting after meeting. Why do they need to trial anything? Just do it. Do it now. If things needs changing after that, change it.”

Shearers comments come after the FA revealed plans to fast track trials for concussion substitutions in this season’s FA Cup, a recommendation that will be put forward to IFAB in their annual meeting in December.

A statement from the national governing body read: “The FA will support the proposal at the meeting on 16 December with a view to implementing the trials at the earliest possible stages of the FA Cup and Women’s FA Cup.”

Author: Lewis Cockburn