The world soccer players’ union criticized global governing FIFA following a concussion to Uruguay’s Alvaro Pereira in a World Cup match on Thursday.
According to FIFPro, FIFA’s concussion protocol “failed” when in the 61st minute Pereira was briefly knocked unconscious by a blow from the knee of England’s Raheem Sterling. Pereira woke up and appeared to be confused as he was taken off the field for examination by Uruguay’s team medic, Dr. Alberto Pan. Pereira became angry as Pan called for a substitution to be done but the defender would return and finish the game.
“FIFPro understands that in certain moments, faced by the pressures of such an important international stage, many players would react in this way. There are times, however, when the players also require greater protection against the prospect of making any rash decisions,” said a statement from the organization.
The union added, “The World Cup must set the standard for player health and safety to educate the international football community. Medical evidence shows that a person faces the risk of very serious brain injury, or worse, if he or she suffers a severe head trauma from a concussive blow.”
In light of Pereira’s injury, which came during Uruguay’s 2-1 victory over the English, FIFPro suggested that they might appoint their own independent doctors for “all FIFA competitions.” Another proposal would be to change the rules and allow temporary substitutions of players believed to have suffered concussions on the field.
“I went back on dizzy. But in the heat of the moment with a hot head you don't think properly,” admitted Pereira after the game. “Still, it was a time to help the team and to get a result. And the most important thing is that we got the result.”
“When I saw his eyes, I got scared and Diego (Godin) and I both began to call for the medics," noted goalkeeper Fernando Muslera, who frantically motioned for help after his teammate was injured. “He's an important player who loves the shirt and if he can keep playing he will. He is never going to abandon the pitch.”
Several Uruguayan articles like this one have praised Pereira for continuing in the match and embodying the Garra Charrua spirit of toughness and determination. Taylor Twellman, an ex-player who suffered a concussion on the field in 2008, was among numerous soccer analysts who would’ve preferred seeing Pereira removed from play:
“It’s disappointing. It’s 2014. This is barbaric treatment of players,” Twellman said on late Thursday on ESPN. “This is the power struggle that everyone’s talking about the elite levels. This can’t happen. The player and the doctor have no business having a say in this”…
Twellman mentioned on ESPN the possibility of an immediate second concussion, which could be fatal. “You’re now playing with people’s lives.”Periera is reportedly in good condition and he traveled with the team to Belo Horizonte where they face off against Italy on Tuesday.
Video Source – YouTube user Mohammed Khatem
Online Sources – Yahoo! Eurosport; The Guardian; Tenfield.com; Sporting News; BBC Sport