UEFA satisfied Benjamin Pavard treatment was in line with concussion protocol
UEFA says it has been satisfied by the French federation’s medical staff that full-back Benjamin Pavard did not suffer concussion or lose consciousness during his country’s Euro 2020 match against Germany on Tuesday night.
Pavard said after the game he had been “a little knocked out for 10 or 15 seconds” following a second-half collision with Germany’s Robin Gosens.
World players’ union FIFPRO demanded answers from UEFA over what it saw as France’s failure to follow the tournament organisers’ Concussion Charter, while France’s handling of the incident was described as “sickening to watch” by Peter McCabe, the chief executive of brain injury charity Headway.
However, a statement from European football’s governing body on Thursday read: “UEFA has received detailed information from the French FA medical team on the course of events and is satisfied that the actions taken by the medical team were in line with the concussion protocol.
“According to the reports that we received from the team doctor, it seems that a loss of consciousness did not occur. The team doctor did not find any reason to suspect a concussion either on the pitch or after thorough assessment made by a renowned specialist in this field in later follow-up.
“The player will nevertheless continue to be closely monitored over the coming days.”
The statement added: “All 24 teams committed to follow the recommendations of the UEFA Concussion Charter before the start of the tournament and the responsibility for decision-making remains with the team doctor.
“If the team doctor has any doubts about unconsciousness or signs of concussion, he should remove the player from the field. The team doctor is the ONLY person who can take the decision for the player to stay on the pitch or be substituted. The team doctor’s decision must always be respected, even if the player or the coach believes that the player is fit to continue.”
FIFPRO declined to comment, but is understood to remain unconvinced that the correct procedure was followed.
UEFA is not trialling permanent concussion substitutes at Euro 2020, deciding instead to trial that at its European Under-21 Championship which finished earlier this month.
The Concussion Charter was announced by UEFA last week, and covered baseline neurological testing of all players and the provision of a video review system to team doctors.
McCabe was unimpressed by France’s handling of the incident and said: “It was plain for all to see that Pavard was unable to protect himself from the fall. Pavard’s later statement that he lost consciousness confirms the seriousness of the incident.
“We have continuously been told that football’s concussion protocols are fit for purpose and that temporary concussion substitutes are not necessary.
“But here we have yet another example where it is simply not credible to suggest that a concussion could not be ‘suspected’ or a possible consequence of the impact. However, after a brief on-pitch assessment the player was allowed to continue.
“Furthermore, it appeared that the referee was attempting to speed up the medical team and usher them and the player off the pitch, rather than allowing them the time they needed to assess the seriousness of the injury.
“Why is it so hard for football to accept it has got this wrong and follow the example set by other sports by introducing temporary concussion substitutes?”
FIFPRO and the English union, the Professional Footballers’ Association, wrote to the game’s law-making body the International Football Association Board in April asking it to extend the scope of its trials to cover temporary concussion substitutes.
The letter warned that the current protocols had “jeopardised players’ health”.