Did Spurs act 'irresponsibly' over Hugo Lloris head injury?
Andre Villas-Boas criticised for allowing keeper to play on after being knocked unconscious
SPURS goalkeeper Hugo Lloris at the centre of a controversy after playing on against Everton on Sunday despite being knocked unconscious after colliding with striker Romelu Lukaku. His actions have sparked a debate over brain injuries in football and other sports.
The French keeper was floored late on in the match when he dived at Lukaku's feet and took a knee to the head. The game was held up for nine minutes as he received treatment. He appeared to be set to leave the pitch on a stretcher, but eventually returned to the fray.
After the match Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas defended his decision to allow Lloris to continue. "Hugo seemed assertive and determined to continue and showed great character and personality. We decided to keep him on based on that. The call always belongs to me," he told the BBC.
It was later confirmed that a scan on Sunday evening revealed no sign of concussion, even though Villas-Boas admitted that the player had lost consciousness in the collision.
What is the problem?
Brain injury charity Headway has accused Spurs of taking an "irresponsible and cavalier attitude" towards the player. Fifa's chief medical safety officer is also unimpressed. Fifa Professor Jiri Dvorak of said that there had been a "99 per cent probability" of concussion and pointed out that Fifa guidelines stated that players should be withdrawn in such circumstances.
A Headway spokesman told the BBC: "A physio or doctor treating a player on the pitch simply cannot accurately gauge the severity of the damage caused to the player's brain in such a setting... By continuing to play, the player may have caused greater damage to his brain."
What about other sports?
The issue is a live one in other sports, and former England rugby player Brian Moore also criticised Villas-Boas on Twitter.
AVB says Hugo Lloris can't remember KO but kept on because of his assertiveness; applauds him. Total ignorance of dangers of concussion.
— Brian Moore (@brianmoore666) November 3, 2013
Last month Dr Barry O'Driscoll resigned from the International Rugby Board's medical committee over a new rule that allows rugby players to retake the field after a head injury following a pitchside examination. "For someone with suspected concussion, all the top scientists say you take them off and watch them that night," he told the BBC. "I think you're putting people with brain damage back on the field."
Earlier this year, the NFL agreed a £477m settlement with up to 4,500 former players who had accused the league of misleading them on the dangers of head injuries
Why is concussion such an issue?
Recent research shows that concussions are linked to a brain condition called Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative disease affecting people subjected to multiple concussions, and other forms of dementia. These findings have prompted a safety-first approach from sports like football not usually associated with brain injuries.
Is the message getting home?
Not necessarily, if the reaction of fans on social media is anything to go by. Some said he should have come off, others were less concerned.
Hugo Lloris is clearly a brave man but also a daft one. Should never have been allowed back on the pitch.
— Dan Walker (@mrdanwalker) November 3, 2013
Why is there so much fuss over Hugo Lloris? It's his own decision! A keeper played with a broken back a few decades ago!
— ashley (@ashleyccfc) November 4, 2013
If Hugo Lloris got knocked out and wanted to carry on fair enough! If that happened in Boxing or Rugby nothing would've been said! #joke
— Nathan Horrocks (@Nathan_Horrocks) November 4, 2013