Premier League to introduce new concussion policies

In the wake of the 2014 World Cup that saw several instances of questionable conduct regarding players and head injuries, the Premier League is changing its policies beginning with the 2014-2015 season, which begins on August 16. 

Any player who suffers a head injury must now leave the field, where a club doctor will then evaluate him. The manager or the coaching staff will have no say whether a player returns to the field, according to the BBC. Home teams will also be required to have a third “tunnel” doctor on hand to evaluate a player and to support the team doctors. That doctor will monitor replays and watch for particularly severe on-field collisions. 

Another sweeping regulation will see all Premier League players undergo baseline neurological tests as part of an annual check up to help doctors determine varying recovery times for players.

The lack of protocol when dealing with head injuries was painfully obvious during last month’s World Cup and likely generated enough angst to help spur policy changes in international football. Several players were knocked unconscious but were allowed to stay in World Cup games after debating with on-field doctors. It seems that the Premier League is coming around in terms of acknowledging concussion concerns, something the NFL is all too familiar with. 

Cristoph Kramer, who suffered a severe head injury in the World Cup final, was one last reminder of the dangers of playing with concussions. After he was allowed to continue playing, Kramer asked the referee if he was indeed playing in the World Cup final. 

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