Man City criticised for 'incredibly dangerous' handling of Ederson head injury

by 24britishtvMay 15, 2024, 6 p.m. 20
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A leading head injury charity has described Manchester City’s handling of Ederson’s head injury sustained against Spurs as “incredibly dangerous” and “very frustrating”.

Play was stopped after the Brazilian goalkeeper took an accidental blow to the head from Cristian Romero during City’s crucial 2-0 win.

While medical staff and an independent doctor initially ruled that Ederson was fit to continue, he was substituted minutes later having stumbled as he took a goal kick.

He was visibly frustrated by this, kicking out at water bottles as he left the pitch and repeatedly rubbing his head and face.

Pep Guardiola said after the game that Ederson had suffered an eye injury rather than a concussion, but Head for Change trustee Warwick Clews says this is irrelevant when treating a potential concussion or head injury.

“It’s very clearly a head knock,” Clews told . “They wouldn’t even show the replay on TV. He was on the ground for a long time. There should be no question, he should be removed immediately.

“We have a number of concerns about this. The whole situation is very frustrating. It sends a terrible message to the wider game.

“Looking in from the outside it was an incredibly important game at the end of the season with titles up for grabs,” he continued. “They put the team and the performance ahead of player safety, and that’s terrible.

“That three or four minute period in between getting hit and being taken off is incredibly dangerous. One knock is bad, but to take another in the next few minutes can be catastrophic. Those few minutes could have done him a huge amount of damage.”

Despite a concussion substitution being available, City chose to keep Ederson on the pitch initially after the collision, meaning the concussion sub was no longer a possibility.

Concussion subs, which have been in place in the Premier League this season ahead of a worldwide introduction this summer, have been used just once in the top flight this season.

They allow two players to be taken off for suspected head injuries without affecting the team’s core five substitutions, although players cannot return to the pitch having been assessed.

Speaking in 2020 after his former Benfica teammate Raul Jimenez suffered a fractured skull, Ederson supported concussion subs. “When there is a blow to the head there should be a substitution whether the player can continue or not. You might be feeling OK at the time, but after the game you feel the consequences.

“It wasn’t an intentional blow, they went to compete for the ball, but we know the risks of a head injury. It is a part of the body that is very fragile and needs special attention.”

However, brain injury charity Headway have also criticised the decision to keep the player on the pitch on Tuesday.

“The fundamental principle of any concussion protocol is ‘if in doubt, sit it out’,” Headway chief executive Luke Griggs said.

“The concern from players of both teams in the immediate aftermath of the injury, as well as from the medical team and the fact a stretcher was brought onto the pitch, would suggest a clear concern for Ederson’s wellbeing.

“The fact that he was not immediately removed would suggest a concussion was not suspected, this is hard to understand especially as symptoms can be delayed in their presentation.”

One change both Headway and Head for Change’s representatives suggested was the introduction of a temporary concussion substitute, like a Head Injury Assessment in rugby, allowing players to be assessed off-field before potentially returning after 10 minutes.

“While we were relieved to see the player taken off a few minutes later, it is hard to fathom why this was not an immediate decision,” Griggs said.

“It is yet another example of when a temporary concussion substitute would have been helpful.

“Ederson’s angry reaction is no surprise given the competitive nature of players who want to take part in massive games like this one, though his reaction underscores the need to take such decisions out of the players’ hands.”

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