Premier League institutes stricter head injury rules

Tuesday August 5th, 2014

The English Premier League has instituted stricter rules regarding guidelines for returning to play after a head injury, according to the BBC.

The key change involves giving a club's doctor the power to decide whether a player who sustains a head injury is capable of returning. Previously, team management made that decision.

A player who injures his head also now must leave the field before any evaluation is made.

The Premier League has also established several other new medical guidelines. Home teams must employ an extra "tunnel" doctor to assist each team's own doctor, and players will now receive neurological checks as part of their annual medical evaluations. The Premiership is also launching a head injury awareness campaign and will be undertaking greater head injury research.

Kevin Phillips, the former Premier League striker now working as a coach with newly-promoted Leicester City, believes the rule change is a positive move.

"I think it's pretty sensible," he told BBC Sport. "Certainly as a player you want to be back on the football pitch but we've seen cases over the years where I think it has to be taken out of the player's hands."

The rule changes come in the wake of several controversial head injury-related incidents. Last season, Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Hugo Lloris was allowed to continue playing after a head injury that saw him lose consciousness. 

In this summer's FIFA World Cup, Urugay's Alvaro Pereira and Germany's Christoph Kramer were also both allowed to return to play despite injuring themselves and clearly appearing to have concussion-like symptoms.

More: Transfer tracker: Keeping tabs on all of Europe's major moves

- Ben Estes

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