Chelsea's handling of Courtois concerns brain injury association

Monday October 6th, 2014

The brain injury association Headway issued a statement expressing concerns over the handling of a head injury suffered by Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois in Sunday's win against Arsenal at Stamford Bridge.

Courtois suffered the injury in the 10th minute on a collision with striker Alexis Sanchez but was not replaced until the 24th minute.

In a statement released Monday, Chelsea said precautionary tests on Courtois for a head injury "came back all clear." The statement also said Courtois was treated for a "minor cut to his ear" and that he is "expected to report for international duty later this week." 

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New Premier League concussion rules stipulate that players who suffer head injuries be removed from the game.

From Headway's website:

"The new rules introduced this season were designed to ensure no risks to players' health were taken," said Peter McCabe, Chief Executive of Headway. "They clearly state that 'If there is any suspicion of the player having sustained a concussion, they must be removed from the field of play, and not allowed to return.'

"This incident calls into question whether these rules are working effectively. For example, was the third 'tunnel doctor' consulted on the decision to allow Courtois to continue? If so, did he or she agree that there was no suspicion of concussion?

"From television footage alone, it is difficult to assess the severity of any injury and the decision of the medical team assessing the player has to be respected. However, it is hard to understand how a concussion was not suspected following the sickening clash.

"Bleeding from one or both ears is one of the symptoms to look out for that requires an immediate visit or return to hospital following a head injury. The fact that the bleeding only became apparent 15 minutes after the injury also demonstrates the evolving nature of concussion and highlights why a safety-first approach must be taken with all head injuries."

- Chris Johnson

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