Jan Vertonghen was allowed back on the field only to take himself back off after a bloody collision with teammate Toby Alderweireld.
LONDON (AP) — Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen had to be helped off the field shortly after attempting to play on following a clash of heads in the Champions League semifinal against Ajax on Tuesday, putting a fresh spotlight on soccer’s handling of potential concussions.
Vertonghen challenged for a header in the Ajax area but slammed his face into the back of teammate Toby Alderweireld’s head, leaving him with blood pouring from a cut on his nose in the 32nd minute. Vertonghen received treatment on the field and went to change his bloodied white jersey.
Referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz was pointing at his head as he spoke to Vertonghen, before allowing him to return to action in the 38th minute.
Vertonghen lasted only 40 seconds before going across to the sideline, leaning over and struggling to stand. Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino had to grab Vertonghen to stop him from keeling over before the Belgian was helped down the tunnel by two medical officials.
Taylor Twellman, whose playing career in the United States ultimately ended because of the lingering impact of a serious concussion, tweeted that Vertonghen should not have been allowed back on the field after the clash of heads.