Sports

Watch the soccer injury that might change the rules of the game

RTX14YM4.jpg

Credit: REUTERS/Phil Noble

Tottenham Hotspur's goalkeeper Hugo Lloris (L) lies injured after a collision with Everton's Romalu Lukaku (R) during their English Premier League soccer match at Goodison Park in Liverpool, northern England November 3, 2013.

Every sports coach in this country knows exactly what's supposed to happen when a player appears to have suffered a concussion.

Player utilities

(This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.)

When in doubt, sit the player out.

That's the mantra.

But in England this past weekend, fans saw a glaring example of what not to do. A high-profile soccer player, Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, took a blow to the head and lost consciousness. When he came around, still obviously dazed, his coach Andre Villas-Boas allowed him to play on. Villas-Boas is now taking a lot of flak for that. The England-based brain injury charity, Headway, called it "irresponsible and dangerous."

Taylor Twellman knows this topic well. The former New England Revolution striker had to retire from soccer after a severe head injury. He didn't mince words when describing the decision to keep Lloris in the game.

"Other than barbaric, I thought it was ridiculous," he says. "When you really watch the replay, he's knocked out. He's unconscious. The medical professionals on the field, the trainers, even his teammates all talked and walked Lloris to the sideline. And three times he stopped, and three times those medical professionals had an opportunity to say, 'No.'"

That didn't happen. And Twellman says it speaks to a larger problem in the world of soccer: it seems to ignore traumatic brain injuries. If Lloris got hit again, that could've been fatal. Twellman says it isn't a career question, it's a life question. 

"I think FIFA needs to address this as soon as possible," he says. 

But it might not be resolved in time to prevent Lloris from risking his head yet again. Tottenham plays on Thursday.

Lloris might get the start.

Comments