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Volume 7 No. 149
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Labour Party Accuses Football Of 'Turning A Blind Eye' To Concussions

The Labour Party will adopt as policy a common standards requirement for concussion protocol.
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

The U.K. Labour Party is "calling for sports governing bodies to introduce a single unified concussion protocol," including substitutions for head injuries, after its deputy leader, Tom Watson, accused football of "turning a blind eye to the brain injury ­epidemic," according to Jeremy Wilson of the London TELEGRAPH. Watson, who is also the shadow culture secretary, will adopt as Labour policy at the next general election "the requirement that common standards are implemented" across the U.K., including a minimum time frame in which participants can return to play following a concussion. In football, this ranges from 19 days for an amateur player down to just six for a professional in an "enhanced care setting." Other sports also have different guidelines and doctors have "questioned the medical logic behind such divergence." University of East Anglia neurologist Michael Grey said, "Brains aren't different depending on what sports are being played." It all follows "a series of alarming incidents at the World Cup," when FIFA's concussion protocols were "sometimes not followed," and a new report from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Brain Injury which revealed that someone in the U.K. is taken to the hospital with an "acquired brain injury" every 90 ­seconds. Watson said, "It's simply pot luck how safe your sport is in the U.K." (TELEGRAPH, 11/26).