Protecting players: UEFA’s concussion charter for clubs and national teams | Within UEFA

This measure is the latest step in UEFA’s campaign to raise awareness among players, coaches, referees, doctors and the general public about the dangers of concussions in football, following on from the implementation of a concussion awareness campaign in 2019.

The concussion charter was drawn up by the UEFA Medical Commission. It aims to reinforce the importance of good practice in concussion management and highlights concussion procedures to be followed at matches of UEFA men’s and women’s clubs and national teams.

The charter also promotes the education of players, coaches and staff on concussion procedures in force at UEFA matches.

Preserving the health of players

Clubs and national teams are invited to sign the charter not only to support UEFA’s awareness campaign, but also to underline their commitment to protecting the health of their players.

In doing so, the signatories commit to fully support UEFA’s advice on how to recognize and manage a head injury from the moment of the injury until the safe return to football.

Education information sessions

As part of the provisions of the charter, doctors from clubs and national teams are required to organize specific training sessions to inform players, coaches and staff of the procedure to be followed for concussions during matches. of UEFA.

UEFA procedure in the event of a head injury

• If concussion is suspected, the referee will stop play to allow the injured player to be assessed by the team doctor. Players should remain calm during the situation and not interfere with the assessment.

• The assessment should normally not take more than three minutes, unless a serious incident requires the player to be treated on the pitch or immobilized on the pitch for immediate transfer to hospital.

• If the assessment cannot be made after the three minutes and / or if a suspicion of concussion arises, the player must not be allowed to continue playing.

• A player suffering from a head injury requiring evaluation for a potential concussion will only be allowed to continue playing after the evaluation, upon specific confirmation by the team doctor to the referee of the. ability of players to do so.

The decision rests entirely with the team doctor. Coaches, referees and players are not allowed to interfere in the doctor’s assessment and decision.

During training sessions, team doctors must explain and present to players, coaches and staff the video developed for the UEFA concussion awareness campaign, and may also present a concussion awareness poster. cerebrals produced for the campaign (male and female versions).

Medical video review system

Another provision included in the charter provides that UEFA strongly encourages its 55 member associations to deploy at UEFA competitions, to the extent possible, a video medical examination system in their stadiums to allow immediate assessment and illuminated injuries.

UEFA will facilitate the installation of the system with the host broadcaster. Receiving teams using a medical examination system should offer the same system to the visiting team.

“Everyone must know how to react and what to do” – Tim Meyer, chairman of the UEFA medical committee

“Concussion is definitely a serious injury that needs to be managed and treated properly. The health and safety of all players participating in European club and national team competitions is of paramount importance not only to UEFA, but also to national associations across the continent.

“Although research studies report a low incidence in football, everyone should know what to do and what to do with a concussion on the pitch.”

“By signing this charter, clubs and national teams will demonstrate their support for UEFA’s concussion awareness activities – and take a significant step forward to help protect their players.”

UEFA’s proactive stance on concussions

UEFA launched its concussion awareness campaign in October 2019, with the focus on improving concussion management in football.

The campaign follows medical scans from top UEFA competitions and aims to raise awareness of concussion issues.

Based on this work, the UEFA Executive Committee decided to raise the issue with FIFA’s global governing body and football lawmakers, the International Football Association Board (IFAB), asking them to times to review the Laws of the Game to consider the introduction of appropriate measures such as temporary replacements that would help reduce the pressure on medical staff – giving doctors more time to assess a potential concussion off the field , so that no concussed player returns to the playing field.

In December 2020, the IFAB approved trials with permanent concussion substitutes until the end of July 2022, confirming its decision in March of this year.

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