European leagues and player unions take steps to improve concussion management

European Leagues and FIFPRO have hosted an online workshop of more than 50 representatives from Leagues and player unions, along with medical experts from FIFA and Major League Soccer, with a view to drastically improving the management of concussion in football.

The meeting is part of a three-year collaboration between European Leagues and FIFPRO to elevate standards of concussion recognition and treatment in domestic professional club competitions across more than 20 European countries.

The agreement with FIFPRO aims to raise awareness about concussion and implement optimum protocols for professional football that protect the health of players as much as possible across professional domestic competitions.

Under the collaboration, domestic leagues and player unions are working together to implement a series of measures in their respective countries. These include arranging regular education sessions for players, club staff, referees and match officials about how to identify the symptoms of concussion and how to treat concussed footballers.

Leagues and unions are also collaborating with a view to introducing a reporting structure for each concussive incident and trained independent spotters at matches who can immediately review video replays to help club doctors on the pitch identify signs of a concussion.

During the online workshop the MLS’ Chief Medical Officer described the highly-developed protocol that has been developed in the North American professional league in cooperation with the national player association (MLSPA) while explaining the role trained spotters play at MLS matches for the last few years and their real-time communication between with club doctors treating injured players.

FIFPRO Chief Medical Officer and FIFA Medical Director were also keynote speakers at the workshop. They spoke about the critical importance of effective concussion awareness and management because of potentially serious health side-effects, and further steps being considered to improve the existing protocol.

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