Concussion rule changes to impact upon football

Outside of my academic role at BU, I also have a voluntary role as Head of Medical at the International Federation of Cerebral Palsy Football ( I took over this position earlier in the year, and part of my remit was to look at concussion in the game. This is of particular interest to me as my PhD (and a lot of my research since then) has been focused on concussion in sport.

There has been a lot of discussion about bringing in temporary concussion substitutes into mainstream football and FIFA/UEFA have been under a lot of focus for this. The idea behind temporary concussion substitutions is to allow clinicians time to assess a player at the side of the pitch, without putting both the injured player and clinician under pressure to make a rushed decision regarding their return to play.

To date, there haven’t been any rule changes in the mainstream version of football. However earlier this month I was able to lead on the introduction of temporary concussion substitutions in Cerebral Palsy Football:

This is a big step forwards for football as a whole, and hopefully will lead other (larger!) sports federations to follow. The temporary concussion substitution policy was created with player input and shaped by the IFCPF Medical Committee. We are already in discussions with the International Blind Sports Federation to bring about a similar rule for Blind Football, and hopefully in 2020 there will be more examples of rule changes like this to benefit players in all forms of football (and other sports).