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16th Jun 2021

France criticised for allowing Benjamin Pavard to continue after being ‘knocked out’

Charlie Herbert

The defender admitted that he lost consciousness for “10 to 15 seconds.”

France are facing criticism for allowing defender Benjamin Pavard to continue to play against Germany despite him being knocked out in a nasty clash.

The Bayern Munich player was treated in the second half after he was involved in a collision with Germany’s Robin Gosens. As Gosens jumped to meet a cross at the far post his knee hit Pavard in the head, causing Pavard to require treatment for several minutes. He was, however, allowed to play on and ended up finishing the match on the pitch.

The 25-year-old has since admitted that he lost consciousness for “10 to 15 seconds.”

“I took a hell of a shock,” he told French broadcasters BeIN Sports. “I was a little knocked out for 10 to 15 seconds. After that, it was better.”

The decision to let Pavard play on was criticised by many on social media, with calls for him to be substituted for fear of concussion. It’s difficult to ignore the fact that in a sport such as rugby the player would have been brought off immediately to undergo a head injury assessment.

The Guardian reports that all 24 teams at Euro 2020 have signed a “concussion charter” that commits them to taking a series of measures to improve the care of players and includes neurological baseline testing and access to in-match television replays for team doctors.

However a statement from FifPro, which is the world player’s union, has called for the introduction of a “world-class concussion protocol” that would enforce a minimum six-day gradual return to play and for the game to pilot temporary concussion substitutions, which are already present in rugby.

So far only five domestic leagues – those of England, the Netherlands, Portugal, Japan and USA – have trialled the use of concussion substitutes, with Uefa opting not to implement a trial in the Euros. However, concussion substitutes were permitted at the final phase of the under-21 championship in Hungary and Slovenia this year.

Despite all the focus that the issues of head injuries and concussion has got in football and sport over recent years, it seems that football is still far more relaxed on the issues than other sports. The sport should be learning from the rugby world which has come under intense scrutiny and fire for its historical shortcomings in taking head injuries seriously, yet it still seems to be behind the times.