Soccer-Shearer calls for temporary concussion substitutes after Baldock scare

(Reuters) – Former England striker Alan Shearer criticised the handling of a head injury to Sheffield United defender George Baldock in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat by Leeds United, calling for the introduction of temporary concussion substitutes.

Baldock thundered into Leeds striker Tyler Roberts shortly after the half-hour mark, but came off worse in the challenge, slamming the back of his head on the turf. After receiving treatment for several minutes, he was deemed fit to continue and played for 11 more minutes before being replaced by Ethan Ampadu.

The Premier League in January agreed to trial permanent concussion substitutes.

According to the league’s protocol, the team doctor will have as much time as required to make an assessment of the player. If the player shows clear symptoms, he will then be substituted and prevented from returning to the field of play.

Former Newcastle United striker Shearer said the current system puts too much pressure on medics to make snap decisions and that temporary substitutions should be allowed while head injuries are assessed.

“This needs to change,” Shearer told Amazon Prime. “I think it’s unfair on medical staff.

“He (Baldock) should be allowed to come off, be assessed for however long, temporary sub comes on and then if he (Baldock) is allowed to, he comes back. Medics are being rushed into situations which are life-changing.

“It was a risk allowing him to go back onto the pitch in the condition he was in. That was the ideal scenario where a temporary substitution would work.”

Blades defender Jayden Bogle also sustained a head injury during the game and was immediately substituted. Interim boss Paul Heckingbottom said the necessary protocols had been followed.

“We followed the rules,” he said. “They went through the checklist and if the player passes, they assess them on the side. As soon as George (Baldock) reported symptoms we have to take him off.”

(Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)


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