Courtois cleared to play but brain injury charity unhappy

Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois suffered a head injury in this clash with Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez (top).

ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images

Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has been cleared to play on after undergoing precautionary tests following the head injury he sustained during Sunday’s 2-0 Premier League win over Arsenal.

Courtois played on after requiring treatment for a head knock following a first-half collision with Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez, before being replaced after further treatment and departing Stamford Bridge for precautionary scans in hospital.

A Chelsea statement issued on Monday read: "Chelsea Football Club can confirm Thibaut Courtois went to hospital during our Premier League game against Arsenal yesterday (Sunday) for precautionary tests on a head injury. Those tests came back all clear.

"Thibaut was treated for a minor cut to his ear and was released from hospital last night. He is expected to report for international duty (with Belgium) later this week."

Headway, the brain injury charity, has questioned the application of the Premier League’s regulations following the decision to allow Courtois to play on.

The Premier League is understood to be happy the rules were correctly applied.

Headway chief executive Peter McCabe said on the charity’s website: "The new rules introduced this season were designed to ensure no risks to players’ health were taken.

"They clearly state that ‘If there is any suspicion of the player having sustained a concussion, they must be removed from the field of play, and not allowed to return.’

"This incident calls into question whether these rules are working effectively. It is hard to understand how a concussion was not suspected following the sickening clash."

Courtois was taken off only after liquid appeared to be coming from his ear.

McCabe acknowledged the difficulty of making an assessment from television, but questioned why a "safety-first approach" was not applied.

He added: "Bleeding from one or both ears is one of the symptoms to look out for that requires an immediate visit or return to hospital following a head injury.

"The fact that the bleeding only became apparent 15 minutes after the injury also demonstrates the evolving nature of concussion and highlights why a safety-first approach must be taken with all head injuries."

Following confirmation he had been given the green light to continue, Courtois tweeted: "Thanks for all the messages! I’m already feeling better. Now I’m resting to be recovered and back on the pitch soon. Great victory yesterday."