FIFA to investigate concussions after string of cases at World Cup

FIFA to investigate concussions after string of cases at World Cup

Published Aug. 12, 2014 9:01 p.m. ET

FIFA, world soccer's governing body, has launched an investigation into concussions in the game after a string of high-profile incidents.

The recent World Cup in Brazil was punctuated by a string of concussions, those suffered by Alvaro Pereira, Javier Mascherano and Christoph Kramer - the latter in the tournament's final -- the most notable.

With no set guidelines in place, all three played on in their games, although Mascherano was the only one not to subsequently be forced off. That led to criticism of the game's governing body, which has now revealed measures are being taken to boost their understanding of such issues.

A statement read: "As well as prevention, determining the most appropriate medical treatment for footballers after head injuries is also crucial. With this in mind, researchers from University-Hospital Zurich's Clinic of Neurology and Zurich's Schulthess Clinic have launched a collaborative project with FIFA and have defined the initial factors needed to determine exactly when a player should return to football after suffering a mild injury in the course of play."


FIFA chief medical officer Jiri Dvorak is supervising the studies, and suggested a period of rest could be enforced for players who are concussed.

"First and foremost, it is crucial that the condition is examined in detail and assessed appropriately within 24 hours of the event," he added. "While a head injury initially requires a resting phase, in the event of an inner ear problem we recommend a swift return to training that should include exercises targeted at coordination.

"After a mild head injury it is recommended that players gradually increase their activity levels, ideally making a return to full participation in football six days after sustaining the injury. The aim of our project is to get injured players back on the pitch as quickly and as safely as possible."

Last week the Football Association announced measures would be introduced in the English game regarding concussion. There is also a new requirement for all Premier League matches to include a tunnel doctor, who will support the team doctors in recognizing the signs of concussion.

A campaign on head injury treatment, supported by the Premier League, Football League and League Manager's Association, will be accompanied by an education program in conjunction with the Professional Footballers' Association. England stars including Steven Gerrard, Leighton Baines and Rickie Lambert have contributed to a video produced by the FA.

Premier League director of football Mike Foster said: "Player safety is paramount in all sports and the Premier League has a strong track record of introducing new medical rules and provisions as top-level football has evolved and new challenges emerged."'s newswire services contributed to this report.  

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