July 9, 2014; Sao Paulo, BRAZIL; Netherlands player Nigel de Jong (left) and Argentina player Javier Mascherano slide for the ball during the semifinal match in the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians. Mandatory Credit: Tim Groothuis/Witters Sport via USA TODAY Sports

Morning Kick Around: Head injuries come to the forefront once more

For the second time in this World Cup, FIFA drew the criticism of viewers around the world after allowing Argentina’s Javier Mascherano to return to the field just minutes after suffering a head-to-head collision that ultimately led to him stumbling to the ground. According to ESPN, Mascherano was back on the field in two and a half minutes, far less time than it would take to conduct a proper evaluation for a concussion.

You can’t do an evaluation in three hours. With concussions, it can take hours or even days for problems to develop.

Michael Kaplan, New York attorney in brain injuries

In the group stage, Uruguay’s Alvaro Pereira stayed on the field after being knocked out by a knee to the head. A doctor called for a substitution to be made but Pereira was allowed to simply wave off the doctor and return to playing.

With all that we know about concussions in 2014, FIFA desperately needs to put together a concussion policy to protect its players. When long term effects such as paralysis and the other damages that second impact syndrome can cause, there is no reason to take any chances, regardless of the situation. Instead, teams are allowed to leave their players on the field and put their lives at risk.

Many have been vocal about the lack of backbone that FIFA has shown, particularly after it was allowed a second time in the tournament.

 

Everyone knows by now that Taylor Twellman is not afraid to let his voice be heard, particularly when it comes to this issue. Twellman had his playing career cut short by on-the-field brain trauma, so while he is understandably upset, FIFA continues to do nothing to be proactive.

Ultimately, Mascherano was the best player on the field for either side, and made what was perhaps the game-saving tackle on Dutch forward Argen Robben late in regulation. Regardless, we will have to wait and see if there are any effects from continuing after suffering the crushing blow.

Tags: Argentina Javier Mascherano World Cup 2014

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