CHRIS SUTTON: Football's concussion subs trial fell at first hurdle

CHRIS SUTTON: Football’s trial with concussion substitutes fell at the first hurdle when Issa Diop played on after nasty clash with Anthony Martial… this was a first sobering lesson learned

  • Ryan Fredericks became English football’s first concussion sub on Tuesday night 
  • He replaced Issa Diop at half-time of West Ham’s FA Cup defeat at Man United 
  • Diop initially continued playing on and it proved the new rule does not work
  • Brain injury charity Headway were furious as they claim first test was ‘FAILED’ 

With English football’s first extra permanent concussion substitution, we have proof of why it doesn’t work.

Issa Diop hurt his head after 36 minutes in West Ham’s FA Cup tie with Manchester United. It was nasty. Diop was on the ground for two minutes, and commentators said it looked as if Anthony Martial’s forehead was swollen after their clash. And yet they continued.

Watch Tuesday’s match again and, at the half-time whistle, Diop can be seen walking towards the tunnel more slowly than his team-mates and holding his head.  

 Issa Diop suffered a nasty clash of heads with Anthony Martial in the FA Cup on Tuesday night

He was treated but then played on before he was substituted for concussion at half-time 

At half-time, he is substituted for concussion. This trial had a stinker. Lawmakers IFAB must look at this and realise why it’s so wrong, so perverse.

As the brain injury charity Headway said, this instance showed why this new protocol is ‘deeply flawed’.

Were temporary concussion substitutes available — as Sportsmail continues to fight for — then Diop could have been removed for a full check-up while a team-mate temporarily took his place.  

Diop was eventually replaced by Ryan Fredericks with the permanent concussion substitute rules now in place but the trial showed the need to allow temporary subs in this instance

The team would not have been left at a disadvantage. The player would not have run the risk of exacerbating the injury to his brain.

It is said you are more vulnerable immediately after a clash of heads and yet Diop continued for 10 more minutes while Martial stayed on. This showed why temporary concussion substitutes are sensible.

Diop could have used those 10 minutes — and the 15 for half-time — to be assessed in a private treatment room.

Sadly, the trial fell at the first hurdle. This was a first sobering lesson learned.

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