Uefa has said it is ‘satisfied’ the French medical team did not breach a concussion protocol by allowing Benjamin Pavard to continue playing against Germany on Monday night, despite the player claiming he had been knocked out.
After discussions between the governing body and France’s team doctor, Uefa says it has concluded that “a loss of consciousness did not occur”, when the Bayern Munich player collided with Germany’s Robin Gosens.
“Uefa has received detailed information from the French FA medical team on the course of events and is satisfied that the actions taken by the medical team were in line with the concussion protocol”, a statement read.
“According to the reports that we received from the team doctor, it seems that a loss of consciousness did not occur. The team doctor did not find any reason to suspect a concussion either on the pitch or after thorough assessment made by a renowned specialist in this field in later follow-up.”
Speaking after the match Pavard said he had been “a little knocked out for 10 to 15 seconds” following the incident.
A new Uefa protocol, which was signed by all 24 nations competing at Euro 2020 insisted that if the team doctor “has any doubts about unconsciousness or signs of concussion, he should remove the player from the field”. However the protocol made clear that such a decision rested only with the doctor and that their assessment should be followed even if a player or a coach disagreed.
Uefa said that Pavard will continue to be closely monitored by medical staff over the coming days. France’s next match in Group F is against Hungary on Saturday.
The decision to allow Pavard to play on against Germany was “sickening”, according to a leading brain injury charity.
The chief executive of Headway, Peter McCabe, said Pavard should have been taken off.
“It was plain for all to see that Pavard was unable to protect himself from the fall,” McCabe said. “Pavard’s later statement that he lost consciousness confirms the seriousness of the incident.
“We have continuously been told that football’s concussion protocols are fit for purpose and that temporary concussion substitutes are not necessary. But here we have yet another example where it is simply not credible to suggest that a concussion could not be ‘suspected’ or a possible consequence of the impact. However, after a brief on-pitch assessment the player was allowed to continue.
“Furthermore, it appeared that the referee [Carlos Del Cerro Grande of Spain] was attempting to speed up the medical team and usher them and the player off the pitch, rather than allowing them the time they needed to assess the seriousness of the injury.
“The way this incident was handled was sickening to watch. Uefa has to come out and immediately explain how it was allowed to happen and what action it will now take to ensure something similar does not occur in the future.”
Uefa said it was in contact with the French federation over the incident. The governing body chose not to include Euro 2020 in the trials of permanent concussion substitutes currently being operated by the rule-making International Football Association Board. It did, however, asks nations sign up to a new protocol on the treatment of head injuries. The international players’ union, Fifpro, said it had made contact with Uefa to establish why the protocol had apparently not been followed.
The head coaches and team doctors of all 24 nations signed up to the protocol, which agreed to the use of new video technology to assess injuries and includes the following, apparently definitive, statement: “We confirm that if a player of our team is suspected of having suffered a concussion, he will be immediately removed from the pitch, whether in training or match play.”