Alan Shearer has questioned the decision to allow David Luiz to continue playing for Arsenal after suffering a head injury and has demanded that concussion substitutes be introduced immediately.
The International Football Association Board have given the go-ahead for trials to take place from this month and the English FA are set to implement the changes in the FA Cup, likely from the third round in January, but Shearer says there’s no need to wait.
With the spotlight on head injuries having intensified in recent years and, more recently, questions over heading the ball and links to dementia seeing calls for studies to take place, the emphasis continues to be on improving player welfare.
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In this instance, Shearer says the sport is hesitating in the face of obvious need for change and pointed to other sports already having adopted a change in stance.
“Football needs to get real. It needs to wake up. It needs to get serious, not next year, not next week, now,” he said on Match of the Day 2.
“This has been going on too long. The protocols in football are not acceptable. If he has passed all the protocols, how on earth is he allowed to come back on with a wound bleeding through the bandage.
“We’re talking about welfare here, cricket does it, NFL does it, rugby. We’re talking about life and death here, players’ careers ending.
“It’s been going on far too long. What’s to trial about the concussion substitute, why? Just do it, it’s not acceptable.”
Jermaine Jenas agreed that it “makes no sense” to not have the changed rules implemented now rather than “waiting for something really bad to happen”.
The challenge Luiz was involved in saw Raul Jimenez suffer a fractured skull, before his Wolves side went on to beat Arsenal 2-1.
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