‘I played with dizziness and headaches for NINE MONTHS – every day there was a new impact’: Former Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen reveals the shocking details of how he played through concussion problems to earn a new contract
- Jan Vertonghen collided with fellow defender Toby Alderweireld against Ajax
- He was cleared to continue playing but was later substituted in the match
- The former Tottenham left back revealed he continued to feel the effects of it
- But he felt he had to push through the pain to try and extend his stay at the club
Jan Vertonghen has shockingly revealed that he played through concussion symptoms to earn a new deal at Tottenham.
The problems started after the 33-year-old Belgian collided with then team-mate Toby Alderweireld in their Champions League semi-final home defeat by Ajax last year when they challenged goalkeeper Andre Onana to an aerial ball.
After lengthy treatment was conducted on the field, Vertonghen was cleared to continue against his former club but later had to be substituted after signalling to the bench moments later that he was unable to carry on.
Jan Vertonghen has shockingly revealed that he played through concussion symptoms
The problems started after the Belgian collided with Toby Alderweireld against Ajax in 2019
Now speaking to Belgian outlet Sporza, Vertonghen has revealed he continued to feel the effects of the collision for nine months and played through headaches and dizziness to try and extend his stay at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
‘Lots of people don’t know but I suffered a lot from that hit [against Ajax]: dizziness and headaches,’ he said.
‘This is now the first time I am telling you about it. I should not have continued playing, it affected me in total for nine months and that’s why I couldn’t bring what I wanted to on the field.
‘I just didn’t know what to do. It was game after game and training session after training session. Everytime there was a new impact. Then the lockdown came and I was able to rest for two months, after that it was a lot better.
Vertonghen was initially cleared to continue playing the match but was later substituted
Now the former Spurs defender has revealed he struggled for nine months due to the collision
‘Everybody thought I was angry at [Jose] Mourinho but at that moment I could not go on anymore.
‘I had only one year left on my contract, so I had to play. But when I played, I played badly. Not a lot of people knew about it, that was my own choice, it’s not a reproach to anyone.’
The news comes with Premier League clubs set to give the green light this week for the use of permanent concussion substitutes for the second half of the season.
However, the discussion around their introduction in any form began in earnest following Vertonghen’s injury, with brain charity Headway leading the calls.
But Vertonghen admitted he carried on in order to make sure he earned a new deal at Spurs
‘Concussion is notoriously difficult to diagnose. The symptoms may be hidden and require the individual to be honest about how they’re feeling, while they can also be delayed in their presentation,’ Headway spokesperson Luke Griggs said at the time.
‘Assessing a player for three minutes – or even five, as was the case with Jan Vertonghen – does not allow for medical staff to make a reliable diagnosis, particularly when this is conducted on the pitch under the gaze of tens of thousands of fans eager for the game to resume.
‘The pressure on club medical staff is enormous and unfair, particularly in such high-stakes games such as a Champions League semi-final. We believe the time has come for football to introduce temporary concussion substitutions that would allow for longer off-pitch assessments to be conducted.
The news comes with Premier League clubs set to allow permanent concussion substitutes
‘In addition, independent doctors with expertise in concussion and head injuries should make the ultimate decision as to whether or not a player is fit to continue.
‘Not every head injury will result in a concussion. But allowing players to continue while showing clear signs of discomfort following a head injury is contrary to the ‘if in doubt, sit it out’ principle at the heart of all effective concussion protocols.’
Centre-back Vertonghen left Spurs earlier this year on a free transfer to join Portuguese outfit Benfica.
Vertonghen left Spurs earlier this year on a free transfer to join Portuguese outfit Benfica
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