David Luiz: Jurgen Klopp backs calls for concussion substitutes


We’re talking about life and death here – Shearer on head injuries

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says the introduction of concussion substitutes “makes sense” after David Luiz played on with blood seeping from his head bandage as Arsenal lost to Wolves.

Alan Shearer thinks “football needs to wake up” around concussion protocols.

Arsenal said protocols were followed regarding the decision to allow Luiz to play on after Sunday’s incident.

Asked at a news conference whether he would be in favour of concussion substitutes, Klopp said: “At that moment I didn’t think about a rule change, I was just sitting there for 10 minutes hoping that they would both get up without any issues, but that didn’t happen.

“I hope Raul Jimenez is as good as possible now, I heard he had surgery. I wish him and David Luiz all the best.

“I know we have concussion protocols and I’m pretty sure Arsenal did that. I’m not sure any rule would help in that moment because the player can play on.

“But, yes, it makes sense that we can do things like this, of course.”

Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson, who suffered a head injury in a game himself after colliding with Liverpool’s Sadio Mane in 2017, is also in favour, saying: “I think all the concern and care is very important. It is a part of the body that needs special attention.

“When there is a blow to the head there should be a substitution, whether the player can continue or not. You could be feeling OK but after you could feel the consequences.”

‘We’re talking about players’ welfare here’

Former Newcastle striker Shearer, now a BBC Sport pundit, said concussion is an issue football needs to address urgently because “we are talking about life and death”.

He told Match of the Day: “Football needs to get real, it needs to wake up, it needs to get serious. Not next year, next month, now. It is not acceptable, it has been going too far too long.”

Sunday’s match at Emirates Stadium was in its early stages when Jimenez and Gunners defender Luiz accidently collided at an Arsenal corner. The striker was given oxygen on the pitch before being taken to hospital.

Having played on for almost 40 first-half minutes, Luiz did not reappear for the start of the second half as he was was replaced by Rob Holding.

Footballers who sustain a suspected concussion, either during training or in a game, should immediately be removed from the pitch and not allowed to return until the appropriate treatment has been administered, according to Football Association guidelines.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta said afterwards: “We followed the protocol to check he [Luiz] had not lost any consciousness, which he hadn’t, and then some tests.

“They will continue to do some more checks on him. He was really uncomfortable and couldn’t really head the ball and couldn’t continue.”

Shearer, though, believes action must be taken immediately to review concussion protocols to protect players.

The former England captain previously presented a BBC documentary on dementia and is aware of the risks players face from head injuries.

He said: “If David Luiz has passed all the protocols like Arsenal say he has, how on earth is he allowed back on to the pitch with a wound that is dripping down his face?

“We’re talking about players’ welfare here. Football’s protocols allow someone who has a cut that is seeping through a bandage that has just been put on to carry on playing and then he has to go off again 20 minutes later because he can’t head a ball.

“Cricket does it, the NFL does it, both codes of rugby do it – they all have better protocols. We’re talking about life and death and players’ careers ending.

“They’re on about trialling concussion substitutes. What is there to trial? It’s been going on for years. It’s not acceptable.

“We’ve been having meeting after meeting after meeting. Why do they need to trial anything? Just do it. Do it now. If things needs changing after that, change it.”

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