Skip to content

Spurs leaving Lloris in at Goodison proves English soccer miles behind on head injuries (video)

Nov 3, 2013, 12:09 PM EDT

Tottenham Hotspur's goalkeeper Lloris is attended to by medical staff after being involved in a collision with Everton's Lukaku during their English Premier League soccer match at Goodison Park in Liverpool Reuters

Hugo Lloris never should have been allowed to continue at Goodison Park.  End of story.

With the Spurs goalkeeper appearing to have been momentarily knocked out by Romelu Lukaku‘s knee, the woozy and foggy player fought ferociously to stay on the pitch.

Lloris won protests by the medical staff, his captain Michael Dawson, and manager Andre Villas-Boas, staying on in favor of the substitute Brad Friedel.

In allowing his player to run back onto the field, AVB failed his players and proved that when it comes to head injuries, the Barclays Premier League lacks greatly in both the knowledge of head injuries and how to properly and safely deal with them.

It’s ironic that Lloris was injured by Lukaku.  Clearly unintentional, the imposing Belgian forward had dealt with the same situation just over a month prior, admitting he doesn’t even remember scoring a goal thanks to a blow to the head – which he was allowed to not only continue after, but played a full 90 two days later.

(MORE: Romelu Lukaku situation shows need for Premier League concussion policy)

With one instance, the argument can be made that a need for a policy change is in order (as you can read from Liviu Bird in the link above).

But a flurry of instances this season? Policy is no longer the fix.  A need for education is in order. Education on not just the consequences of serious head injuries both immediate and long-term, but education for medical staff and coaches on how to simply tell a player “no, you cannot go back in.” Former US international and current ESPN fixture Taylor Twellman agrees:

Guess what? AVB after the match said Hugo Lloris can’t remember getting knocked out. He then proceeded to laud his player for his assertiveness in the situation. What a surprise.

It was clear that nobody but Hugo Lloris wanted Hugo Lloris on the pitch after watching what happened. And yet Hugo Lloris ended up back on the pitch.  That is a problem.

This isn’t Spurs first head-injury mishap this season, either.  Just last week, AVB admitted winger Andros Townsend was unconscious and needed oxygen when medical staff arrived to treat him after falling over a video advertising board.  He returned to play in the match.

Stoke City defender Robert Huth was knocked out in September against Manchester City. He played the full 90.

Many in the United States have argued that the National Football League as well as the NCAA has taken things too far regarding head injuries, changing the game itself in an attempt to protect players.  While that may be true, there is no doubt that if the type of injury Lloris sustained had happened in the NFL, and the player had been allowed to come back on, a full investigation would be launched, fines would be issued, and staff members may even lose their jobs. Obviously a much more violent sport, a head injury is a head injury, and should be dealt with the same no matter the sport.

source: Reuters

Romelu Lukaku, having clattered Lloris and maybe knocked him out, immediately called for trainers.

Major League Soccer also has much stricter rules regarding head injuries.  As Liviu points out, MLS requires every single player to undergo baseline testing before the season starts. Following an incident such as the one at Goodison today, the player would immediately be substituted and must prove symptom free – and even then must be cleared by a neuropsychologist – before resuming any type of activity.

Research and evidence have proven time and time again in recent history that head injuries in sports have not just serious but long-lasting effects on the lives of players both during and after their careers.

Adrenaline, recklessness, passion, and youth often drive these players to desire to play through such injuries, and it is the job of the staff to prevent them from doing so.

As Liviu cited in his story about Lukaku, there is also a complete lack of a structured system for teams and players to follow should they sustain a head injury.

The official policy, as cited in the 2013-2014 Premier League official handbook, states, “Any Player, whether engaged in a League Match, any other match or in training, who having sustained a head injury leaves the field of play, shall not be allowed to resume playing or training (as the case may be) until he has been examined by a medical practitioner and declared fit to do so.”

What kind of a “guideline” is that? It’s a disaster that the Premier League has such a lackluster structure in place – no structure whatsoever – to deal with serious and dangerous injuries such as this.

Hopefully this incident will, unlike Lukaku’s, drive the Premier League to institute some type of structure to force teams to act on behalf of player safety.  If they don’t, nobody will, and it is the players who will suffer – mightily.

Here is video of the incident:

Latest Posts
  1. VIDEO: “I Was There” visits Chelsea fans across the country as Mourinho’s men clinch the title

    May 5, 2015, 11:25 PM EDT

    If you’d like your supporters group to be featured on future episodes of ‘I Was There’ simply send pictures/video to @NBCSportsSoccer or on NBC Sports Soccer on Facebook using the #IWasThere hashtag.

  2. MLS Snapshot: Houston Dynamo 0-1 San Jose Earthquakes

    May 5, 2015, 10:46 PM EDT

    Chris Wondolowski, San Jose Earthquakes Getty Images

    Adam Jahn scored with his head while David Bingham made a big penalty stop to lead San Jose to all three points.

  3. UEFA Champions League preview: Barcelona vs. Bayern Munich

    May 5, 2015, 9:43 PM EDT

    Pep Guardiola faces his former club when Bayern Munich travels to Camp Nou to take on Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League semifinal matchup.

  4. Emmanuel Adebayor hits out at his family in bizarre Facebook post

    May 5, 2015, 8:58 PM EDT

    Tottenham Hotspur v Queens Park Rangers - Premier League Getty Images

    The struggling Tottenham striker seems to have more problems than just scoring goals.

  5. Carlo Ancelotti still upbeat despite Real Madrid’s loss to Juventus

    May 5, 2015, 7:45 PM EDT

    The Real Madrid boss is confident his side can overcome the 2-1 deficit following a first leg defeat in Italy.

  6. Africa’s richest man hopes to buy Arsenal

    May 5, 2015, 6:56 PM EDT

    The Davos World Economic Forum 2015 The Davos World Economic Forum 2015

    Aliko Dangote has a net worth of nearly $16 billion, and he wants to use some of that cash to buy the Gunners.

  7. Patrice Evra praises Carlos Tevez’s play, says striker has “United blood”

    May 5, 2015, 6:00 PM EDT

    FBL-EUR-C1-JUVENTUS-TRAINING FBL-EUR-C1-JUVENTUS-TRAINING

    The duo won the Champions League together with Manchester United in 2008, and Patrice Evra thinks that gives them an edge with Juventus.

  8. Three things we learned from Juventus vs. Real Madrid

    May 5, 2015, 5:05 PM EDT

    FBL-EUR-C1-JUVENTUS-REALMADRID FBL-EUR-C1-JUVENTUS-REALMADRID

    The Italian champs take a slender lead to the Spanish capital with them after a classic European encounter.

  9. Juventus 2-1 Real Madrid: Tevez penalty lifts Juve over defending champs

    May 5, 2015, 4:44 PM EDT

    Tevez stole the show as Juventus beat Real Madrid in Turin. Tevez stole the show as Juventus beat Real Madrid in Turin.

    A second-half penalty from Carlos Tevez led Juventus to a big home win over Real Madrid in the first leg of the Champions League semifinals.

  10. Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge undergoes hip surgery

    May 5, 2015, 3:36 PM EDT

    Liverpool v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Liverpool v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League

    The Reds’ striker will now begin his rehabilitation towards next season after a disappointing campaign riddled with injuries.

  11. Newcastle captain pens open letter apologizing for recent nosedive

    May 5, 2015, 3:04 PM EDT

    Coloccini Getty Images

    The captain came to his team’s defense, but it ended up coming out quite awkward.

  12. LIVE – UEFA Champions League semifinal: Can Juventus beat Real Madrid in Turin?

    May 5, 2015, 2:15 PM EDT

    FBL-ITA-SERIEA-JUVENTUS-FIORENTINA FBL-ITA-SERIEA-JUVENTUS-FIORENTINA

    The Italian champions welcome the reigning European champions to Turin for the first leg of their semifinal. Follow all the action live.

  13. Rais Mbolhi rejoins Philadelphia Union, back training in full

    May 5, 2015, 1:49 PM EDT

    Mbohli Getty Images

    Thought to be on his way out, Rais Mbolhi is back with the club. For now.

  14. Injured Oscar out of Brazil squad for upcoming Copa America

    May 5, 2015, 12:22 PM EDT

    Oscar Getty Images

    Oscar hasn’t appeared since his collision with David Ospina, but Dunga says the midfielder’s injury is training related.

  15. Will Chelsea offer Didier Drogba a new contract? Should they?

    May 5, 2015, 11:11 AM EDT

    Drogba Getty Images

    Didier Drogba is 37 years old, but still represents the best option for his role that Chelsea can buy.

  16. US Soccer adds Guatemala to summer friendly list days before Gold Cup

    May 5, 2015, 10:30 AM EDT

    Guatemala AP

    Just four days before opening the Gold Cup, the US will host a familiar CONCACAF opponent.

  17. Report: Newcastle in for Aleksandar Mitrovic, agree to $22 million fee

    May 5, 2015, 9:54 AM EDT

    Mitrovic Getty Images

    Newcastle appears to have lofty goals, but the prospects of bringing a Champions League striker to St. James Park while trying to stave off relegation appear grim.

  18. American defender Will Packwood released by Birmingham City, while Spector’s extended

    May 5, 2015, 8:38 AM EDT

    Packwood Getty Images

    The 21-year-old Packwood saw his playing time significantly diminished this season, and finished the year on loan in League Two. Meanwhile, his experienced teammate Jonathan Spector is staying on.

  19. Reports: Chelsea gearing up contract extension talks with Mourinho

    May 5, 2015, 7:57 AM EDT

    Mourinho Getty Images

    With Jose Mourinho “here to stay” Chelsea has looked to make that sentiment official.

Featured video

Week 35: Premier League recap