Sportsmail’s Chris Sutton labels UEFA’s concussion protocols at Euro 2020 – which allowed France’s Benjamin Pavard to continue against Germany – ‘an absolute SCANDAL’… after defender admitted losing consciousness for ’10 to 15 seconds’
The return of a concussed Benjamin Pavard to the field is ‘an absolute scandal’ which shows that UEFA’s protocols are ‘not fit for purpose’.
That is the view of Sportsmail columnist and dementia campaigner Chris Sutton, who has reacted with disbelief after the France defender was cleared to come back onto the field despite being knocked out during their tournament opener against Germany.
The 25-year-old Bayern Munich defender was left prostrate on the floor after taking a nasty hit to the head from opposition midfielder Robin Gosens. Pavard, who later described taking ‘a hell of a shock’ and losing consciousness for ’10 to 15 seconds’ was treated for several minutes before coming back on as France held out for a key 1-0 victory.
Benjamin Pavard admitted he was ‘a little knocked out for 10-15 seconds’ from the collision
Incredibly, France’s Pavard was allowed to play on despite suffering an apparent concussion
Sportsmail columnist and dementia campaigner Chris Sutton has reacted with disbelief after the France defender was cleared to come back onto the field
Earlier this week, all 24 teams at Euro 2020 signed a ‘concussion charter’ which features a series of measures aimed to protect players who have suffered head injuries.
But – crucially – it keeps the power in the hands of the team doctor, rather than an independent assessor.
Ex-Celtic, Blackburn and Norwich striker Sutton, who has spearheaded Sportsmail’s campaign calling for football to finally tackle its dementia scandal, was outraged.
‘It’s an absolute scandal,’ he said.
‘How on earth can they think that they are looking after players’ welfare after this? A five-year-old could come up with a better protocol. It’s really not complicated, it’s just about using common sense and there isn’t any.
‘Get him off the field and get him assessed by an independent doctor. Put a temporary sub on and if he gets the all-clear then he can come back on.’
The input of a potentially partisan team medic has also been questioned by Sutton.
Pavard took a knee to the head from Robin Gosens in the second half on Tuesday night
‘Why is it still the team doctor making the call?’ he asked. ‘Apparently, Benjamin Pavard has known the France team doctor for a long time and that relationship has to cause concern over the decision-making process.
‘The player will have known the repercussions should the decision have been taken away from him. This is a France team that wants to win the tournament, that wants its best players on the field. Are they going to make the right call against that backdrop?’
Sutton added that he was amazed that situations such as Pavard’s still arise.
‘I really don’t understand the issue,’ he said. ‘If it was one of my sons I would want him off the field. Clearly the protocol does not have the player as the priority. It is not fit for purpose.’
UEFA say they are confident that the charter was followed in Pavard’s case and have no concerns over the matter.
The charter says that team doctors have to inform UEFA in writing following a head injury that the player has passed each of the steps set out in the ‘Graduated Return to Play Protocol’.
The charter, signed by each nation, states: ‘As the General Secretary, Head Coach and Team Doctor we fully support UEFA’s guidance on how to recognise a concussion… we confirm that if a player is suspected of having suffered a concussion, he will be immediately removed from the pitch, whether in training or match play’.