There have been ongoing discussions in the Premier League about a system where clubs would agree to make steeper concussions a part of their game. Current rules state that any player making a direct challenge to another player on the wing who is wearing the safety strip will be allowed to be substituted. Rules do not state who is responsible for making the first contact. Clubs however, would like to be able to bring down the rate of such challenges and make more substitutions in key positions during matches.
Those in charge of football’s regulations and rules which apply to players’ safety will eventually allow teams to replaced players with less obvious head injuries from January 2020. Premier League clubs have reportedly agreed to introduce permanent concussion substitutes into their game in the near future but no definitive number of regulation from league to introduce has yet been presented. Some sources expect up to 12 fixtures a season with one or two additional matches added in the top flight. Other sources point to four or five additional fixtures a season as the maximum number of matches allowed per season. Rules change on a regular basis and it is likely that the Premier League will experiment with even more rule changes over the next few years.
It is not known whether any of the Premier League clubs agree to introduce a system where the center circle or “box” is lowered when a challenge occurs in an aerial kick. The idea of lowering the goal post or moving it closer to the center line may be viable, especially if the Premier League can negotiate a lower salary for its players as well. Whether or not this idea will ever gain acceptance by the rest of the footballing world is questionable.
I wonder whether there will be any Premier League clubs agree to reduce the amount of season kick offs for a trial concussion substitutes policy.
Having concussions is a terrible thing and one of the most difficult injuries to recovery from. Many people, including doctors, professionals and fans alike, are concerned that the introduction of a trial concussion substitutes policy by premier league clubs will do little to curb the problem. However, I am not so sure. Science is showing that long term exposure to high levels of repeated head injury can have devastating long term consequences, so why isn’t everyone jumping on the concussion bandwagon?
Wednesday’s development in the Premier League highlights the importance of implementing policies that both benefit players and the general game environment. It also provides hope that the authorities involved in football, who must take steps to ensure safety, will get it right this time. The introduction of a trial match for players to serve additional breaks is a step in the right direction, and hopefully more clubs will follow suite. Tuesday’s news is a reminder that the game is a very serious business and the focus must remain on safety. As ever, we urge any interested parties to speak to a trusted doctor or specialist in their particular case. Concussion substitutes are a case example of when science meets sport to make a real difference to player welfare.