|Job||Chief executive of Headway|
2017 10 03 Retrieve
[Kevin Doyle’s decision to retire aged 34 should set ‘alarm bells’ ringing within the FA. The Irish forward released a statement last week confirming his retirement on medical grounds due to headaches brought on by heading footballs] The strength of the link between football and degenerative neurological injury is still unclear but we have long petitioned the football authorities to instigate meaningful independent research into the possible link between heading footballs and brain injury
Families of those former players who were heading the old, heavy leather footballs deserve answers as to whether or not their careers contributed to their health in later life. Equally, however, we need large-scale research that has meaningful conclusions for today’s game.
The general opinion seems to be that lightweight modern footballs are much less likely to cause harm, but this is unproven.
Certainly, you’ll find some researchers who suggest even lightweight footballs can cause sub-concussive blows due to the greater velocity at which these balls can travel. The question is, do these very minor impacts have a long-term consequence? Simply, the answer at this stage is we don’t know.
Ultimately, we need more evidence and we do feel the authorities have been dragging their feet on this for too long. They certainly have questions to answer and Kevin Doyle’s retirement should be setting off alarm bells within the FA
2017 10 16 Retrieve
[World’s leading concussion expert warns football must change or face extinction] Kevin’s retirement, albeit at the age of 34, from football as a result of persistent headaches - which he seems to be attributing to heading footballs - is certainly of interest. As far as I’m aware, he is the first (or one of) footballer to do so, although an increasing number of rugby players have retired early on medical advice.
Ultimately, we need more evidence and we do feel the authorities have been dragging their feet on this for too long. They certainly have questions to answer and Kevin Doyle’s retirement should be setting off alarm bells within the FA. Whether or not we see more footballers following in Kevin Doyle’s footsteps in the future is yet to be seen
2019 03 25 Retrieve
[Brain injury charity Headway has demanded action from UEFA after Switzerland defender Fabian Schar was allowed to play on having suffered a concussion] What is it going to take to make football take concussion seriously? How many more players will have their careers and, more importantly, their lives and long-term health put at risk by the sport’s inability to follow its own protocols?
Put simply, the decision to allow Fabian Schar to return to the field of play after suffering a clear concussion was not only incredibly dangerous, but also a clear dereliction of duty. The player’s comments after the match are also deeply disturbing and again show the lack of awareness and understanding among players. UEFA must immediately launch an investigation into the incident and explain why their protocols were not followed
2019 10 14 Retrieve
[Brain injury charity criticises Giggs and James over concussion ‘acting’] Like most people watching the footage of the incident, our immediate concern was for the player’s health. As soon as the incident occurred, he was attended to by the medics who then determined that he was fit to continue. Although it is argued that concussion protocols were followed, the rules state that if a concussion is suspected a player must be removed from the game. To all watching, it appeared that Daniel James lost consciousness. Regardless of his manager’s comments after the game, this in itself must surely have given enough reason to take a cautious approach.
[And McCabe believes Giggs’ comments after the game could mean these incidents are taken less seriously] Ryan Giggs’ claim that the player was being ‘streetwise’ by staying down and appearing to have been knocked out is shocking. If that is the case, and James was ‘acting’, it raises serious questions about the player’s understanding of the seriousness of concussion. Not only has he put his own medical team under intense and unfair scrutiny, but he’s also set a dangerous example for the millions watching at home. Similarly, we have serious concerns about terms like ‘streetwise’ or that the player was ‘just using his nous’. It is simply not acceptable for teams to use concussion protocols for tactical gain