The World Cup may have been more popular in the US this year than ever before, but it was also marred by several apparent brain injuries that went seemingly unaddressed by both players and the FIFA’s governing body.
A few of these incidents, including a widely covered collision in the final in which Germany’s Christoph Kramer continued playing after clearly injuring his head, brought harsh criticism on FIFA’s laissez-faire attitude towards brain injuries.
During the competition and in the time following, FIFA has remained largely silent on the growing issue of brain injuries in the sport, but this week the organization announced it will consider a proposal which would grant referees the power to stop play (and the clock) in the event of a suspected head injury.
Just last week UEFA, the administrative body for association football in Europe and a portion of Asia, adopted the three-minute break protocol which will begin being applied starting next week.
During the announcement, FIFA also responded loosely to the criticism following this year’s World Cup saying, “the role of the team doctors needs to be reinforced in order to ensure the correct management of potential cases of concussion.”
Compared to the concussion protocols we have become accustomed to in US sports, this rule is limited in scope and will likely allow many more concussed soccer players to remain on the field. Still, if FIFA adopts the rule it will be a step in the right direction.