FIFA Proposes Mandatory Concussion Management

New protocol enables referee timeouts for head injuries

The 2014 FIFA World Cup averaged 1.7 injuries per game. (Veooz/Getty)
Photo: Veooz/Getty

Criticism of protection for athletes from traumatic head injuries after the 2014 World Cup has led soccer’s governing body to take action.

FIFA’s medical committee proposed a new injury protocol during a meeting in Zurich, Switzerland, on Tuesday. The proposal states that when a suspected head injury occurs during a match, referees will have the ability to call a three-minute timeout. During the timeout, team doctors can complete an on-field assessment of the injury and diagnose possible concussions.

“The incidents at the World Cup have shown that the role of team doctors needs to be reinforced in order to ensure the correct management of potential cases of concussion,” FIFA said in an official statement. After medical assessment, referees will allow injured players to continue playing under the authorization of the team doctor. 

The proposed plan was sent to FIFA’s executive committee for approval.

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