Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Arsenal doctor at forefront of new concussion rules

The Premier League today announced new guidelines and rules with regards to head injuries and concussions, and Arsenal doctor Gary O’Driscoll was a key member of the panel tasked with making recommendations.

As reported on Arsenal.com, “A working group headed up Premier League director of football, Mike Foster; chairman of the Premier League Doctors’ Group and Arsenal club doctor, Dr Gary O’Driscoll; The FA’s head of sports medicine, Dr Ian Beasley; and members of the PFA, LMA and Football League.”

There was controversy during the World Cup in Brazil when players who had suffered head injuries, and even lost consciousness, were allowed continue, and the new guidelines put in place for the 2014-15 season include:

– Premier League rules making clear that when a serious head injury is suffered on the pitch (in matches or training) that the ruling of the doctor/medical practitioner is final.

– The role of “tunnel doctors” (it is a new requirement for all Premier League matches to include a tunnel doctor) will include supporting the home and/or away team doctors in helping recognise the signs of concussion.

– Making it mandatory for all Premier League medical staff to carry the concussion recognition tool

– Annual baseline testing should take place on each Premier League player

O’Driscoll, who left his job with the IRFU in part because he disagreed with their stance on concussion and head injuries in rugby, said, “With regard to head injuries there has been a perception in the past that you can tough it out, you can play on, you can be brave.

“You need to make sure that everybody is aware of concussion, that everybody understands that it is just as significant as any other injury and that appropriate management is critical.

“We’d really like for everybody involved in the game to accept that concussion is a brain injury. We are acting in your best interests, and the team’s best interests. To take a player off is for his short-term, medium-term and long-term benefit.”

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Bit of a slow day im waiting for something to cheer me up after the long weekend….

The only Olivier is Giroud

Wenger a trailblazer for the game, now our medical staff following suit… classy as always. Good to see, though, a kid a a school nearby died on a rugby pitch because he was given the green light to keep playing after having a bad knock. Later turned out he had an undiagnosed berry aneurism. Not saying playing on caused his death if he had such a serious condition before, but maybe with proper medical care it would have been picked up. Playing on certainly didn’t help.


Thank God for this article.
The lack of Arsenal related news and football is killing me. I’m like a thirsty traveler in the desert, licking any source of water/Arsenal related news availaible.
Can’t wait for the season to start. Or the community shield.


As an avid watcher of Super Rugby and having seen the effects innocuous head knocks have on professional athletes and just how vulnerable they are, this is a great decision by the Premier League.


Is he like the firms own GP or is it just the playing staff?… It really is a slow day


There should also be allowance on additional substitutions in these cases. Tactically a team might use their quota and should not be at a disadvantage because the doctor calls off a player from a head injury. Maybe reduce tactical quota for substitutions to two players and allowances to replace up to three additional players in event of injury.


Obviously extra subs would never work, because a lot of stupid players would feign head injuries just to get switched out. And then you’ve got to decide where to draw the line, what if someone gets their leg broken by the opposition defence? I’m not sure how the new rules work, but an obvious solution would be to have neutral medical staff as part of the match official squad to make a final call on matters like this. Thankfully it’s a fairly rare occurrence, but seeing some of the incidents last year e.g. Lukaku vs Lloris, it was clear something… Read more »

Henry! Chance!! Goal!!!

This is what counts for news this summer? Not that I’m complaining because it sure beats the alternative of which player is heading for the exit door first in a mass exodus of Robin Van Judas’

Gooner '75

You want to make reccomendations? Knock yourself out!


We could also be discussing why the hell is Qatar going to host a World Cup?

Gooner Canuck

That, my friend, would be the shortest discussion ever.



With Alexis, Walcott, Ozil, Ramsey and The Ox it will be the oppositions manager getting concussion banging their heads in frustration as we tear their team apart.

Note: for opposition manager read Mourinho and for team read Chelski Plastic Gimps FC

(A side note sooo impressed with Bellerin and Ramsey in the two emirates cup games!)

On holiday

Makes Spurs look even bigger chumps than they obviously are by insisting Lloris played on after a head injury last season. Well played the Arsenal doctor, keep it up son.

Black Hei

Sorry but I still remember that it was Spurs docs that saved a young ex-gooner’s life. So I can’t thumb them down now, even though they clearly made a mistake with their own player.


that is a nice decision


Just wanna say… I am an Arse blog addict. and its fuckin excellent!!


In all seriousness, this is fantastic news. My little brother plays sunday league football, and I witnessed one manager tell a 10 year old kid to play on after being knocked out because “you don’t see professionals walking off after a little bang to the head.” This has needed to change for a long time


That’s great, can he sort out Diaby’s glass legs now please?


@gunnersaurus anyone who starts a sentence with “obviously” obviously does not have the foggish idea what they are talking about. Players always feign injuries but we are referring to medics playing as an official and making the final decision on whether the player remains on field. Nothing to do with the manager. Of course there will always be cheats but by your argument maybe we should abolish penalties because they are not all stonewall. You probably would have a point if you did not begin your sentence sounding so patronising, obviously:)

Springbank 1965

Seriously @forfucksake … I mean @forfucksake … @forfucksake.


Sorry if it sounded patronising, but I think it *is* quite obvious really!

We all know that most footballers have no shame and will do anything to give them an edge in the heat of the game. If an unscrupulous player is doing a reasonably job of feigning a concussion with the hope of getting a free substitution, then no doctor in his right mind will go against them and effectively say “no you should carry on playing”.


The problem with that, as mentioned in the article is that the doctors now have a concussion tool to measure if there is a concussion (or how bad) http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/08/14/a-simple-device-to-detect-concussions/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0 The TL;DR version is the tool uses the simple drop test kids do in science at school to measure their reaction time. The also player gets tested annually to have a baseline to measure against. Now a player could fake past that. I’m not sure they’d want to fake the baseline since the Doc wouldn’t know if they were actually hurt, and faking that test (its fast so say you repeat… Read more »


In the NFL players cheat on the baseline test so that they can beat the “actual” test when they get hit in the head during the game. This is almost certain to happen in the EPL as well, hopefully they have precautions in place for that possibility.


Is there any evidence for this happening in the NFL?


As above, I’d like to see examples of that one, both because it isn’t easy to fake, and (maybe they are stupid enough to do this) the real point of the test is to get a quick idea of if they might have a serious brain injury. Also with the Premier league not being a full-contact game, its not comparing like-with-like. In the NFL, they’ve got a 3-5 year career on average, so trying to avoid being sidelined through concussion makes a perverse kind of sense. If you were looking at a potential 10-15 year career (like top footballers), I… Read more »

Gutbukket Deffrolla

So that’s easy to fix. If you are slow in your baseline test you must have sub-standard reactions…. Not allowed to play in the competition until you can prove by three consecutive test results over a six week period that you have reaction times suitable to a professional athlete. Waiting period of two weeks between tests. Pick an average baseline. Players over 50% slower than that are obviously not sharp enough to play professional sport. Cheat and lose your first eight weeks of the season, or however long after that it takes for you to finally realise that you have… Read more »


This isn’t great Arsenal news. This is great news for everyone, and once again Arsenal happened to be at the forefront of it.

I’ve watched hockey forever, and the culture used to dictate that guys came back after being knocked unconscious from devastating hits. The NHL stamped this out finally. Players need to be saved from themselves when it comes to head injuries. No more disgrace like the World Cup.


Does anyone know if they are introducing the Temporary substitute into the game as well? I thought testing for concussion takes about 10 minutes? Like in Rugby Union they should be allowed to put a temporary sub on while the person with the head injury gets tested. If after the testing they find he’s no longer able to play on, the substitute is counted, but if they are able to continue and allowed back on the field the Sub is not used as one of our 3 subs available. Either that or just introduce a 4th sub anyways for the… Read more »


What the hell is the concussion recognition tool? As some who plays contact sports – ice hockey – I can assure you there is no tool to determine whether someone has had a concussion or not. This is a big problem in North America because the NFL and NHL have both been sued by retired athletes over malpractice regarding concussions.

Desert Fox

It’s an evaluation they do to check symptons of concussion – think its called a SCAT or something. and I think its used in hospitals and clinics in triage cases.

I had it used on me as a result of a bike crash i was involved in and i am sure its just a standard process and probably what the Doc is referring to.


It appears that it’s just a list of concussion signs, rather than a physical tool . http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/47/5/267.full.pdf.


Or not according to desert fox..


Pat – actually I think Desert Fox is agreeing with you (as am I!)
here’s what a quick google turned up (though DON’T google “scat”) – this is from Australian Rugby Union:

There’s another one called “Pocket Guide” (some company’s version no doubt):

Gutbukket Deffrolla

I’ve got the t-shirt…

“I googled ‘scat’ and I didn’t give a shit”


The concussion tool generates random equations. If the player looks at it and their ears bleed then they are concussed


Of course the most reliable test is holding up a photo of john terry with the options of “cunt” or “not a cunt”
Obviously if they choose the latter they’ll be sent straight to hospital

Merlin's Panini

Of course, if it is John Terry doing the test then the opposite rule applies. The deluded cunt.

The fool of a Took

How is it that four days before the start (sort of) of the season we have no proper Arsenal news? I need my fix dammit, even if it´s just a “bench” player talking nonsense about the upcoming season!

Chaillah the Gunner

In arsenal we don’t have a bench player who talks nonsense

Injured Gooner South Africa

Some news on Wali’s fitness would be awesome, that combined with an Ox update on his pre-World Cup injury. Also, a little bit on how Podolski feels about possibly competing with either Sanches or Campbell whilst still maintaining his amazing goals per minute record.

Also, a small article on how Podolski and Santi have somehow managed to add that extra yard and a half of pace working with the new fitness couches, something, just keep it fresh.

Even squad predictions would be awesome for the game against $hitty.

Gutbukket Deffrolla

Fitness couches!!! That sounds just the thing for me. Where can I buy one?

the Car2n Goon

Am I the only one that got this pun/irony? “A working group headed up…”

*gets coat, sees himself out*


What I DEMAND TO KNOW is how old is that photo?

I hope to GOD that that’s his home office or whatever, because if that’s his Arsenal office, GET THAT MAN A NEW COMPUTER!!

I was expecting our doctors spinning holograms of players’ knees in a virtual cloud in front of them; with tri-corders hanging from their belts and and and jet packs and shit.

His office looks crap.

Black Hei

Thanks for working hard on slow days. We need more guys like you around.

Gutbukket Deffrolla

That photo was taken when he first joined us.

Diaby has kept him so busy he’s not had time to get a new photo taken.

In the three short weeks since Diaby was finally cured (Yes, I have made the requisite sacrifices to appease the football injury Gods) just look what he’s been able to acheive. If he can get this into the rules so quickly, just imagine how healthy and injury-free our entire team will be this season (I’ll just pop out and do a bit more sacrificing, just to be on the safe side)

Merlin's Panini

I do think the substitution rules should be changed when it comes to concussions and severe injuries, especially when all three substitutions have been made. This, I think plays a large part in managers making irresponsible decisions to let their players carry on. Why should a team suffer by being reduced to 10 men when some opposition reprobate has knocked out, or broken the legs of, one of their players? I think the only reason a team should go down to ten men is if there has been a sending off. Obviously the problem arises that some players could tactically… Read more »

Transfer Windows Is Bollocks

Blogs, you mentioned today a lack of an example in the Concussion/head injury stakes at Arsenal recently. I seem to rambert Matthias Flaming getting quite a bad one at home v Norwich last year after a clash with Leroy Fer(?). Was quite a sickening landing on his face, he played on like the hard bastard he is but subsequently had to go off. Sorry if this has already been mentioned. Not sure what Mr O’ Dricoll was watching as it was quite a clear case of Concussion and he played on for quite a few minutes.

Transfer Windows Is Bollocks

Fucking spelling corrector thingy…but I guess you know what I meant.

Gooner '75

Talking of head injuries, one of the best tackles diaby ever made! Carling cup final 07.

Merlin's Panini

Ha! Good call.


ManUre legend Howard Webb retires from refereeing – anyone know when the testimonial is?

Giroud Awakening

Venga u by players 2 erly dis year n now nuting happening. venga out


Does the doc remind you of uri Gellar?


Haha. Steve, guess what I was just about to post? 😉

Gutbukket Deffrolla

Nope. No spoon.

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