Events during this year’s FIFA World Cup raises questions over the protocols put in place for players’ safety while on the pitch. One multiple occasions, players decided to stay on the pitch despite being hit hard in the head. One of those occasions was in the final when Christoph Kramer continued to play until he collapsed and needed to be escorted off the pitch.
There have been calls to update the protocols to make sure the players’ safeties are put first. Kramer played for 14 minutes until he was finally forced off after the blow, but arguably should have gone off much sooner. A knock to the head that hard could have caused much more damage than known at the time.
People were straight on social media complaining at the decision to allow him to continue playing in the FIFA World Cup. As soon as it happened, his legs shutdown and he was on the ground, seemingly unconscious. After a few seconds he was back up, but certainly not back to normal. Fans of the game have complained that FIFA should have had medics straight on the pitch to take him off and get him the medical help he needed.
As Forbes points out, if this was football a player would have come straight off the pitch. That player would not have been allowed to return onto the pitch either. Kramer received some treatment before going back on and then had to come off again about 15 minutes later. The whole incident has raised questions over the protocols for the safety of players in the FIFA World Cup.
This was not the only case this year. During the group stages, Uruguay player Alvaro Pereira was temporarily knocked out after connecting with the knee of an English player. His team doctor recommended that he come off, but the player decided to stay on the pitch. Considering he was knocked out, it would have been better for him to stay off. Javier Mascherano, playing for Argentina, also returned to the game after his blow to the head that left him dazed.
There is the argument that a soccer player is old enough to make his own decisions. He should be able to decide if he feels capable enough to continue playing. However, many sports players and athletes will know that there is a level of competitiveness. They do not want to leave the pitch in such a way during such a major moment, and they certainly do not want to let their teams down. This was certainly the case for many of those involved in head injuries in this year’s World Cup.
Many players may not even realize how dangerous their injury is. They could feel fine enough to get back on the pitch, only to realize that they are not 100 percent; much like Kramer’s lack of judgment. Those trained in the medical field know all about the dangers, and it should be up to them to decide whether players are capable enough to go back onto the pitch. The recent FIFA World Cup has certainly raised questions over the protocols and safety of players, and only time will tell if the organization will rethink its policies.
Opinion by Alexandria Ingham