Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Hugo Lloris lost consciousness having sustained a blow to the head during a match.
He was initially treated on the pitch and a stretcher was brought on for him. However, having regained consciousness, he was allowed to continue playing and stayed on the field for the remainder of the game. The decision was taken by his team manager, Andre Villas-Boas, who did not wish to substitute his goalkeeper.
The brain injury charity, Headway, said the club showed an "irresponsible and cavalier attitude" towards Lloris's health. Headway spokesman Luke Griggs said: "When a player - or any individual - suffers a blow to the head that is severe enough for them to lose consciousness, it is vital they urgently seek appropriate medical attention”.
He added: "A physio or doctor treating a player on the pitch simply cannot accurately gauge the severity of the damage caused to the player's brain in such a setting as there may be delayed presentation of symptoms. By continuing to play, the player may have caused greater damage to his brain. He should have been removed from the game immediately and taken to hospital for thorough tests and observation."
Similar issues have arisen in rugby union. Dr Barry O'Driscoll recently resigned from his role as medical advisor to the International Rugby Board in October following concerns about the treatment of concussion.
Tom Hartigan, Associate in Trethowans’ personal injury team, commented: “Symptoms of head injuries can often be very difficult to detect. They often do not manifest themselves immediately and it is not until later that the full extent of the injury becomes clear. For these reasons, it is important for all head injuries to be treated with the utmost caution. Decisions need to be taken by qualified medical staff.”