Concussion Substitutes Must Be Introduced Following Farcical Farcical Luiz Situation

Over the past few years, IFAB - the body charged with determining the laws of football - has overseen a quiet and extremely boring regulatory revolution.

For years, the rules of the beautiful game remained largely untouched. Sure, there was the odd alteration here and there but generally, football remained perfectly imperfect since the introduction of the pass-back law in 1992.

This has changed recently. As the Telegraph reported in October, former Eton schoolmaster David Elleray's ascension to the IFAB throne in 2016 has coincided with no less than 178 law changes so far. Some of these tweaks have concerned entirely 'trivial' matters like ankle tape. Saying that, this is certainly not a trivial matter in my Sunday League dressing room.

Others have altered the game in a profoundly negative way, such as the new handball law that completely removed intent from the description of the crime. This has led to some ludicrous decisions of late, which begs the question, do IFAB really know what they're doing?

Further evidence of the body's failings can be seen in their farcical handling of concussion substitutes, an issue that was sadly brought sharply into focus during Arsenal and Wolves' Premier League meeting on Sunday evening.

Less than five minutes into this encounter, David Luiz and Raul Jimenez were involved in a harrowing clash of heads. The only thing more shocking than the collision itself was that after just a few minutes of treatment, Luiz was bandaged up with blood still gushing from his head and sent on his merry way.

Both players were treated on the pitch for head injuries | Pool/Getty Images

Meanwhile, Jimenez was stretchered off unconscious and sent to hospital for assessment after a stoppage of around 10 minutes. Fortunately he soon regained consciousness and responded to treatment.

The incident had particularly resonance as it came so soon after the release of a study which provided further evidence of the danger of head injuries in sport. The report, conducted by Liverpool Hope University, showed that just 20 headers with a modern ball was enough to make most players fail a pitchside concussion test.

Yet, Luiz managed to pass his? Strange, particularly as the Brazilian was then substituted at half time.

As I am not a medical expert, I would not dare question the competence of Arsenal's club doctor, who is responsible for administering the first pitchside assessment. It is well known that a player can pass a concussion test and then fail a second one a few hours later.

Luiz played the game with blood gushing from his head | James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

The bigger concern was the sheer frustration felt knowing that concussion substitutes would have allowed said doctor to conduct a more thorough assessment, and avoided Luiz being put in any necessary danger for the sake of saving time.

Our anger was only compounded when we began to consider just how easy it would be to introduce this. Concussion subs have been on the docket at IFAB for several years with the latest update suggestion that 'tests' would take place in January.

But why are these tests even necessary? Cricket and rugby union already have similar systems and recent revelations of the extent of the dementia crisis in football means the need for their introduction into our game has never been more pressing.

Yet, IFAB have prioritised the tweaking of laws so utterly pointless when compared with the threat of head injuries, that it borders on negligence.

The immediate introduction of concussion substitutes by these much maligned rulemakers would finally prove that football is ready to take head trauma seriously - and my word, it's been a long time coming.

Source : 90min