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IBSA Football pioneers concussion policy

Date: May 28, 2021

Category: Football

The International Blind Sports Association (IBSA) Football has introduced a pioneering new policy to protect players with potential concussion at all official tournaments.

The IBSA Blind and Partially Sighted Football Temporary Concussion Substitution Policy introduces a way for players suspected of concussion to be taken off the pitch during play and replaced with another athlete.

A Temporary Concussion Substitute (TCS) can be requested by a medical team official if they believe one of their players has sustained a head injury. This player can remain on pitch for 10 minutes while their teammate is assessed, to allow play to continue.

If the injured athlete can return, they will be allowed to do so by the referee at the next available stoppage of play. If they cannot, the TCS can remain on the pitch as a normal substitute. If the team have no available substitutions, they will still be able to use a TCS but the player must leave the pitch after 10 minutes if the injured player can return or not.

The new policy will be tested at the upcoming World Grand Prix in Shinagawa, Japan, [hyperlink] and will also be in place at all blind football matches at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

It will apply to every IBSA Blind Football and IBSA Partially Sighted Football sanctioned competition and is one of the first to be introduced in Para sport.

Jeff Davis, a member of the IBSA Football Committee who has been working on the development of the policy, said: “We are pleased to be making big strides in the management of concussion, following on from the recent release of the first scientific position statement.

“Whilst head injuries are not routine in blind or partially sighted football we know that we can do better to care for those who might have been hurt, improving player welfare and safety on the pitch.

“On behalf of the IBSA Football Committee I would like to thank everyone involved with the development of the policy, which is helping to lead the way in concussion management in Para sport.”

Ahead of the IBSA Blind Football World Grand Prix, an online seminar was held for all participating teams. Dr. Osman Ahmed and Dr. Richard Weiler, members of the IBSA Medical Committee who helped write the position statement as part of the ‘Concussion in Para Sport’ group, led the session.

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