TOTTENHAM yesterday defended their decision to allow goalkeeper Hugo Lloris to continue playing after being knocked unconscious during Sunday’s goalless draw with Everton, despite staunch criticism.
Lloris required lengthy treatment after an accidental clash with Toffees striker Romelu Lukaku, but appeared to defy initial advice from the Spurs medical department that he be substituted and retook his place on the field.
Manager Andre Villas-Boas insisted he made the call for Lloris to continue not the player and has since been condemned by brain injury charity Headway for failing to acknowledge the risks associated with a head trauma, labelling the Portuguese boss “irresponsible”.
Spurs head of medical services Wayne Diesel said: “Once the relevant tests and assessments were carried out we were totally satisfied that he was fit to continue playing.”
And Spurs added in a statement: “The club can confirm that Hugo Lloris underwent a precautionary CT scan and was given the all-clear and travelled back to London last night.
“The France goalkeeper suffered a knock to the head following a collision with Everton forward Romelu Lukaku in the closing stages of the Premier League encounter at Goodison Park and was cleared to resume playing after examination by the club’s medical team.”
However, international players’ union Fifpro and the Professional Footballers’ Association are not satisfied that the club had the power to allow Lloris to continue once he was assessed by medical staff – under Football Association guidelines – and have called for a change to the rules.
“This decision is unacceptable,” said Fifpro medical advisor Vincent Gouttebarge. “Fifpro condemns that the health and safety of players are left to coaches, trainers or even to players themselves.”
And PFA spokesman John Bramhall added: “If anyone suffers severe trauma to the head and loses consciousness they should be required to leave the field. It is important to take the pressure off the players, club medical staff and the manager, removing the need for them to make a very difficult decision.”
“All clubs shall ensure that any player having left the field of play with a head injury shall not be allowed to resume playing or training without the clearance of a qualified medical practitioner. The same provision shall apply where a head injury is sustained in training.”