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Brain injury charity criticises Giggs and James over concussion 'acting'

9:46 PM SGT 14/10/19
Daniel James Wales 2019
The Manchester United star played the full 90 minutes of Wales' draw with Croatia despite appearing to be knocked out in a heavy collision

Brain injury association Headway has criticised the handling of a head injury to Daniel James during WalesEuro 2020 qualifier against Croatia.

The Manchester United winger appeared to be knocked out cold during a collision at speed with Croatian defender Domagoj Vida during Sunday's clash in Cardiff.

The incident caused concern among the players of both sides and the referee as the 21-year-old lay flat on his back with his arms and legs appearing to go limp.

He received treatment on and off the pitch before returning to the action a couple of minutes later.

And Wales manager Ryan Giggs, commenting after the game, said his player was "acting" as he went down.

“Dan James went down and stayed down, a bit of acting really”, he said.

“The medical staff went over. He was compos mentis. We did tests at half-time and he passed them. He’s fine.”

But Peter McCabe, chief executive of Headway, believes James should have been substituted if his injury was as serious as it appeared.

“Like most people watching the footage of the incident, our immediate concern was for the player’s health,” said McCabe.

“As soon as the incident occurred, he was attended to by the medics who then determined that he was fit to continue.

“Although it is argued that concussion protocols were followed, the rules state that if a concussion is suspected a player must be removed from the game. 

“To all watching, it appeared that Daniel James lost consciousness. Regardless of his manager’s comments after the game, this in itself must surely have given enough reason to take a cautious approach.”

The incident showed there is still work to be done with regard to the way head injuries are treated in football, especially in Europe.

Players often think they are fine after such collisions, even if they have been knocked out, so those with the power to remove a player from the field of play, need to do so, regardless of what the player says.

And McCabe believes Giggs’ comments after the game could mean these incidents are taken less seriously, adding: “Ryan Giggs’ claim that the player was being ‘streetwise’ by staying down and appearing to have been knocked out is shocking.

“If that is the case, and James was ‘acting’, it raises serious questions about the player’s understanding of the seriousness of concussion. Not only has he put his own medical team under intense and unfair scrutiny, but he’s also set a dangerous example for the millions watching at home.

“Similarly, we have serious concerns about terms like ‘streetwise’ or that the player was ‘just using his nous’. It is simply not acceptable for teams to use concussion protocols for tactical gain."