Ryan Giggs and Daniel James have been heavily criticised by brain injury charity Headway over their handling of an apparent concussion incident during Sunday night’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Croatia.
James clashed heads with Croatia’s Domagoj Vida in the first half of the match in Cardiff and initially appeared to have lost consciousness. Giggs said that the player did not suffer a concussion in the incident and said he had stayed down because he was “streetwise” and “using his nous”.
James was treated at length on the pitch immediately after the incident and Giggs said that further tests were carried out at half-time to ensure the Manchester United player was fit to continue.
Headway however took a dim view of Giggs’ comments.
Its chief executive Peter McCabe said: “Like most people watching the footage of the incident, our immediate concern was for the player’s health.
“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.
“However, 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.”
The Football Association of Wales has been contacted by the PA news agency for a response to Headway’s comments.
Giggs said after the match: “He stayed down and was a bit streetwise. He told the doctors ‘I’m not moving, I’m just sitting still’.
“Not to get anyone sent off, he was just using his nous.”
It has been reported that football’s lawmaking body, the International Football Association Board, will discuss proposals at its next meetings on October 23 to increase the assessment period for concussions from three minutes to 10 minutes.
As part of the same proposal, concussion substitutes could be introduced while a player receives treatment, and stay on if that player is deemed unfit to return to the pitch.