The Disabilities Trust comments on today’s decision by the International Football Association Board (IFAB), confirming the use of extensive trials of concussion substitutes in Football to ensure that all head injuries are properly assessed off the field of play.

Jocelyn Gaynor, Head of the Trust’s Foundation, said: “Head injury in sport has received increasing focus in recent weeks, following incidents on the pitch and the moving stories of ex-rugby players with early on-set dementia. Football’s high profile means that how sporting bodies address concussion has a huge impact on the public perception of concussion and this decision could increase awareness of the need to treat head injuries seriously in other sports. We hope all sporting bodies will listen to the discussions and take an evidence based approach to reducing the risk to players in both professional and amateur games.

Sport and physical activity will always have inherent risks, however as research and evidence grows it is critical that sporting bodies keep pace to maintain the highest levels of player safety. The Disabilities Trust have continuously highlighted that once a player is diagnosed with concussion they should not be allowed to return to play in that game. It is well established that concussion symptoms do not always show up immediately after a head impact and that playing on can damage recovery.

"As a leading provider of neuro-rehabilitative services for people who have endured a brain injury, we urge all professional sporting bodies to ensure that any player who appears concussed should be subject to an assessment by a health professional using the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool 3 (SCAT 3) or equivalent. We hope that following today’s announcement football players receive appropriate and timely assessment following any actual or suspected concussion.

"It is critical that all sports act to ensure another generation of players do not face the prospect of significant neurological conditions in the future.”