A concussion expert tells the Associated Press
that FIFA and the World Cup organizers repeatedly failed to follow their own concussion protocol and then did not take advantage of the
opportunity to use the international event to teach fans and young players about the danger of head injuries.
"I'm worried about how many kids emulate these athletes. It wasn't just one
athlete hurt; it was one multiplied by one million," expert Chris Nowinski
said on Tuesday. "They didn't even use a bully pulpit and say: 'This is unacceptable.'" Nowinski is a former American
football player turned professional wrestler who retired because of concussions. He helped start the Sports Legacy Institute to educate the public about head injuries.
On several occasions
during the month-long tournament, players sustained obvious concussions but continued to play, putting them at risk of severe brain damage. One of the clearest examples was in Sunday’s final,
where Germany midfielder Christoph Kramer
had to be helped off the field after colliding with Argentina’s Ezequiel Garay
, saying he didn’t remember much about the collision,
which is a clear sign of a concussion.
"Clearly if there is a protocol, it isn't being followed," Nowinski added. "It was a great teaching point: Immediately after the injury, you can't
leave it up to the athlete. Some of these concussions, they clearly weren't able to make decisions for themselves."
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