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Premier League shows a “stubborn refusal” on players health and safety, say brain injury charity Headway

Brain injury charity Headway is calling for stronger action at elite level after Manchester United defender Harry Maguire sustained a head injury and was cleared to carry on playing, a decision deemed a “stubborn refusal” to put players’ health first.

On a mission to educate and protect, Headway is committed to working with young footballers to raise awareness around short and long-term brain injury. 

However, the lack of an example being set in the Premier League is at risk of affecting the effectiveness of the charity’s message.

Headway chief executive Luke Griggs said: “We are not privy to the discussions with his medical team, nor should their professionalism be questioned. 

“This is an issue with the very culture of football and its stubborn refusal to put players’ health above all else – including the result of a game.”

United’s medical staff assessed Maguire and allowed him to continue playing. He had a cut above his eye after his head made contact with the shoulder of Fulham’s Rodrigo Muniz.

Around the hour mark, referee John Brooks called for an assessment after the England defender was visibly dazed after heading away a clearance.

“Every time the ‘if in doubt, sit it out’ principle is seen to be ignored in elite level football, our chances of educating younger players and better protecting future generations from short and long-term brain injury is diminished.

“Temporary concussion substitutions would immediately help return some credibility to the process. 

“But an evolution of attitude is urgently needed.”

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