Football’s attitude towards head injuries was called into question as a shaken Stefan de Vrij was cleared to continue playing for Inter Milan in their 2-0 loss to Liverpool.
The Champions League Round of 16 game was called off at the half-hour mark with the Dutch defender seeking treatment after indicating he had taken a blow to the head.
De Vrij was treated with an ice pack on his head, but as soon as he left the pitch, Inter manager Simone Inzaghi brought him straight back.
De Vrij then hit the deck again just before halftime, and the pattern was repeated, heading off again before Inzaghi put it back.
Former Premier League striker Dean Ashton was furious at the lack of action, comparing the attitude of football to other sports.
“They’ve already taken the risk,” he told talkSPORT in commentary. “I watched the rugby union at the weekend, there are people in the stands, they are watching a video – if there was a head clash, it’s gone!
“There’s no ‘if’ or ‘but’ or ‘do you want to continue?’ De Vrij is still convinced that he wants to continue. He will want to play in such a big game. As a team, you don’t want to be without your best players.
“But, come on, where’s the thought process to protect the players?”
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He added: “You could see that De Vrij was waving his hand in front of his face as if he had blurred vision or a little dizzy. Surely that tells you enough that there is something wrong?
“There’s this problem we have in football of whether the player is adamant about continuing, rather than taking it out of his hands. I don’t like to see it.
He continued, “There has to be a big culture shift. We have to take care of the well-being of the players, rather than the importance of the rest of this half.
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