Euro 2024 Concussion Awareness Q&A

Welcome to the Euro 2024 Concussion Awareness Q&A

As we gather to celebrate the beautiful game at Euro 2024, it’s important to shine a light on an issue that affects players at all levels: concussion. Football brings us together, fostering inclusivity, progress, and care within our communities. We owe it to the players who inspire us to ensure their health and safety are prioritised both on and off the pitch.

How common is concussion in football?

While the most frequent injuries in football involve the lower limbs, concussions and other head injuries, though less common, remain a significant concern. Head and neck injuries are rank as the 5th most common type of injury, making up about 5% of all football injuries. Specifically, concussions occur at a rate of approximately 0.5 per 1000 match hours, with an even lower incidence during training sessions.

How do head injuries occur?

Head injuries often happen during aerial challenges. Collisions involving head-to-head contact, elbow-to-head, knee-to-head, foot-to-head, and head-to-ground impacts are the primary culprits.

Are some positions more likely to sustain a concussion?

Yes, defenders are most prone to concussions (33%), followed by midfielders (30%), forwards (24%), and goalkeepers (13%). These injuries are most common in the final and initial 30 minutes of a match, particularly in midfield areas where collisions and aerial duels are frequent.

Is there a difference between the male and female game?

Indeed, studies show that head and neck injuries occur more frequently in female players compared to their male counterparts (17% vs. 14%).

What are the impacts of concussion on football players?

Growing concerns have emerged following studies indicating that former professional footballers are 3.5 times more likely to die from neurodegenerative diseases than the general population. Conditions like dementia, Parkinson’s, motor neuron disease, and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) are linked to repeated head impacts.

One of the lesser-reported impacts of a concussion is that athletes are reported to have a 2.5 times greater risk of sustaining a subsequent musculoskeletal injury following an initial concussion.

What about concussion substitutes?

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) approved the trial of permanent concussion substitutes in 2021. This measure was implemented in the Premier League and Women’s Super League, with FIFA initially trialling it in international competitions such as the FIFA Club World Cup™.

What else are authorities doing to protect players?

Authorities are continuously working to safeguard players. In 2021, new heading guidelines were introduced by The FA, Premier League, EFL, the PFA and the LMA, recommending that a maximum of 10 higher-force headers are carried out in any training week. In May 2024, the FA have begun phasing out deliberate heading in matches for all grassroots youth football from U7 to U11.

How can Your Brain Health help?

Your Brain Health is dedicated to promoting effective concussion management strategies within the football community. Through education, such as the online Level 1 course “Concussion – Are You Ready?”, players, coaches, and officials can learn to protect themselves and others, ensuring the long-term health and safety of everyone involved in the sport.

Together, by staying informed and proactive, we can ensure that football continues to be a source of joy, unity, and safety for all. Enjoy the matches, support your teams, and let’s keep our players safe on the road to glory at Euro 2024!