Skip to main content

Lloris life 'put at risk', says former Chelsea team doctor

November 4, 2013 -- Updated 2349 GMT (0749 HKT)
Hugo Lloris wanted to continue playing despite being inadvertently poleaxed by Romelu Lukaku at Everton's Goodison Park.
Hugo Lloris wanted to continue playing despite being inadvertently poleaxed by Romelu Lukaku at Everton's Goodison Park.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Former Chelsea team doctor critical of Tottenham's handling of Lloris concussion
  • Spurs issue statement defending actions during match at Everton's Goodison Park
  • British players' union calls for change in the rules to how head injuries are treated

(CNN) -- Tottenham Hotspur medical staff were putting Hugo Lloris' life at risk by leaving him on the field after he suffered concussion at Everton, the former head doctor at Chelsea has told CNN.

Dr Ralph Rogers, the first team doctor at the English Premier League side between 2009 and 2010, believes Tottenham's medical staff erred in their treatment of the Frenchman at Goodison Park.

"I don't want to be critical of the doctor in question but this is a time to reflect because next time, we have to ensure we get it right," said Rogers.

Lloris suffered concussion after being accidentally hit in the head by the knee of Everton striker Romelu Lukaku late in the game, with play held up for nine minutes as he received treatment.

To widespread surprise, Lloris -- who could not remember the incident after the match -- was allowed to continue after saying that he wanted to stay on the pitch.

Should injured players keep playing?
Muamba: I've played football again
Teen only remembers mom after injury
Ex-NFL player: Settlement not a reward

Both world governing body FIFA and the global players' union FIFPro criticized the decision-making progress employed by the Tottenham staff, who say they followed procedure when assessing the state of the France captain.

"Once the relevant tests and assessments were carried out we were totally satisfied that he was fit to continue playing," Spurs' Head of Medical Services Wayne Diesel said on the club website.

Local FA rules state that any player who leaves the pitch with a head injury should "not be allowed to resume playing or training without the clearance of a qualified medical practitioner" even if such an injury is sustained in training.

Read: 'Devastated' Muamba retires from football

Tottenham's medical staff have come under fire for their actions, which come 18 months after they were widely praised for saving the life of visiting Bolton Wanderers player Fabrice Muamba, whose heart stopped beating during a game at White Hart Lane.

Nonetheless, Rogers is unhappy with the way in which Lloris was treated on the pitch, saying the goalkeeper was allowed to move too freely before a more comprehensive treatment had taken place.

"Lloris could have died, he could have been paralyzed," said Rogers. "If knocked out with a head injury, he should have been carried off the pitch -- but first and foremost, they should have checked his spine."

"He needed to have a collar put around his neck, blocks applied to either side of his head, to have been strapped in and then a spinal board placed underneath him in order to determine any injury to his cervical spine."

After declining to specifically address Rogers' assertions, Tottenham referred CNN to the earlier statement made by Diesel.

On Monday, the Professional Footballers' Association, the body that looks after the welfare of footballers in England and Wales, called for a change in the rules surrounding head injuries.

"If anyone suffers a severe trauma to the head and loses consciousness, then they should be required to leave the field of play automatically," said PFA deputy chief executive John Bramhall.

Chain of Command

After the match, Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas said he had taken the final decision to send Lloris back onto the pitch following consultation with his medical staff.

Reporter: Settlement is a win for NFL
New head cap aims to curb concussions
Football comes to Buckingham Palace
Qatar 2022: Too hot for football?

For Rogers, such an admission lies at the heart of a weakness he believes exists within the game.

"The problem is that no one knows who's boss at present on such an issue," he said.

"Traditionally, it has been the physiotherapist but does he know more than the team doctor? If you go to hospital, it's not the nurse but the doctor who ultimately looks after you. A physio has fewer qualifications.

"I strongly believe that the doctor should be the team leader above both the manager and referee. He has to be strong enough to make that crucial decision, because at the end of the day it's not about the club, it's about the doctor looking after the player.

"If I had been in the same situation, I would have ordered Lloris' removal from the pitch, telling all concerned that if they didn't like my decisions, then they could fire me in the coming days."

FIFPro backed Rogers' viewpoint on the chain of command in a statement which called the decision to keep Lloris on the pitch 'unacceptable'.

"FIFPro condemns that the health and safety of players are let to coaches/trainers or even to players themselves," said the body's Medical Advisor Vincent Gouttebarge.

"Medical professionals should be aware of any relevant medical guidelines and apply them in order to empower the health and safety on the field. The health and safety of the players should be the number one priority and should prevail against any other matters."

Read: NFL in multi-million dollar concussion settlement

The issue of concussion has become a major talking point in sports such as rugby and the NFL in recent times.

Three months ago, the NFL reached a settlement worth $765 million with 4,500 former players who sued the organization over claims it hid the potential impact of concussion-related injuries.

In rugby, Dr Barry O'Driscoll -- the uncle of Ireland star Brian -- quit his seat on the International Rugby Board's medical committee in protest at a new method of dealing with head injuries.

New guidelines stipulate that a player can return to the pitch five minutes after injury if a medical inspection entitled the Pitch-Side Concussion Assessment determines he has not been knocked out.

Once upon a time, the rules stated that a player had to wait three weeks before returning to the fray.

Lloris was given less than ten minutes in a clattering that so badly damaged Lukaku's knee the Everton striker was forced off the field.

Earlier this season, Lukaku was praised for finishing a game against West Ham despite suffering a concussion himself when scoring late on -- a difference in media coverage that Spurs fans may point to when considering the outcry over Lloris.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
October 28, 2014 -- Updated 1253 GMT (2053 HKT)
How Real Madrid's new stadium will look
They splash the cash on the world's best players, now Real Madrid are giving the Bernabeu the same treatment with a bling makeover.
October 27, 2014 -- Updated 1309 GMT (2109 HKT)
Football world mourns South African captain Senzo Meyiwa who was shot and killed during a botched robbery in a township near Johannesburg.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 1348 GMT (2148 HKT)
A man as a Roman centurion and who earn his living by posing with tourists gestures in front of the Colosseum during a protest where some of his colleagues climbed on the monument on April 12, 2012 in Rome. The costumed centurions are asking for the right to work there after they were banned following a decision by local authorities.
From the ancient ruins of Rome, a new empire rises. But the eyes of the city's newest gladiator light up at thoughts of the Colosseum.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 1622 GMT (0022 HKT)
Once part of Germany's largest Jewish sports club, now he's the first ISIS suspect to stand trial in a country left shocked by his alleged radicalization.
October 17, 2014 -- Updated 1411 GMT (2211 HKT)
One goal in eight matches for new club Liverpool, and dumped by the Italian national team -- Mario Balotelli has yet to shine on his English return.
October 18, 2014 -- Updated 1819 GMT (0219 HKT)
Ched Evans smiles during the Wales training session ahead of their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier against England on March 25, 2011 in Cardiff, Wales.
Should a convicted rapist, who has served their time in prison, be allowed to resume their old job? What if that job was as a high-profile football player?
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 1247 GMT (2047 HKT)
After 10 years of golden glory, it's easy to see how Lionel Messi has taken his place among the football gods.
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 1034 GMT (1834 HKT)
A football fan wipes a tear after Inter Milan's Argentinian defender Javier Zanetti has greeted fans following the announcement of his retirement before the start of the Italian seria A football match Inter Milan vs Lazio, on May 10, 2014, in San Siro Stadium In Milan
When will the tears stop? A leading Italian football club is pursuing a new direction -- under the guidance of its new Indonesian owner.
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 2241 GMT (0641 HKT)
Norwegian 15-year-old Martin Odegaard is the youngest player ever to feature in a European Championships qualifying match.
October 10, 2014 -- Updated 1310 GMT (2110 HKT)
After revolutionizing cricket with its glitzy Twenty20 league, India has now thrown large sums of money at a new football venture.
October 2, 2014 -- Updated 1453 GMT (2253 HKT)
Get ruthless. That is Rio Ferdinand's message to soccer's authorities in the fight to tackle the scourge of racism.
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 1328 GMT (2128 HKT)
A picture taken on May 16, 2014 shows 15-year-old Norwegian footballer Martin Oedegaard of club Stroemsgodset IF cheering during a match in Drammen, Norway. Oedegaard is set to become Norways youngest player ever in the national football team.
He's just 15 and the world is seemingly already at his feet. Norway's Martin Odegaard is being sought by Europe's top clubs.
ADVERTISEMENT