A knockout blow for personal courage
In last Sunday’s match between Tottenham and Everton, Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris took a blow to the head during a challenge with Everton striker Romelu Lukaku, which briefly left Lloris out cold. Ouch. After a lengthy stoppage and having almost been stretchered off, Lloris got to his feet and stoically played through the pain to finish the game (which ended in a nil-nil draw). Stirring stuff. Surely this was a great example of footballing courage, harking back to the days when a bloodied Terry Butcher played on with a heavily bandaged head wound for England?
Not according to charity Headway, which supports people affected by brain injury. Headway branded the decision by Tottenham and its medical staff to allow Lloris to continue as ‘irresponsible and cavalier’.
I’m not going to start spouting on about how soft football and the Premier League has become, but the decision should be no one else’s to make apart from the player and the medical team that examined him. As Spurs manager André Villas-Boas said: ‘I stand by the decision I took and I stand by the decision made by my medical staff. They did everything by the book.’ The Tottenham medical staff may not be top head-injury experts, but I’m certain they would have plenty of experience in dealing with these injuries.
As ever with charities wanting to make a name for themselves, Headway made a lot of noise without knowing the full facts. How could they? They weren’t in the huddle of staff treating Lloris. But ignorance is no impediment to sounding off when there is some press coverage to be garnered.
The only fact that matters is that Lloris wanted to carry on and play for his club and the medical team could find no reason for him not to do so. In such circumstances, it should be for the player to decide if he’s fit and ready to carry on. The fact that Lloris went on to make important saves later in the game and is fit to line up for Spurs on this coming Sunday confirms that the decision was justified. Lloris’s actions were a fine example of having the determination to carry on through his evident discomfort for the good of his team – a far better example than that set by the noisy, safety-obsessed campaigners shouting from the sidelines.
Felix Denton is an intern at spiked.