London (AFP) – Marco Bielsa has insisted Leeds’ backroom staff did nothing wrong in their treatment of Robin Koch’s head injury during Sunday’s defeat by Manchester United.
Koch returned after sustaining a cut forehead in a first-half clash with Scott McTominay and was later taken off due to the effects of concussion in a 4-2 loss.
England’s Professional Footballers’ Association criticised the current protocols, saying temporary concussion substitutes needed to be introduced.
Permanent concussion substitutes have been used in the Premier League for the past year, allowing each side up to an extra two changes.
If players are replaced they cannot return to the field. In rugby, in contrast, a substitute comes on while an off-field head injury assessment is carried out.
“If there’s something that the medical staff at Leeds have done, and I as an extension of their decisions, it’s to abide strictly by the rules whether by Covid or any knocks to the head or any other case,” Bielsa said.
“If any club has acted impeccably with the rules regards to health, it’s Leeds.”
Bielsa added neither he nor his medical staff believed Koch was suffering from anything other than bleeding from the cut when he returned to the field.
“We did nothing different to the protocol,” he said. “We did everything according to the protocol. I was convinced it was just the bleeding from the cut. That was the first conclusion after the evaluation the player had.
“When he manifested different symptoms, he was substituted. The control the player receives when they get this type of knock, the protocol that is applied is what generates whether he should be substituted or not.”
Bielsa explained he did not want to go outside the current concussion substitution rules.
“I stayed with the initial position with the absurd idea of not wanting to abuse the rules,” he said.
“The prevention of the knocks on the heads of the players is very serious, very important. That can generate real dramas. But it’s also true that you should not dramatise situations that don’t deserve to be interpreted in the way this situation has been interpreted.”
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