Senegal have been criticised by brain injury association Headway for their handling of Sadio Mane’s head injury in the Africa Cup of Nations win over Cape Verde.
Liverpool star Mane received a nasty blow to the head in a collision with Cape Verde goalkeeper Vozinha, who was sent off after a VAR review of the incident, during Tuesday’s last-16 tie.
Mane received treatment on the field but was allowed to stay on and subsequently curled in a brilliant opener for Senegal, who went on to win 2-0.
The forward was taken off shortly after and was then taken to hospital for further assessment.
A photograph – posted on the official Africa Cup of Nations Twitter account – revealed that Vozinha visited Mane in hospital after the game.
Sharing the photo on Instagram, Mane told his 9.1million followers: “All is well. Thank you all for the messages.”
What really matters #TeamCapeVerde goalkeeper Vozinha pays a visit to the #TeamSenegal star at the hospital following the two players’ head collision#TotalEnergiesAFCON2021 | #AFCON2021 | @Fsfofficielle | @fcfcomunica pic.twitter.com/gS2GLVkw6X
— #TotalEnergiesAFCON2021(@CAF_Online) January 25, 2022
However, brain injury association Headway have criticised how Senegal allowed Mane to play on following the collision.
“On the face of it, this seems to be yet another example of football putting results ahead of player safety,” said Luke Griggs, deputy chief executive of Headway, in a statement released on the association’s website.
“This was a sickening collision that clearly left both players in enough distress for a concussion to have surely been considered a possibility at the very least.
“At that point, the principle of ‘if in doubt, sit it out!’ should have resulted in Mane being substituted without another ball being kicked.
“The image of the player collapsing on the ground and having to be helped from the pitch after scoring his goal should tell you everything you need to know about the impact and the effect it had had on his brain.
“Yet again, the desire to win is seen as being worth serious risks to players’ health. It is simply shocking that this continues to happen.
“This is now a real test of leadership for The Confederation of African Football (CAF) and world governing body FIFA – particularly if Senegal declare Mane fit for Sunday’s quarter-final.
“If football wants to be taken seriously when it comes to concussion, it simply must take action to enforce and strengthen its protocols.”
In the Premier League, concussion substitutes have been introduced that enable teams to take a player off if they have sustained a head injury, without giving up one of their three allocated changes.
Neither FIFA nor CAF had commented on the incident at the time of publication.
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