- Jan Vertonghen suffered a suspected broken nose and was left bloody and dazed after a nasty head collision as Tottenham Hotspur trailed 1-0 in the critical first leg of its UEFA Champions League match against Ajax on Tuesday.
- Within four minutes, Vertonghen had been assessed, given a clean uniform, and allowed back on the pitch to play.
- But his contribution lasted just another two minutes as he was once again forced off the field where he “half collapsed” down the tunnel.
- The whole incident has left soccer reporters around the world furious because of how concussion is treated in the sport.
- Two journalists have called for the protocol to be looked at, with one claiming that independent doctors rather than team medics should only assess head injuries.
- Read more of Business Insider’s coverage for the 2018-2019 soccer season right here.
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LONDON – Jan Vertonghen suffered a nasty head collision during Tottenham Hotspur’s loss against Ajax on Tuesday.
It all happened in the 33rd minute of the critical first leg of the team’s UEFA Champions League match at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.
Tottenham was 1-0 down and chasing an equaliser before half-time. The defender Vertonghen leaped into the air to challenge for the ball but ended up colliding into the back of his Spurs teammate Toby Alderweireld’s head.
Vertonghen’s nose was broken, according to The Guardian, and he bled profusely on the floor. The Spurs medical team assessed him, and within four minutes he was back on his feet, had changed into a clean uniform, and given one last assessment by the referee.
Though Vertonghen was permitted to continue, in the 39th minute he was eventually forced off the pitch for good as he appeared unsteady on his legs, dazed in his eyes, and unable to play. Moussa Sissoko replaced him.
The Guardian reports that midway down the tunnel, Vertonghen “half collapses” and was “caught” by his “concerned” soccer manager Mauricio Pochettino.
Watch footage of Vertonghen leaving the pitch here:
Spurs lose another player as Vertonghen asks to come off after a clash of heads
— Bleacher Report Live (@brlive) April 30, 2019
Though BT Sport, the match’s broadcaster in the UK, said he appeared to have recovered in the dressing room later, soccer reporters around the world were furious that Vertonghen was allowed to return to the pitch in the first place, rather than given a lengthier assessment and treatment.
The retired American international soccer player Taylor Twellman, now at ESPN, tweeted that Vertonghen “under NO CIRCUMSTANCES should have been allowed to come back onto the field.” He even accused the Spurs medical staff of “disgusting” behaviour.
— Taylor Twellman (@TaylorTwellman) April 30, 2019
The Evening Standard’s chief soccer correspondent James Olley said the player “could hardly stand up” as he was helped off the pitch. The Independent’s chief soccer writer Miguel Delaney said that Vertonghen looked “like he was going to vomit.” And Press Association Sport’s deputy sports editor Jamie Gardner added that it is “unbelievable” how soccer “handles concussions.” Vertonghen should have been off “straight away, no question,” Gardner said.
John Cross, the chief soccer writer at the Daily Mirror, called for “independent doctors to decide if a player can carry on.”
Referee had doubts before allowing Vertonghen to continue. Spurs medics gave it the thumbs up. Vertonghen had to come off shortly afterwards. Surely it's time for independent doctors to decide if a player can carry on.
— John Cross (@johncrossmirror) April 30, 2019
And finally, Joe Prince-Wright the lead soccer writer and editor at NBC Sports agreed with Cross, and claimed that the whole “protocol has to be looked at.”
How was Jan Vertonghen allowed back on the pitch after clearly suffering a massive blow to the head? Full marks to the referee for insisting on Vertonghen getting extra medical checks before allowing him back on, but the protocol has to be looked at. pic.twitter.com/wE5pcHQisL
— Joe Prince-Wright (@JPW_NBCSports) April 30, 2019
Tottenham lost the match 1-0. The second leg at Ajax will be played on Wednesday, May 8.
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