It was hard to watch…
In the 28th minute of yesterday’s women’s World Cup Semifinal match between the USA and Germany, American midfielder Morgan Brian and German midfielder Alexandra Popp were both attempting to head the ball when they ran into one another in a nasty collision.
Both players were on the ground for several minutes in the aftermath of the head-to-head collision. Popp had blood streaking down her hair. Brian was markedly dazed when she finally made it to her feet. At the time, it seemed like both players would be taken to the locker rooms for further evaluation, likely not returning to the game.
That didn’t happen. Both players were back on the field minutes after play resumed.
In the past, this blog covered FIFA’s concussion protocol (or lack thereof) during the men’s World Cup, so it may come as no surprise that when it comes to protecting women professional soccer players from head injuries, FIFA is still lagging behind the times.
While we don’t yet know how serious both players’ injuries were, it seemed rather reckless that both would be allowed back onto the field so quickly, presumably without having to go through a battery of tests to ensure they were fit for play.
Worse yet, the culture of ‘gutting it out’ when it comes to concussions in soccer still seems to be pervasive. At halftime, Fox Sports soccer analyst and former German player Ariane Hingst discussed the injury to Popp, saying that it “looked like she was concussed, but well done by the players to stay on and play.”
Indeed, well done FIFA for allowing players to be put in these precarious conditions.