I was really disappointed with what I saw in this report in The Guardian. To see the word ‘incompetent’ linked to the world experts on concussion including FIFA’s neurologist and sports medicine specialist Professor Jiri Dvorak. To the Concussion In Sport Group who has met 4 times over a decade to make concussion the most improved field of management in sports medicine. Mr Villas-Boas had a golden opportunity for good yet it looks like he is digging a bigger hole for himself.
Let’s keep the facts really clear before the ‘spin doctors’ take over.
1. Mr Villas-Boas alone made the decision for Hugo Lloris to stay on the field. Mr Villas-Boas said “He (Lloris) doesn’t remember it so he lost consciousness” (Sunday!). “The call always belongs to me“ is a quote from Mr Villas-Boas. There was no reference to the medical team clearing the player. Mr Villas-Boas specifically made the point that this was ‘his call’. This cannot be undone – no matter how much spin follows now. Mr Villas-Boas claimed it was his responsibility. The critical point. IT’S NOT THE MANAGER’S CALL.
2. Medical teams use a ‘SCAT3’ test to diagnose concussion – Mr Villas-Boas did NOT administer this short test before taking responsibility to keep Hugo Lloris on the field.
3. “The call always belongs to me” is a quote from Mr Villas-Boas. That is the thinking that needs to be changed.
4. Great people apologise when they are wrong. “The call belongs to THE DOCTOR“ is what Mr Villas-Boas needs to say. Mr Villas-Boas has a golden opportunity to prioritise Hugo Lloris’ health and to influence the health of footballers the world over. That should be the priority.
5. Abraham Lincoln: “How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.”
6. I’m not going to comment on Tottenham’s football operations. I’m not trained in football or football club operations. On that, I defer to experts such as Mr Villas-Boas. It’s the principle of ‘scope of practice’. Doctors, and other clinicians, are trained in concussion assessment and management. That’s why concussion management is their call. #Lawyer’sFieldDayWhenManagersMakeConcussion”MyCall”.
7. A reminder for Tottenham Risk Management Department. The NFL just settled a concussion suit for $765 million. Can you imagine the court case in 2025….
Lawyer: “Mr Lloris, you say you have persistent headaches and your career was cut short after the game at Goodison Park in 2013. Who made the call for you to keep playing in that game?”
Hugo Lloris: “Well that was Mr Villas-Boas”.
Lawyer: “I see, Mr Villas-Boas was a neurologist, a sports physician, someone well versed in concussion management?”.
Hugo Lloris: “Uhh…no, he was our manager, a very good manager.”
Lawyer: “No further questions your honor”.
I hope, for Hugo Lloris sake, that a poor process (Mr Villas-Boas making the call) leads to no harm. But this is a watershed issue for the future Hugo Lloris’ and every woman, man and child who plays football. It’s the health professional’s call.
Come out and share that with the world Mr Villas-Boas. Great men have made important apologies. Football has been good to you. It’s time fpr you to be good for football.
Here’s the link for folks who care about the health of players….