CHRIS SUTTON: Don’t kick the can down the road again on the issue of brain injury

The DCMS Committee’s report is finally here. 

It says the FA and PFA didn’t do enough (tell us something we don’t know) and the UK’s workplace health and safety regulator hasn’t been regulating sport like it should. 

It’s good to hear that recognised by the MPs but what I want to know is: what happens now? That’s what the families of former footballers suffering with dementia are asking. 


The DCMS report finds that the FA and PFA haven’t done enough over head injuries in football


We don’t want the can kicked down the road for the (insert ridiculous number here) time. We want action. We want change. We want a response. 

Football still needs a limit on heading in training to be introduced. Does this hurry that up? 

It still needs temporary concussion substitutes to come in, after Euro 2020 threw up several examples of how the ‘extra permanent substitute’ simply doesn’t work. Is that going to happen? 

Jeff Astle died in 2002 from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy and now is the time for action

Football needs a limit on heading in training and coaches urgently need educating on the issue

It still needs coaches to be educated on why it’s unnecessary for children to be heading the ball. Will that be set up? 

I’d give up my own time to go on a Zoom call with, say, Under-16 coaches from a certain area of the country. I’ve actually done that before with clubs local to me. 

But shouldn’t the FA be setting this up? Guidelines currently say primary school kids should not be heading the ball, but some youth coaches out there might be reluctant to make changes to the way they were coached as kids themselves. 

They need educating, so let’s give them that education. This is brain injury we’re talking about. It’s a very serious topic. 

The topic of brain injury is serious but football’s snail’s pace may mean changes are a while off

The DCMS’s recommendation that UK Sport should pay for a medical officer at every major sporting event is interesting. I wonder to what level we should have that in football. 

Every Premier League game? Every Championship? Lower? Let’s see what happens next. 

As always, as much as I’d like changes to happen now, I expect this to be a slow process because football works at its own snail’s pace.