Concussion narratives are getting old, yet they still deserve an audience.
Alvaro Pereira, the Uruguayan player who returned to the field after being knocked out during a World Cup group stage match, repeated his dangerous actions yet again on the club scene.
On loan to Brazilian side São Paulo, Pereira was very clearly knocked unconscious in the match against Criciuma on Saturday. But yet again, he eventually returned to the field of play.
In the 24th minute, Pereira controlled a loose ball and began to dribble across the mid line, under the challenge of Criciuma striker Bruno Lopes. Pereira went down. His head appears to possibly clip the knee of Criciuma’s Serginho coming the other way, and then he slams face-first into the turf.
As Pereira turns over onto his back, replays show his eyes rolled back into his head and he goes motionless for a few moments as Bruno Lopes frantically calls for the trainer.
Pereira is put into the back of the golf cart, and having regained full consciousness at this time, begins shaking his finger at trainers who are obviously suggesting he come out of the game. The 28-year-old is carted off, but gets up immediately as the cart leaves the field of play, and returns almost instantly to the delight of the home crowd.
After the match, Pereira told reporters after the match – which ended in a 1-1 draw – that the challenge left him “a little dizzy.” Yeah, sure.
Having already made this mistake once just a month ago, the fact he again was allowed to return to the pitch is disgraceful. Second-impact syndrome is fatal, and should Pereira have received a second blow to the head without waiting for his initial concussion to subside, he could have died.
Concussions are difficult for soccer to logistically implement proper procedures that will cut down on these type of incidents, but FIFA must act. The same player waving off training staffs with such regularity is alarming, and it shows not only do procedures and rules need changing, but the organization must also educate its players.
It’s obvious that Pereira is unaware of the dangers he’s putting himself in, and that’s the fundamental issue. Soccer is important to these individuals – more than most of us can comprehend – but their lives are infinitely more valuable.