After an aerial clash with Swansea City’s Leroy Fer, Fabio lay motionless on the Liberty Stadium pitch for a significant amount of time, and as the medical staff attended to him, it became apparently quickly that the Middlesbrough defender was at least suspected of having suffered a concussion.
The former Manchester United man finally sat up, still woozy, and was helped off the field. As the stars cleared, he looked to return to the field.
No so fast, said the medical staff.
The Middlesbrough medical team did something not seen often enough in today’s game, physically restraining Fabio as he attempted to return to play, instead clearly signaling for his substitution to keep the player out of danger. The 26-year-old looked visibly frustrated at his inability to rejoin his teammates in the relegation battle against Swansea, but with the medical staff not convinced of his health, the right call was made.
With new regulations regarding concussions instituted in the English top flight before the 2014/15 season, the medical staff has the final say regarding head injuries on whether a player can continue. Earlier this season, Manchester United came under fire when Anthony Martial suffered a clear head injury, but he returned to the field, only to make a bad mistake that led to a Watford goal. He was then substituted, clearly in some discomfort.
This time, Middlesbrough should be praised for its ability to keep players safe. Despite his protests, Fabio was substituted, replaced by Adam Forshaw in the 65th minute, six minutes after the Brazilian came off the field.