Swiss defender Schar allowed to continue after being knocked out

Associated Press
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Swiss defender Fabian Schar was clearly knocked out on the pitch in the 24th minute but was allowed to continue the match as Switzerland eventually defeated Georgia in a Euro 2020 qualifier on Saturday.

Schar, who plays for Premier League side Newcastle at the club level, suffered a clash of heads with Georgia’s 23-year-old center-back Jemal Tabidze and went to the ground out cold. He lay motionless on his back with his hands at his side and his eyes closed.

Players from both sides attended to Schar immediately, with Georgia’s Zhano Ananidze reaching into Schar’s mouth to keep him from swallowing his tongue, a skill players have learned in recent years due to previous on-field incidents of this nature.

Medical personnel attended to Schar for four minutes before play resumed, turning him onto his side before eventually sitting him up, appearing to administer some form of rudimentary concussion assessment, waving a hand in front of his face. Eventually Schar was allowed to return to the match. Tabidze also received lengthy treatment, requiring a bandage around his head to continue.

There has been a heightened awareness around head injuries at the top level of professional soccer, although clubs and national teams still struggle to make smart in-game decisions. Returning to play after suffering a concussion is extremely dangerous, with the risk of Second Impact Syndrome possibly deadly. Just because Schar was knocked unconscious doesn’t mean he suffered a concussion, but given the possibility and its danger, the look is a bad one for Switzerland.

The 24-year-old has been a fixture in the Swiss national team since mid-2014, earning his 48th cap on Saturday. He has been a regular for Newcastle this season since earning a starting spot in early November, making 18 Premier League appearances thus far.