Knocked out by Gosens' knee kick on Tuesday night against Germany, Benjamin Pavard should again start this Saturday against Hungary.
UEFA has opened an investigation and asked the Blues staff for explanations to understand why the Munich player was allowed to return to the field.
A specialist in concussions in rugby, Professor Jena Chazal has deciphered with us the underside of this story.
Four days after the big buffer received in the head by Benjamin Pavard, the French side should yet hold its place this Saturday against Hungary. If this choice of the coach deserves that we look at it for two minutes, and we will look at it, we can not save a review of what happened in the last 72 hours. Pushed in the buttocks by FIFPro, the union of professional players, UEFA opened an investigation and demanded an explanation from the France team to find out why the player had been authorized by the medical unit to resume the match.
According to the medical staff of the France team, who rushed to his player's bedside in the seconds following the shock, the Bayern Munich right-back did not suffer a concussion.
"The measures taken by the medical team are in accordance with the concussion protocol" for its part communicated UEFA for which, "according to the reports received, it seems that there was no loss of consciousness".
A technical knockout of ten seconds
To fully understand what has been played out since Tuesday evening, we called on Professor Jean Chazal, specialist in concussions in sport and at the origin of the protocol of the same name established in rugby. Aware of the thorny nature of this file, he wishes to make it clear from the outset that, not having examined the player himself, he can only give an advisory opinion on the question. We then based ourselves on the factual elements that we had in our possession, namely first of all the statements of Benjamin Pavard after the meeting, who admitted having been "a little knocked out for 10 to 15 seconds" before regaining his senses. .
Jean Chazal: “If he himself spoke of knockout, it means that he had a total blackout for 10 or 15 seconds, and that therefore there was a coma. A very transient coma but a coma all the same. That is, acute brain dysfunction. Afterwards, maybe he recovered very quickly, that he felt able to resume, maybe also that this is the first time that this has happened to him and that during the days that followed he was very good, but, in theory, it is not reasonable on a purely physiological level that after a shock of this brutality, followed by a knockout, however brief, it was not examined more pushed. In my opinion it should have been taken out to examine it more in depth and take a step back. "
Professor Chazal is referring here to the famous concussion protocol that he himself developed with colleagues in 2011 and which saw the light of day in France during the 2014-2015 season. A pioneer in this area, since it is subject to recurring violent shocks every weekend on the lawns of the Top 14 and Pro D2, rugby is intended to be much stricter in this type of scenario. At the slightest shock to the head, the players are forced to leave the field for ten to fifteen minutes in order to be examined and to pass a whole series of tests.
Recently, a similar protocol has existed in football, although, as in rugby, it can be hijacked by players' trickery.
We thus remember the confession of Kylian Mbappé who, after a shock with Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes, explained how to play around in order to be allowed to return to the field.
He then thought of the shock of C1 to come a few days later against Real Madrid and that he did not want to miss at any price ...
"The stakes may lead to a disturbance of judgment"
But if this also exists in football, why then was Pavard not invited to return to the locker room by the doctors of the France team? Because he did not lose consciousness as we explained at the beginning of this paper. "The doctors arrived, they saw that he was perfectly aware and that he was able to play," Raphaël Varane insisted at a press conference on Wednesday. It took a little longer because he was bleeding from his nose, but he was able to resume. Then I stayed alert to see if he was okay and saw him 100%. “On paper, therefore, no error can be attributed to the French medical staff.
"There are concussion protocols in football, but we have the impression, and this is not a criticism but an observation, that the more important the competition is, the more we minimize the consequence of the concussion, remark Jean Chazal.
I'm not saying that's what happened in Pavard's case, but it's a general reflection that I've already had in front of some important football competitions.
Perhaps the stakes entail a disturbance of judgment, a kind of minimization of the facts.
What would have happened if the Bayern player had had to undergo another shock (a scenario not so delusional to imagine given the enormous physical impact put by the players on Tuesday night at the Allianz Arena)?
What are we waiting for to implement the temporary changes?
To achieve zero risk, as Jean Chazal recommended above, it would surely have been necessary to take the player out to examine him in peace, in the bowels of the stadium. Which would then have led the Blues to play ten for long minutes when the Germans were pushing to equalize. A difficult choice to accept for the French side. "Pavard is an intelligent guy, he is surrounded by a medical staff who is just as much, but you know I have known very great rugby players to say to me" listen, my teammates need me, I can't not leave them, I take the risk ". Pavard may have said that he felt good when… ”, reflects the specialist.
Therefore, shouldn't we allow a temporary change in this very specific case?
This is an avenue that UEFA would be well advised to explore in the future.
As for Saturday's game, the player - who seemed to us perfectly at ease during the scrub on Wednesday at the Bayern training center - received the green light from the medical staff after further examinations carried out by the professor Jean-François Chermann, another spawner in the field.
And Chazal concludes: “If Pavard is playing against Hungary, it is because he is doing very well and that there has not been the slightest clinical sign against the indication.
However, four days of rest for the brain is not a lot.
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