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Women's Football Steph Houghton gets behind FIFpro's concussion campaign

ENGLAND captain Steph Houghton is backing a campaign to raise awareness of concussion in football led by the global players’ union FIFPro.

The Manchester City star and her Lionesses teammates attended an education meeting about head injuries at St George’s Park this week as they prepare for next month’s Women’s World Cup.

In a statement, the 31-year-old defender said: “Winning is important but our health is far more important.

“It is paramount that we respond correctly when a teammate shows symptoms of a concussion because a concussion can have significant adverse long-term health consequences.”

Following a spate of recent controversies related to players being allowed to play on following potentially dangerous blows to the head, FIFPro is pushing a message of “recognise, report, remove.”

It is also calling for a series of new measures, including making it obligatory for an independent doctor to assist the team doctor and assess whether a player with a head injury should return to the pitch.

FIFPro believes this process should take at least 10 minutes and wants the football authorities to explore the possibility of allowing temporary substitutes so doctors can make these decisions without any undue pressure.

Citing the cases involving Newcastle’s Fabian Schar, who carried on after being knocked unconscious while playing for Switzerland, and Spurs’ Jan Vertonghen, who did eventually leave the field after receiving a blow to the head against Ajax, the union’s chief medical officer Dr Vincent Gouttebarge said more education was vital.

FIFPro is hoping to speak to most of the 24 teams that have qualified for France 2019 before the tournament starts in Paris on June 7. As well as England, it has already held sessions with Cameroon, Chile and Norway.

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