Connect with us

Manchester United

Varane calls for more awareness on concussion risks in football

Manchester United defender Raphael Varane has spoken out about the lasting damage concussions have inflicted on his body. 

The centre-back has called for increased awareness among players about the dangers of heading the ball. The 30-year-old recently quit the French national team after ten years of success.

Varane revealed he played through concussions on two major occasions – during France’s 2014 World Cup quarter-final defeat against Germany and a Champions League match for Real Madrid against Manchester City in 2020. 

These experiences, coupled with growing scientific evidence, have prompted his call for action.

“My seven-year-old son plays football, and I advise him not to head the ball – for me, that’s essential,” Varane told L’Equipe

“Even if it doesn’t cause any immediate trauma, we know that in the long term, repeated shocks can have harmful effects. 

“Personally, I don’t know if I’ll live to be 100, but I do know that I’ve damaged my body. The dangers of headers need to be taught on all amateur football pitches and to young people.”

Studies commissioned by the Football Association (FA) suggest a link between repetitive heading and a higher risk of cognitive decline later in life. 

In response, the FA has trialled a ban on deliberate heading in under-12 matches, while Scotland has implemented a similar restriction before and after games.

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) recently approved additional permanent concussion substitutions, but these remain at the discretion of individual competition organisers.

Varane emphasised the crucial role of medical staff in protecting players. “The player might want to play, but medical staff must have the final say,” he stressed. 

“Continuing after a serious injury isn’t strength. Real strength lies in resting and recovering.”

He acknowledged the difficulty top athletes face in accepting this, but prioritising player health remains paramount.