Raphaël Varane, the Manchester United defender and former France international, made a plea in L’Équipe for improved treatment of concussions in football. He revealed that he had suffered concussions on several occasions during his career.

“When you look at three of the worst games of my career, there are at least two before which I had suffered a concussion a few days earlier“, says Raphaël Varane in the interview, referring to the 2014 World Cup quarter-final with France (1-0 defeat by Germany) and the second leg of the Champions League last 16 with Real Madrid in 2020 (2-1 defeat by Manchester City).

A few days before the Les Bleus game to which he refers, Varane suffered a knock in the round of 16 match against Nigeria: “At the start of the second half, there was a cross where I caught the ball on the temple and ended up in the opposition goal. I finished the game, but I was on autopilot.”

“The team wondered if I was fit” before the game against Germany, continued the player who ended his international career after the 2022 World Cup. “I was down, but in the end I played and very well (…). What we’ll never know is what would have happened if I’d suffered a head injury. When you know that repeated concussions are potentially fatal, you tell yourself that things could go very badly.”

“As footballers used to playing at the highest level, we’re used to pain, we’re a bit like soldiers, tough guys, symbols of physical strength, but these symptoms are quite invisible” he analyses. “We’re in a very competitive environment, where not playing because of a little pain can go wrong.”

“We need to talk about the dangers associated with second impact syndrome (the second injury suffered before full recovery from the first concussion) and the repetition of shocks due to head games”, he concludes, also calling for heads to be limited in training to reduce the risks.

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