Football not taking concussion seriously, after Napoli goalkeeper David Ospina collapses

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Concerned team-mates look on as Ospina is treated.

Football has been accused of failing to take concussion seriously by a brain injury charity after Napoli goalkeeper David Ospina collapsed during a match on Sunday.

Ospina, on loan at the Italian club from Arsenal, fell to the turf in the Serie A game with Udinese having earlier suffered a head injury during a clash with opponent Ignacio Pussetto.

The incident involving the Colombia international, who has since been discharged from hospital and given the all clear, came after Lyon keeper Anthony Lopes was temporarily allowed to continue in last Wednesday’s Champions League game against Barcelona after being injured when he dived at the feet of Philippe Coutinho.

Charity Headway, which works to improve life after brain injuries, has expressed dismay and believes FIFA protocols are not being followed.

“We are deeply shocked and appalled at these latest examples of concussion protocols not being followed in football,” said Headway chief executive Peter McCabe.

“David Ospina’s treatment is particularly concerning and highlights exactly why we’ve always called for an ‘if in doubt, sit it out’ approach to concussion.

“FIFA’s protocols clearly state that if concussion is suspected – not clinically diagnosed – but suspected, the player should be removed from the field and not allowed to return.

“This is to not only protect the player from a secondary blow to the head, which could exacerbate the injury, but also to recognise the often delayed presentation of symptoms.

“Both players have been badly let down and left unprotected by football’s failure to take concussion seriously.

“There’s a real fear that it will take a catastrophic injury to a high-profile player before any real change in attitudes is forthcoming.”

Ospina said on Monday evening that he was “fine”, tweeting: “Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone for your prayers and your thoughts. I am fine and recovering with my family. I hope to be back soon and stronger than ever!”

Napoli coach Carlo Ancelotti earlier tweeted that he had visited Ospina. The club announced the 30-year-old was set for some rest and would not be joining up with his country during the international break.

“David Ospina was discharged this afternoon from the Pineta Grande Clinic where he had been hospitalised last night for a series of investigations and specialist visits. All tests are negative,” a statement from Napoli on the official club website read.

“Visits excluded any problems. The diagnosis is of vagal crisis [fainting] resolved within a few hours. The player has been advised a few days off and will not respond to the call-up of his national team.”

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Luciano Spalletti praises Inter Milan players as they stave off sack talk with derby win

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Inter Milan coach Luciano Spalletti hailed his side for the way they fought back from their midweek Europa League exit to win a thrilling Milan derby 3-2 at San Siro on Sunday.

Matias Vecino’s third-minute strike sent Inter on their way to a victory which saw them tighten their grip on a Champions League place and reportedly could have saved Spalletti his job.

The second goal arrived six minutes into the second half when Stefan De Vrij was left free in the box to head home but Milan responded within six minutes through Tiemoue Bakayoko’s first goal for the club.

Lautaro Martinez netted a 67th-minute penalty for Inter after Samu Castillejo was adjudged to have tripped Matteo Politano in the box and Milan hit back again through Mateo Musacchio as Inter held on.

Milan thought they had Andrea Conti sent off for a foul on Martinez only for the decision to be reversed by VAR as tempers began to fray on the bench.

Spalletti, who has increasingly come under fire in recent weeks as his team’s form nose-dived, told a press conference: “We did well to put it (the Europa League defeat) straight behind us and show the right attitude again as a team.

“We forgot about what happened on Thursday, we drew a line under it and we came back with a different sort of performance.”

Vecino also paid tribute to the way his team-mates fought back from the midweek disappointment and believes the upcoming international break could be at a good time.

Vecino told his club’s official website: “The true version of Inter was on show today – we did well to forget about Thursday and start again from zero.

“It is always nice to rest a bit, so after a game like that it helps. Some will be on international duty but a bit of rest will do us good.”

AC Milan coach Gennaro Gattuso said the defeat would not change the confidence he has in his team to continue pushing for a Champions League place.

Quoted on his club’s official website, Gattuso said: “Despite the defeat, I continue to trust this team.

“Today we could not play what we wanted. In the first half Inter played better than us, while in the second half we changed our attitude but were unable to put things right.

“We have been too passive and we made certain errors that you cannot make in high-level matches. But we are still alive and we are a solid team.”

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Inter win pulsating Milan derby to get Champions League push back on track

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Inter Milan won a thrilling Milan derby.

Inter Milan came out on top in a thrilling Milan derby on Sunday, winning 3-2 against AC Milan to go back above their rivals in the Serie A table and into third place.

Mattias Vecino, Stefan de Vrij and Lautaro Martinez got the goals for Inter, who twice had two-goal leads but were pegged back by Milan through goals from the much-improved Tiemoue Bakayoko and Mateo Musacchio.

Here are the talking points from a pulsating encounter at the San Siro.

INTER PUT ICARDI TALK TO BED

In the last two seasons, the Milan derby has been dominated by Mauro Icardi, who’s scored a hat-trick in a 3-2 win, a performance that included an injury-time winner, and then scored another stoppage-time winner in a 1-0 win.

And Inter had dropped five points in the four league games without their star striker since exiling him over a contract dispute and public remarks by his agent and wife, Wanda Nara.

So there’s no doubt that the shadow of Icardi loomed large over this game. Milan must have felt they had an advantage with the Inter talisman missing, while the away side would have been forgiven for wondering how keenly Icardi’s absence would be felt.

To produce this performance, and this result, without him, is huge for Inter. They were under pressure having fallen behind their city rivals in the league table, and the general perception around the Nerazzuri, who were also knocked out of the Europa League in midweek, was of a side in the midst of crisis.

Winning the derby should put that talk to bed. Momentum is now back with Luciano Spalletti’s side, who should approach the rest of the season with much more confidence.

PIATEK SHOWS LEARNING CURVE IS STILL STEEP

Krzysztof Piatek’s start to life in Milan colours, scoring eight goals in his first nine games since his January move from Genoa, had people excited at the prospect of seeing the young Polish striker let loose on a low-on-confidence Inter side.

So the 23-year-old’s lacklustre display will be greeted with disappointment not just by Milan fans, but by most neutrals keen to see what he would do in effectively the biggest game of his career so far.

In the wake of Sunday’s performance, there may be some who rush to criticise, but that would be unfair. This is still a 23-year-old playing his first season in Italy.

He earned his move to Milan by scoring 13 goals in 19 games for Genoa, he’s still a legitimate contender for this season’s top scorer award – anyone who can keep stride with Cristiano Ronaldo deserves credit – and, with the right management and backing, he’s only going to get better.

Piatek himself will no doubt be disappointed about not having a bigger impact in his first Milan derby, but he’ll have come away from the game determined to improve.

He was up against a solid, rugged defence on Sunday, and that in itself will have been a lesson for him. The learning curve can be steep sometimes, but expect Piatek to keep up.

DERBY BODES WELL FOR BOTH MILAN CLUBS

As far as Milan derbies go, this was a classic. It had everything: five goals, a penalty, a red card – though one overturned by VAR, which had a good night – a 96th-minute goal-line block, and a game which in general saw full-blooded, committed performances from just about everyone on the pitch.

Even the referee nearly injured himself trying to keep up with the play at one point.

This game should also lay down a marker for the rest of Italy that both Milan clubs are on their way back. Whether they’re ready to challenge Juventus for the Serie A crown next year remains to be seen, simply because Juve have been too good for the last eight seasons and put considerable distance between themselves and the rest of the league. And they still have Cristiano Ronaldo.

In the meantime, with Roma losing this weekend, Milan may not feel the sting of this loss, at least in the larger picture, for too long, as they remain four points ahead of their nearest challenger for a Champions League place. Inter, meanwhile, now have a six-point lead over the Giallorossi.

The last time both Milan clubs finished in the top four was in 2010/11. It’s been a long time coming.

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