Mikel Arteta feels that his decision to allow his 33-year-old center-defender David Luiz to continue playing Arsenal’s Premier League match against Wolves on Sunday with a concussion injury was the right decision.
On November 29, Wolves visited the Emirate Stadium to play against struggling Arsenal football club. In the first half of the match which ended 1-2 in favor of Wolves, Arsenal had a corner kick and Brazilian defender David Luiz was in Wolves’ box-eighteen to contest for the ball.
In David Luiz’s attempt to get to the ball first before any other player, he hit his head against the head of Wolves’ striker Raul Jimenez who was trying to clear his team’s box-eighteen. The collision was so serious that it took the medics about 10 minutes to get Jimenez out of the pitch.
The Mexican striker was taken straight to the hospital from the stadium and surgery was carried out on the fractured skull he sustained in the collision. While David Luiz was allowed to continue the match with a bandage tied around his head.
The Brazilian continued with the match throughout the remaining minutes of the first half and was substituted in the second half of the game.
Though many criticized Arsenal’s coach Mikel Arteta for allowing his defender to continue with the match despite suffering a concussion, the coach said during a pre-match press conference ahead of the club’s Europa League match against Rapid Wien on Thursday that he followed the club’s doctor’s advice. He went on to urge for the introduction of the proposed concussion substitution.
“We have one of the leading authorities in the country in Gary O’Driscoll, our doctor, and I’m comfortable with the decision he made (to allow Luiz to continue),” Mikel Arteta said.
“You have to decide in one minute and somebody’s life is under threat in that minute. Maybe we can give these people a little bit more time and use a temporary substitution, for example.
“If you have any doubt and you need an extra two minutes or five minutes maybe we can think about that. The player always wants to carry on playing but the doctor has to check everything to make sure he can play but you can’t play for 10 or 15 minutes with 10 men in football.
“We’ve had conversations regarding it because it happens in other sports but not football. It’s just a suggestion but we have to consider the welfare of players while keeping the game competitive. It’s an option.”
Arsenal are currently topping Europa League group B with 12 points. So far in the campaign, Arteta and his boys have won 4 of all their Europa League games and they will seek to give their fans what to celebrate about on Thursday night when they play against Rapid Wien.
A win in the Europa League match will guarantee that Arsenal will finish the group stage as group B’s leaders. And a defeat might not change much because the second and third-placed Molde and Rapid Wien have just 6 points respectively. After Thursday’s game, Arsenal will play their last Europa League group match against Dundalk on December 10.