Bira Dembele, Michael Timlin Need 22 Stitches After Clash Of Heads (Video)

Bira Dembele and Michael Timlin are all right for now, but soccer’s concussion debate shows no signs of easing.

Dembele and Timlin were involved in a gruesome clash of heads Sunday in Stevenage’s 1-1 draw with Southend United in a Football League Two (English fourth division) playoff semifinal. Timlin was substituted immediately after receiving treatment on the field, but Dembele initially played on until halftime to the shock of observers everywhere.

The heads of Timlin, a Southend midfielder, and Dembele, Stevenage’s captain and defensive linchpin, collided during an aerial duel in the first half.

The clash of heads left both players on the ground, as medical staff needed nearly eight minutes to treat their bloody wounds. Timlin’s wound required 15 stitches, and Dembele’s needed seven, according to the Mail.

Stevenage manager Graham Westley defended his decision to allow Dembele to continue playing temporarily, despite a concussion risk that was apparent to all but those who made the call.

“The opinion that matters is the opinion of the player and the doctor, they are the ones who make that decision,” Westley said, according to the Mail. “Neither of them thought it was a risk.

“The doctor made the decision that the player was fine to go on, the player wanted to go on and between them they got that decision right.”

The teams will play the second leg of their semifinal series Thursday, and neither Dembele nor Timlin are expected to play. The winner of the series will advance to the League Two Playoff Final, where it will play either Wycombe Wanderers or Plymouth for the right to earn promotion to English soccer’s third tier.

Players in England’s lower leagues don’t have as much fame and fortune as their Premier League counterparts, but they still need the same protections, and common sense, as those in the global spotlight.

Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@PA_dugout

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