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Heckingbottom defends Baldock decision as Shearer blasts Sheffield United

Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom has defended the decision not to substitute George Baldock straight away after receiving treatment.

Baldock was left on the ground with suspected concussion after a heavy challenge on Tyler Roberts during Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Leeds United.

After being treated the defender returned to the field, only to then be taken off five minutes later.

Alan Shearer covered the Premier League game for Amazon Prime and was unimpressed with the Blades.

“I look at it and I think, when is football going to learn?” Shearer was quoted by The Daily Mail. “If in doubt, sit them out.

“He’s been assessed, he’s been allowed back onto the football pitch for five minutes and then clearly he’s not right and they’ve taken him off again.

“Leave him off. Take him off the pitch and assess him. Bring someone back on. That’s what the law was brought in for with concussion.

“Now five minutes later he’s off. What is football waiting for? What is it doing, allowing this?”

Shearer made the documentary ‘Dementia, Football and Me’ and is a keen advocate for changes to concussion protocol.

Such changes were seen this year in the Premier League with the introduction of the concussion sub.

If a player is deemed to have symptoms, then they can be immediately replaced.

Sheffield United boss defends Baldock decision

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Heckingbottom – who is in caretaker charge at Bramall Lane until the end of the season – says protocols were followed.

“We followed the rules, we can’t take chances,” the Blades boss said. “They checked him on the pitch and went through the checklist and if the player passes them, they assess them on the side of the pitch.

“I am not sure what actions he did between that and struggling, but he then started to not feel great. As soon as George reported any sort of symptoms we have to take him off.

“Maybe there’s things that can be done further but we need to be led by the medics on things like that. We have to abide by further concussion protocols now so we’ll know more later.”

Jayden Bogle was also taken off by Heckingbottom after taking a blow to the head. Yet the 46-year-old says that wasn’t a concussion substitution.

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