Thibaut Courtois latest: Chelsea goalkeeper given all clear amid concerns from head injury charity

The Belgian was hurt in a collision with Alexis Sanchez during Chelsea's win over Arsenal

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The Independent Online

Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has been cleared to play on after undergoing precautionary tests following the head injury he sustained during Sunday's 2-0 Premier League win over Arsenal.

Courtois played on after requiring treatment for a head knock following a first-half collision with Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez, before being replaced after further treatment and departing Stamford Bridge for precautionary scans in hospital.

A Chelsea statement issued on Monday read: "Chelsea Football Club can confirm Thibaut Courtois went to hospital during our Premier League game against Arsenal yesterday (Sunday) for precautionary tests on a head injury. Those tests came back all clear.

"Thibaut was treated for a minor cut to his ear and was released from hospital last night. He is expected to report for international duty (with Belgium) later this week."

Headway, the brain injury charity, has questioned the application of the Premier League's regulations following the decision to allow Courtois to play on.

The Premier League is understood to be happy the rules were correctly applied.

Headway chief executive Peter McCabe said on the charity's website: "The new rules introduced this season were designed to ensure no risks to players' health were taken.

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"They clearly state that 'If there is any suspicion of the player having sustained a concussion, they must be removed from the field of play, and not allowed to return.'

"This incident calls into question whether these rules are working effectively.

"It is hard to understand how a concussion was not suspected following the sickening clash."

 

Courtois was taken off only after liquid appeared to be coming from his ear.

McCabe acknowledged the difficulty of making an assessment from television, but questioned why a "safety-first approach" was not applied.

He added: "Bleeding from one or both ears is one of the symptoms to look out for that requires an immediate visit or return to hospital following a head injury.

"The fact that the bleeding only became apparent 15 minutes after the injury also demonstrates the evolving nature of concussion and highlights why a safety-first approach must be taken with all head injuries."

Chelsea's first-team squad were afforded a day off by manager Jose Mourinho on Monday as many of the players prepared to join up with their national teams after the Blues extended their advantage at the top of the Premier League to five points from Manchester City.

Only goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, defender John Terry and striker Didier Drogba, who is currently nursing an ankle injury, will stay behind for training, with all three having retired from international duty.

Eden Hazard leaves for Belgium duty, alongside Courtois, on a high after a mixed start to the season.

The playmaker, who is expected to sign a new contract shortly to commit to Chelsea, was below par against Aston Villa, but sparkled on occasion against the Gunners, particularly in the run which led to the penalty which he converted himself.

Hazard, who was the target of some heavy tackling in the contest, is content to be fouled if it benefits the team.

And he believes with Cesc Fabregas over a set-piece, a goal is always possible.

"When I get the ball I need to go forward and win free-kicks, win penalties," the 23-year-old Hazard told Chelsea TV.

"If they want to play like this it's not my problem. They have two against me, okay, but I can create a lot of space for other players.

"We can score every game with Fabregas from a free-kick or corner."

Chelsea have dropped two points in their opening seven games - in drawing at Manchester City - and are top of their Champions League Group.

Hazard knows there is no margin for error, though.

He added: "We have a strong team. We need to concentrate all the time, 100 per cent.

"We know we have bad moments in one season, but we need to be focused all the time."

PA

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