Chelsea forward Lauren James has withdrawn from the England squad to play Belgium in the Nations League doubleheader this week.
At a press conference on Thursday, Lionesses boss Sarina Wiegman confirmed that the 22-year-old had suffered a concussion and would not be available for the two international fixtures:
“Unfortunately, Lauren James is not ready [to face Belgium on Friday], she won’t be ready for Tuesday also.”
“Nothing to worry about, she picked up a concussion and she knows we have to be careful of the protocols that we always do, so that is just too short to be ready for the two games.”
As Wiegman mentions, concussion protocols are in place, which mean that a player can’t play for at least 6 days after sustaining a head injury.
Doctors will then assess James before allowing her to make a step-by-step return to training.
What are the steps that footballers need to take before being cleared to play after a concussion?
There are five stages that the team’s medical officer must sign off on before a player is allowed back to play. Firstly, they must be assessed with no physical activity to make sure no lasting damage has been done.
They are then allowed to do light aerobic exercises, sport-specific exercises, non-contact training drills and, finally, full-contact training, before being given the all-clear.
When will James return to action for Chelsea?
If the England star doesn’t suffer any ill effects, she should be in the squad when the Blues face Aston Villa on Saturday week.
Emma Hayes’ side have had a good start to the season, having won 3 and drawn 1 of their opening 4 WSL fixtures, and they will be hoping to maintain their unbeaten run (with James back in the fold) against the Villans.