The Professional Footballers’ Association has demanded safety rules around advertising hoardings are “fully reviewed” after a second player suffered a serious head injury colliding with one.
Macauley Southam-Hales, the Stockport County right-back, was taken to hospital after careering into a metal support behind the goal during his side’s 3-1 FA Cup second-round replay win against Charlton Atheltic on Wednesday.
Southam-Hales was left in a neck brace, with manager Dave Challinor saying he was “very, very lucky” not to have been more badly hurt.
The incident occurred less than a month after Bath City’s Alex Fletcher required emergency brain surgery upon colliding with a concrete-backed advertising board.
The PFA was also upset over a now-deleted video on the FA Cup’s official TikTok account that poked fun at Southam-Hales’ injury by setting it to music from a Nestle Crunch advert.
The Football Association has apologised for the post, which was created by an external agency.
The PFA told Telegraph Sport: “Firstly, we’re glad to hear that Macauley isn’t more seriously hurt as obviously this was a worrying incident.
“It’s not the first time this season there have been instances where players have been badly injured after colliding with perimeter fences or boards. We were all shocked by the incident involving Alex Fletcher at Bath last month and we’re delighted that he’s now been discharged from hospital.
“We will be contacting the relevant authorities to seek assurances that these incidents are being fully reviewed and that proper consideration is being given to whether safety regulations need to be improved and updated.
“Player safety has to be absolutely paramount at all levels of the game.”
Southam-Hales was given the all-clear on Thursday by specialists, with CT scans having showed no permanent damage despite severe head swelling.
The 26-year-old appeared to be nudged by Charlton’s George Dobson before clattering into the metal support to which advertising boards had been attached.
Challinor told BBC Radio Manchester after the game: “He’s got a whopper of an egg on the back of his head.
“In the grand scheme of things, if he has a clear bill of health, he’s very, very lucky. If you look at it from a football perspective, as much as people might not mean certain things or meaning to hurt anybody, if that’s not endangering an opponent, I’m not sure what is.
“Regardless, it should be a sending off. He’s probably an inch away from potentially a fractured skull.”
Fletcher spent nearly a month in hospital, and had been in intensive care, after his injury forced the abandonment of Bath’s National League South game against Dulwich Hamlet.