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Hungary captain Dominik Szoboszlai calls for medical protocol change after Barnabás Varga sustains serious injury at Euros

By Ben Morse and Boglarka Kosztolanyi, CNN

(CNN) — Hungary captain Dominik Szoboszlai has called for a change to medical protocols after the team’s striker, Barnabás Varga, sustained a serious injury during its match against Scotland on Sunday at Euro 2024.

Varga fell to the ground after appearing to collide with Scotland goalkeeper Angus Gunn in the Scotland box midway through the second half.

The 29-year-old’s teammates could be seen signaling for medical attention to be brought onto the pitch to help Varga. When it arrived, sheets were raised around him while he received treatment. Subsequently, 10 minutes of stoppage time was added to the end of the Group A match at the Stuttgart Arena.

Cameras showed Szoboszlai seemingly in tears after the incident and appeared to be concerned at the speed at which the stretcher was being carried onto the pitch to help Varga. The Hungary captain then helped run with the stretcher in an effort to speed up the process.

Varga was eventually taken off the field to applause from both sets of fans.

Shortly after the game – in which Hungary’s Kevin Csoboth scored a 100th-minute winner to give them a chance of qualifying for the knockout stages of the competition – the Hungarian FA confirmed that Varga was in a “stable” condition in a nearby hospital and that he had concussion and a broken cheekbone which required surgery.

“It looked bad, it was bad, he felt bad,” Szoboszlai told reporters as he reflected on Varga’s injury. “I don’t really know what the [medical] protocol [is], I don’t know how it works but if our doctors say we need someone immediately to help, then I don’t think they should walk.

“It’s not my decision but I think we need to change something. Even if somebody is on the ground, and you see that it was a big crash then just go [onto the pitch]. Even if the referee is saying don’t go on, just go on. And if you see it’s nothing serious, then you can just go down and its finished. But seconds can help a lot.”

When contacted by CNN about whether it was reviewing its medical procedures, UEFA – European soccer’s governing body – said in a statement: “With regards to the medical intervention following the head injury suffered by Barnabás Varga of Hungary, we would like to clarify that the intervention of the team doctor happened within 15 seconds of the incident, followed immediately by the second stadium doctor, to conduct a first assessment of the injury and provide appropriate treatment, as per customary medical procedures.

“The qualified pitchside emergency team were waiting pitchside, according to their protocol, and arrived with the stretcher as soon as their intervention was requested by the medics to evacuate the player for his immediate transfer to hospital.

“The coordination between all the medical staff on site was professional and everything was done in accordance with the applicable medical procedures. There was no delay in the treatment of and assistance to the player.”

Csoboth celebrated his late winner with a shirt with Varga’s name on the back and the whole team posed with a similar shirt after the victory in support for the striker.

“It was a confusing situation,” Hungary coach Marco Rossi told reporters after the match. “What I heard from the players is that Barny at that moment looked like he was not conscious so everyone was really worried about his condition and also worried about the fact that the doctors arrived a bit late, we can say.

“But of course, they probably didn’t realize it was a dangerous situation. Now fortunately, we can say that Barny is not under any kind of risk.

“Probably he will be operated in the coming hours because he suffered a fracture here [pointing to his cheek/eye socket]. But he’s healthy, that’s the most important thing. If we go through the competition of course he will not be part of the team anymore.”

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