The Football Association has apologised after a video was posted to the FA Cup TikTok account making light of Macauley Southam-Hales’ head-first collision with an advertising board.
The now-deleted video was set to music with the word “crunch” timed to impact.
The 26-year-old Stockport County full-back was taken to hospital following the incident but later given the all-clear after a CT scan.
An FA spokesperson said the video should never have been published.
“The post was created by an external agency and we will review our processes to ensure this never happens again,” the FA added.
The incident occurred during Wednesday’s FA Cup tie against Charlton, which Stockport won 3-1.
The TikTok video was set to the theme of a 1980s advert ‘That’s Why I Love Nestle Crunch’, with Southam-Hales’ impact with the hoarding accompanied by a thud and screaming sounds.
In an update on Thursday, Stockport said that Southam-Hales had underdone scans which had shown no signs of permanent damage, despite head swelling.
And although he has been wearing a neck brace, Southam-Hales could yet be fit to play at Rochdale on Saturday.
Brain injury charity condemn ‘abhorrent’ video
Luke Griggs, chief executive of brain injury charity Headway, said the video showed that the FA needed to take brain health more seriously.
“We are speechless after seeing the abhorrent video posted on TikTok by the FA. To share a video making light of someone suffering a head injury is frankly beyond belief,” he added.
“TikTok is a platform primarily used by younger generations, many of whom will be looking up to the example set by the FA. What they will learn from this stunt, is that it is funny when a sporting head injury occurs, and not something to be worried about.
“This irresponsible post risks undermining all the hard work that has been done to provide education about brain health. It is clear to us that there is a long way to go before the FA finally takes brain health seriously.”
The incident occurred a month after Bath City’s Alex Fletcher had brain surgery following a collision with a hoarding.
The Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) said it was “seeking assurances” about player safety following the incidents involving Fletcher and Southam-Hales.
“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,” a PFA spokesperson said.
“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.”