IN the days when I refereed regularly in the local leagues, perhaps twice a month, one thing which concerned me which had little to do with refereeing, was the lack of provision in the case of accidents by players.

The club ‘trainers’ were usually equipped only with a bucket and sponge.

So in 1985 I decided to write a book especially for local clubs, in collaboration with a fellow referee, Terry Gibbs who was a qualified first aider.

It was fully illustrated and dealt only with injuries which could happen on the football field.

We called it ‘So You Carry the Sponge’.

The book sold well and even some referees bought it.

I often met referees in various parts of the country, who greeted me with ‘I’ve got a copy of your book.’

One referee went further and wrote in the Football Referee magazine, that every referee should have one.

I therefore wrote to the Referees Association, suggesting their shop stocked it, along with other refereeing items.

Their pathetic reply was that if a referee treated a player with the recommendations in the book and it went wrong, they could be sued for supplying the book.

Several years afterwards the FA produced a similar book and now licensed coaches have to attend a first aid course.

One particular worry we had was the lack of understanding about concussion, which players could suffer from after head injuries.

It is only lately this has been taken seriously, although referees are told to stop the game immediately when head injuries occur.

This season however, the FA have written to all referees about a test that should be given after such incidents.

It is known as Maddocks Concussion Questions, five questions, which should show if a player is suffering from concussion.

It is not suggested the referee should take over from the club officials.

They should only to step in, if the officials were not aware of this simple test that could save serious long term consequences.

Perhaps it shows we can be trusted, at last.