A VERY unusual coincidence happened at Reading’s last two home league fixtures.

In each match, two opposing players collided with each other in virtually the same area of the pitch, their own penalty area.

In the first incident, sadly one player received a serious injury resulting him being carried off on a stretcher and directly to an ambulance.

In the following game. although both players required treatment, fortunately neither of their injuries were so severe.

It did, however, give rise to a question.

I was asked why these players weren’t made to leave the field of play after treatment.

Doesn’t the law say they then wait for a signal from the referee to return after the game has recommenced?

The Law is in fact a little ambiguous.

It states first an injured player must not be treated on the field of play.

However, it also says if the referee authorises the doctor (i.e. physio) to enter the field of play and treat the player, the player must then leave the pitch, on foot if not on a stretcher.

There are, however, several exceptions to this written into the Law.

One of these is if players of the same team collide with one another and need treatment, as was the situation here.

So this answers the question I was asked.

There are other exceptions. The goalkeeper has always been able to be treated for injury without having to leave.

Also, if the goalkeeper collides with an outfield player of either side, they do not have to leave after treatment either.

Another is where a player has been injured by the result of a foul for which the offender has received either a yellow or red card. I have seen referees forget this one.

Then there is the new one which has been introduced only this season.

This is where a player is injured by a foul inside the opponents penalty area. If he should be the team’s penalty taker, then he can be treated and then of course take the penalty.