BT staff trained in how to refer to concussions after Chris Sutton called Michael Owen a ‘caveman’


EXCLUSIVE: BT Sport pundits are educated in how to correctly refer to concussion injuries – after Chris Sutton called Michael Owen a ‘caveman’ for using incorrect terminology

  • BT Sport staff have received training in how to correctly report on concussions 
  • Pundits and presenters were warned not to downplay potential brain injuries
  • Michael Owen was called a ‘caveman’ for using certain terminology in February 

BT Sport staff have received training in how to correctly report on concussions, with pundits and presenters warned not to downplay potential brain injuries by describing them as ‘bumps’, ‘bangs’, ‘dings’ or ‘knocks’.

Michael Owen was criticised for using such terminology during BT’s coverage of a Champions League clash between Benfica and Ajax in February. 

Sportsmail columnist Chris Sutton, a concussion campaigner whose father Mike – a former professional footballer – died with dementia, called Owen a ‘caveman’ for his views.

BT Sport staff have received training and education in how to correctly report on concussions

They were warned not to downplay potential brain injuries by calling them 'bumps' or 'knocks'

They were warned not to downplay potential brain injuries by calling them ‘bumps’ or ‘knocks’

There are concerns that trivialising concussion has a dangerous effect on how children see brain injuries.

Examples include describing a Premier League footballer as being ‘wobbly’ when back on his feet after a head clash, or praising him as a ‘warrior’ for playing on.

BT’s football, rugby, cricket and boxing reporters have now sat through workshops from the charity Concussion Legacy Foundation with staff being shown clips of when concussion was correctly or incorrectly reported. 

BT Sport pundit Chris Sutton

Sutton's BT colleague Michael Owen

Chris Sutton called Michael Owen a ‘caveman’ for using certain terminology back in February

They also heard from Peter Robinson, the father of 14-year-old Ben Robinson — who died in 2011 after a school rugby game, having been allowed back on to the pitch three times after being treated for blows to the head.

Staff were also advised not to refer to potential concussions as ‘head injuries’ but rather underline the severity by calling them ‘brain injuries’ and highlight the symptoms.

BT’s training is detailed in a new book about dementia in football called The Beautiful Game and The Ugly Truth, out in June.



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