Arsenal defender Luiz remained on the pitch until half-time on Sunday after an early clash of heads with Raul Jimenez at the Emirates which left the Wolves striker with a fractured skull. Former England captain Butcher says with hindsight his most famous hour proved him to be nothing more than a ‘bloody fool’, not the brave Lionheart he thought at the time.
The 61-year-old will forever be remembered for the night in Sweden in September 1989 when a clash of heads just before half-time left him with a blood-soaked shirt and a scar he still bears to this day.
Currently working with Ipswich, Butcher’s continuing work in the game alongside modern medical teams has taught him what a huge risk he took that night.
“It was foolish,” Butcher says simply. “It had nothing to do with courage.
“Thinking about it now, the brave thing would have been to come off – which would have been the right thing to do. It is a medical issue, it is not about being a Lionheart.
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“You know when it is just a cut. It’s just blood on the shirt, like a boxer might a cut around the eye.
“But you also know when you get a really bang and a strong case concussion.
“It is not about being macho – it is being sensible.
“Perhaps in the modern-day David Luiz is an exception wanting to go back on, so it is great to show that attitude.
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“But it is still the wrong thing to do. What if he gets a blood clot? That’s why there are protocols in place and the medical staff have to be the ones to decide.”
Butcher’s situation was even worse than he admitted at the time – even to the club doctor at Rangers.
He said: “At training two days later, manager Graeme Souness, left, looked at cut and said, ‘Well done, but you’re playing tomorrow’.
“I felt really sleepy and went home to bed at 2pm. I slept till 10am the following morning.
“I got up, played, and beat Aberdeen. Now realise how stupid I had been. When your head meets a hard object you get brain trauma – the brain rattles around.
“Any secondary damage to that bruising is very, very dangerous. Life threatening.”
The Luiz incident has led to fresh calls for additional concussion replacements, with football’s lawmakers IFAB meeting on December 16 to give the green light for their use in the rest of this FA Cup.
Brain injury association Headway feels the move is long overdue.
“Football moved quickly when they introduced a fifth substitute for muscular injuries,” said spokesperson Luke Griggs.
“Yet we cannot move so quickly to protect against brain injuries?”
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