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Ryan Mason believes more should be done to curb rough aerial challenges

Mason was forced to retire from football at the age of 26 after fracturing his skull.

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Ryan Mason retired after fracturing his skull (Jason Cairnduff/PA)

Ryan Mason retired after fracturing his skull (Jason Cairnduff/PA)

Ryan Mason retired after fracturing his skull (Jason Cairnduff/PA)

Tottenham interim boss Ryan Mason says more should be done to curb rough aerial challenges as Wolves striker Raul Jimenez prepares to see a specialist over whether he can play again this season.

The Mexican suffered a fractured skull after a collision with Arsenal defender David Luiz in November and although he has returned to training, Jimenez has not yet had clearance to resume heading the ball.

He is due to see a specialist next week, meaning he will not feature in Wolves’ trip to Tottenham on Sunday.

Mason knows exactly how Jimenez is feeling as his career was cruelly cut short when he suffered the same injury after a sickening clash of heads with Chelsea centre-half Gary Cahill when playing for Hull in 2017.

The midfielder was fighting for his life and although he tried to make a comeback, was forced to retire 12 months later aged just 26.

The two incidents were very similar, with both players hit with force from behind, and Mason wants the rules to change on such challenges.

“I hope he is OK, I really do. I know the emotions and feelings he and his family are going through at the moment,” Mason said.

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Ryan Mason was forced to retire after suffering a fractured skull while playing for Hull in 2017 (Nick Potts/PA)

Ryan Mason was forced to retire after suffering a fractured skull while playing for Hull in 2017 (Nick Potts/PA)

Ryan Mason was forced to retire after suffering a fractured skull while playing for Hull in 2017 (Nick Potts/PA)

“The most important thing and the only advice I would give is that your health is the most important thing in this situation.

“To back that up, I would go down a different route in the bigger picture and say that more needs to be done with these types of challenges and the perception of these types of challenges. I have said it for a couple of years now. My incident, I didn’t like to see, nothing really changed and then Raul’s as well.

“The same thing, a late challenge from behind, the perception hasn’t changed. I hope he is OK and hope he returns to play I really do, but the most important thing for any player is your health.

The most important thing and the only advice I would give is that your health is the most important thing in this situationRyan Mason

“I think he has got a family as well, so hopefully if the conversations he has and the scans he has return positive results then he can return to the football pitch.

“I am not sure things have changed. It is a perception thing, maybe something within the rules needs to change, I don’t know.

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“From a technical point of view a late challenge from behind with excessive force ticks all the boxes to be a bad challenge, but some reason for head challenges this isn’t the case.

“Hopefully going forward it will change, I really hope so. I am optimistic the Premier League and the PGMOL (Professional Game Match Officials Board) are listening, it’s a matter of time now and hopefully that will change.”

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