Jan Vertonghen reveals mental health problems after concussion

Former Tottenham star Jan Vertonghen reveals he suffered from mental health problems after a concussion against Ajax in 2019… with the impact leaving him feeling ‘down’ and ‘unable to go to restaurants’

  • Vertonghen suffered a head injury in the Champions League semi-final with Ajax 
  • The defender has opened up about the long-term impacts of the concussion 
  • Nuno Espirito Santo wasn’t the manager Spurs thought they were getting… he needs to resurrect his Wolves success to win over Forest fans – It’s All Kicking Off 

Jan Vertonghen has revealed he suffered from mental health issues in the aftermath of a head injury sustained while playing for Tottenham in a Champions League match back in 2010.

The 36-year-old suffered the concussion following a head collision with his then team-mate Toby Alderweireld, as the duo competed for the ball with Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana in the first leg of a Champions League semi-final.

Vertonghen initially played on following medical checks, with Tottenham’s club doctors having been correct in their handling of the incident.

He was substituted within minutes after being seen throwing up and stumbling on the pitch.

The defender, who now plays for Anderlecht in Belgium, revealed in 2020 that he had played on with dizziness and headaches for nine months in order to secure a new contract.

Jan Vertonghen has revealed he suffered from mental health issues following a concussion

Vertonghen sustained the head injury in Tottenham’s Champions League tie with Ajax in 2019

The veteran defender revealed he felt ‘down’ in the months following the concussion

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Vertonghen has now expanded on the last impact of the concussion, which he believes caused him to suffer from mental health problems in the following months.  

‘I went to almost all specialists, but no explanation was found,’ Vertonghen told the Belgium podcast Mid Mid, as per the Telegraph.

‘I couldn’t go to a restaurant. I tried it once and had to leave after 10 minutes. I couldn’t tolerate crowds.

‘I fell asleep anywhere. Normally I never sleep on the road, during that period it happened everywhere.

‘I felt there was more to it and kept talking about it. Now I am convinced that it was a mental-psychological problem.

‘Now when I see photos from that time, I immediately see that something was wrong. That my eyes were different. I was also often ‘down’.’

Vertonghen revealed he felt ‘shaky’ in the second leg of the Champions League semi-final eight days after the head injury, where Spurs mounted a famous fightback to beat Ajax.

He admitted spending the duration of the final against Liverpool wanting the match to end due to feeling ‘really bad’ during the period.

Vertonghen believes his struggles for form the following season at Tottenham may have been caused by the after effects of the concussion.

The former Spurs defender revealed he felt ‘really bad’ during the period’ after the head injury

Vertonghen believes his struggles for form the following season may be due to the concussion

The Belgian, who now plays for Anderlecht, admits he fears the symptoms could return


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He left Tottenham at the end of the 2019-20 season to join Portuguese side Benfica and attributed the enforced break caused by the COVID-19 pandemic with helping his recovery.

Vertonghen admitted he still has fears the symptoms he suffered could return in the future.

The former Spurs star’s comments have raised a worrying insight into the potential impact of concussions, with his case proving influential in the introduction of permanent concussion substitutions.

There is an ongoing push for a trial of temporary concussion substitutes, but the proposal was rejected by the International Football Association Board back in March.

Tottenham boss Ange Postecoglou revealed defender Cristian Romero had been withdrawn in their opening game of the season against Brentford after a concern over a head injury.

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