Howard Webb believes that players who feign injury could be putting the lives of their fellow professionals in danger.
The referee, who was in charge when Fabrice Muamba suffered his cardiac arrest in March, says that any doubt over whether a player is seriously injured could result in a fatal delay.
Muamba's survival was attributed to the instant treatment that he received when he collapsed during the FA Cup tie between Tottenham and Bolton at White Hart Lane, but Webb is worried that, in the future, referees and players may not act quickly enough.
He said: "One of our obligations as a referee is to try and observe fair play and keep the game flowing when we can. But, if players cry wolf too many times, then there is a possibility that maybe we will not react in the way we need to.
"If we come under criticism for stopping the games too many times for doctors or physios to enter the field of play, then referees might be inclined not to stop the game."
And Webb says that the experience of being on the field when the Bolton midfielder collapsed has had a profound effect on him.
He continued: "I turned and saw Fabrice Muamba lying face down on the floor with no-one else nearby - this was clearly a major concern and clearly something more than a normal injury.
"The fact that he wasn't rolling around screaming in agony, the way he went down with no contact, meant immediately it was serious.
"It was just the most unbelievable crowd reaction I have ever experienced in football and thinking about it now makes me feel emotional.
"The sensation I got was that the crowd was pushing with [Bolton doctor] Jonathan Tobin and his colleagues to get Fabrice Muamba's heart going,"
Webb, who was speaking at the FIFA medical conference in Budapest, said he was glued to the media for news on the 24-year-old.
He said: "There was a numb sensation about what you'd witnessed. We thought it was a slim hope that he would pull through.
"No news was good news. As I was going back up the motorway, I was listening to the bulletins.
"The next morning, still no news and we thought 'Wow, this is maybe a good sign'. That he has made the recovery he has now is an unbelievable miracle."