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Wales Wing George North 'Should Have Gone Off' Against England

Sports Injury Lawyers Call For Improvements In Rugby Concussion Care After George North Incident


Expert sports injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell say the whole game of rugby needs to learn from the concussion incident involving George North in the recent Six Nations game against England.

The medical manager for the Welsh rugby team has accepted that the winger should have been replaced because of a suspected concussion, but said staff didn’t see the incident fully at the time.

North clashed heads with teammate Richard Hibbard is the second half of Wales’ loss to England at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. The incident came after North had suffered a kick to the head in the first half of the game, which saw him assessed and treated by medics for eight minutes.

Now Wales’ medical manager Prav Mathema, has said that since reviewing the footage of the second head injury suffered by North they feel it should have been dealt with differently. He is reported in media as saying: "Having seen it since, he should definitely have been removed. 

“At that moment it was clear to see that he had a momentary loss of consciousness and, because of that, irrespective of him having no signs or symptoms, we've been dealing with George North as a concussion. We've seen where our protocols need to improve."

Stephen Nye, a Partner and expert sports injury lawyer, said: 
Expert Opinion
Head injuries can be life-changing and should not be underestimated, including in sports such as rugby, which is obviously a very physical game. Medical evidence suggests that it is better to be safe than sorry in dealing with suspected concussion as it is difficult to tell in the split second what internal damage may have been done in a collision. Early diagnosis and treatment of head injuries is vital.

“Contact sports need to remain just that, but not at the expense of players long term health. There is a responsibility on the officials and medical staff to ensure that the right decisions are taken.

“What is worrying is that this was one of the biggest games of the year so far and the start of the Six Nations tournament, with lots of cameras all over the ground, yet medical staff did not have access to them and did not see the incident when it mattered. Replays are readily available to check the validity of tries and foul play - it is vital that in these games medical staff are also able to review footage when needed.”
Stephen Nye, Partner

It is also important that the amateur game takes note of these issues and we would offer the following advice to all people playing rugby:

- There should be an approach of better safe than sorry when there is any suspicion of head injury – with no return to play 
- Fellow players need to draw the referee’s attention to concussions or symptoms of concussion if not seen by the referee or other officials
- There should be a move away from the culture of just shaking it off and playing on after being concussed – with more education around this for younger players to prevent the problem continuing in future generations.

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