Wales acts to avoid repeat of concussion incident
CARDIFF, Wales (AP) — Wales will have instant video replays available to its medical staff for the remainder of the Six Nations tournament to avoid a repeat of an incident where one of its players continued playing after losing consciousness on the field.
Wales has come under criticism after winger George North played on following a clash of heads with a teammate in the second half of the 21-16 loss to England in Cardiff on Friday. He did not undergo a mandatory test for concussion.
In an interview posted on the Welsh Rugby Union’s website on Monday, the national medical officer, Prav Mathema, said team doctors did not see the incident involving North and that he was lucid when they arrived to treat him.
“Having seen it since, obviously, there is no doubt that he looks like he has a momentary loss of consciousness,” Mathema said, “and in that case he should definitely be removed from the field of play.”
Mathema said the incident has made his medical team look at where its protocols need to improve.
“For the next four games of the Six Nations, we are certainly going to have instant video replay for both our home and away matches,” he said. “We’ve also had this discussion with World Rugby, and we are hopeful that our discussions will spark some form of global intervention as well with regards to this.”
World Rugby, the sport’s governing body, said Saturday that it had requested a full report from the WRU about the incident, which reopened the debate about the handling of concussion in the sport.
North was also accidentally kicked in the head by an opponent in the first half of the match at Millennium Stadium. He was temporarily replaced while he underwent concussion assessment.
Mathema says North is “symptom-free” after concussion evaluation on Monday, and has been since Friday. He has started his return-to-play protocol and could be available for Sunday’s match against Scotland in Round 2 of the Six Nations.