Thursday, 11 July 2013

Out for the count

I have to say I was somewhat gobsmacked on Saturday when Wallaby flanker George Smith returned to the fray against the Lions some 5 minutes or so after having been poleaxed in a clash of heads with the Lions hooker Richard “Fat Robbie Savage” Hibbard.

Smith’s legs had clearly gone after the collision – if it was boxing the referee would certainly have stopped the fight for safety reasons – but it appears that he was deemed fine to continue by the medics having “passed the concussion tests.”

The question is this - how hard can these tests be?

It used to be the case that anyone concussed had to take a mandatory 3 week break from the game – an eminently sensible practice given that effectively what has happened is that a player has suffered a neurological injury. Then the protocol was changed to a week – still way too short in my experience (and I’ve been reasonably seriously concussed a couple of times) - but enough, apparently, to allow sufficient neurological tests to be conducted.

I was surprised, therefore, to learn that rugby now operates a “5-minute rule” – where medics are allowed to test a player for an entire 5 minutes to check if he is ok to carry on playing. Apparently the player only has to stand up straight without falling over and pass a basic memory test.

5 minutes. Is someone seriously trying to tell me that standing up and remembering your name is sufficient to convince a medic that you have not suffered a possibly serious brain injury?

If this lunacy continues someone, somewhere is going to die or suffer permanent brain damage.

I trust the IRB have checked their insurance cover.


Matt Knight said...

Worth hearing the story of Steve Devine, ex-All Black:

Hank Vermin said...

Saw "Out for the Count" and assumed you meant Gavin Henson on the Bath pub floor.

PACSFerret said...


Not *the* O'Driscoll - his Unc - MD who resigned from IRB on the issue.