Sunday 20 April 2014

Governance of rugby concussions 'sadly lacking', says former IRB advisor

John Fogarty: Former Leinster hooker was forced to retire after suffering multiple concussions, admits to feeling “worried” about the future
John Fogarty: Former Leinster hooker was forced to retire after suffering multiple concussions

A former International Rugby Board medical advisor said that concussions in rugby are not taken as seriously as they should be.

Dr Barry O'Driscoll, uncle of rugby player Brian O'Driscoll, said that governance was "sadly lacking".

Speaking on RTE radio this morning, Dr O'Driscoll said he resigned from the IRB after a seven day medical trial to test injury was cut down to five minutes.

"We still don’t know an awful lot about it [concussions]. Everything that comes out is more worrying," he said.

"It’s commercial sport against what is good medical sense."

The advisor added the game has changed an awful lot in the decades since he was a professional player.

It’s now a brutal game. When I played, you ran for gaps. Now [..] players ran for each other.

"It’s a disgrace we're allowing our players to be guinea pigs."

He said the five minutes test consists of a balance test, a memory test and a symptom test. He added that the symptom test can be nullified, as it is seen as a sign of weakness to acknowledge symptoms or weakness, calling the players "warriors".

"More and more worrying information is coming from research."

He added that headgear may protect against lacerations, but does not protect against concussions.

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