Tuesday 25 June 2019

Accurate information on head injuries is essential

Jamie Heaslip. Photo: Sportsfile
Jamie Heaslip. Photo: Sportsfile

Independent.ie newsdesk

Jamie Heaslip last week said a player's medical information should be a private matter, but events over the last few days have shown just how important it is that professional sporting organisations are clear, concise and consistent in their reporting of injuries.

If we are to trust what those running rugby are doing when it comes to brain injuries, then the information around the most high-profile players must be transparent and accurate.

Across all sports, concussion is a serious topic but in rugby it is more so given the nature of the game. In an era where players retire regularly as a result of head knocks and the spectre of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in the USA looms large, it is essential that the public know what's going on.

So, when the Irish national coach goes on live national television and says his most prized player passed a Head Injury Assessment (HIA) when, it turns out, he did not, it does not reflect well on anyone.

Clashed Yesterday, Leinster confirmed that Johnny Sexton failed his HIA after he had clashed heads with Exeter Chief Matt Kvesic in the second minute of Saturday's Champions Cup encounter.

We have no reason to believe the coach was acting in anything other than good faith, although the IRFU declined the opportunity to clarify the issue when approached by the Irish Independent yesterday.

Sexton has been vocally unhappy with the way his head injuries are reported in the media, but a lack of clarity makes it all the more difficult for those commenting on the game to trust the information they receive and then comment accurately on it.

With an issue like brain injuries, there is no room for grey areas.

Accurate information is essential.


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