Saturday 23 March 2019

Ireland on the defence after criticism in wake of Healy's 'stinger' injury

Cian Healy arrives for Ireland rugby squad training. Photo: Sportsfile
Cian Healy arrives for Ireland rugby squad training. Photo: Sportsfile

Jack de Menezes

The fallout from Ireland's Six Nations conquest goes on after the newly-crowned champions continued to play down criticism of how they handled Cian Healy's injury in last weekend's win over Scotland, writes Jack de Menezes.

Loosehead prop Healy suffered an injury during the first half of the 28-8 victory last Saturday and triggered cause for concern when he seemed to stumble around the pitch while receiving attention.

From live footage and replays, it appeared that Healy (right) had suffered a blow to the head.

But when play moved back to Healy, who by this time was receiving treatment from an Ireland medic, the 30-year-old got back to his feet to return to the game.

The prop continued until he was replaced in the 50th minute by Jack McGrath, leading to criticism of the Irish set-up.

A team update released on Monday claimed that Healy has suffered a "stinger injury" to his shoulder and not a head injury. Ireland assistant coach Richie Murphy confirmed that he was able to take part in training yesterday as Ireland prepare for their Grand Slam tilt against England, and stressed that there was no need for the concern over any head injury.

"He's fully fit, he trained fully," said Murphy.

"He was assessed by our medics on the field on Saturday: he was coherent, and he just had a stinger problem."

But that explanation has not stuck with critics who believe that even if he did not suffer a concussion, under World Rugby's Head Injury Assessment (HIA) Protocols he should have had an off-the-field check.

One critic of the incident was Peter Robinson, a man who lost his son, Ben, last year due to a head injury suffered while playing rugby.

Robinson posted a picture World Rugby protocols and highlighted the criteria Healy appeared to meet, having received blows to the head in collisions with John Barclay and Stuart Hogg.

Robinson highlighted the path that states that Healy should have been removed from the field for a HIA once the incident was seen on video replays, given that referee Wayne Barnes missed the incident, and that there was enough evidence for "the potential for concussion".

World Rugby's regulations state: "Cases where players have the potential for concussion, but without clear on-pitch symptoms or signs, undergo an off-field assessment consisting of a medical room clinical evaluation by an attending doctor supported by the multi-modal screening tool, and video review."

(©Independent News Service)

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