Saturday 24 February 2018

North begins process to be cleared for return to fray

Wales' George North waits for a scrum during their Six Nations Rugby Union match at the Millennium stadium in Cardiff, Wales
Wales' George North waits for a scrum during their Six Nations Rugby Union match at the Millennium stadium in Cardiff, Wales

Nigel Whittaker

Wales winger George North has started his return-to-play protocol after suffering two blows to the head during last Friday's Six Nations opener against England in Cardiff.

The juggernaut winger took an accidental boot to the head from England lock Dave Attwood in the first half, and he was temporarily replaced by Liam Williams while he underwent mandatory concussion assessment.

North subsequently returned to the field and he then clashed heads with team-mate Richard Hibbard during the second half in what appeared to be a worse incident, and which attracted attention from global governing body World Rugby.

North did not go off a second time, playing on as England started their Six Nations season with a 21-16 victory.

World Rugby subsequently requested "a full report" from Welsh rugby chiefs.

In an interview to WRU TV that was posted on the Welsh Rugby Union's official website, WRU national medical manager Prav Mathema said: "Since the incident, George has been symptom-free the whole time.


"And because of that he has actually started his return-to-play protocol already, and there has been no issue with the first stages of that.

"He has to go through that process for the rest of the week, having a step-by-step increase in his activity, and we will evaluate whether or not he will be fit for selection this weekend."

Wales resume their Six Nations campaign against Scotland at Murrayfield on Sunday.

Mathema confirmed that the WRU had provided World Rugby with a report last Saturday - the day it was requested.

"In the first incident, George took a blow to the head from an accidental boot. Following that, we attended to him on the field of play, and we weren't quite sure as a medical team at that point about his diagnosis," Mathema added.

"Because of that, we decided to use the head injury assessment protocol, and he went off for 10 minutes for a review. That was deemed negative, so he returned to the field of play.

"In the second incident, regrettably I was unsighted at that moment. The other pitchside medic was also unsighted.

"All I saw was George North getting up off his knees. When I arrived at the scene, as it were, he was completely lucid and was conversing spontaneously with me.

"I undertook some on-pitch evaluations, and that point I deemed him fit to continue.

"Regrettably, we didn't get a chance to see the incident, and had I been given that opportunity, he would have been removed from the field of play."

Irish Independent

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