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World Rugby defends Nic White playing while concussed

NEWS: Rugby officials have defended the manner in which Australia scrumhalf Nic White was allowed to play on after he was concussed against Ireland this month.


White took a blow to the head in the second half at Lansdowne Road on November 19. As he was leaving the field for a head injury assessment, he stumbled twice. Those stumbles were “Criteria 1” displays of possible concussion and should have automatically resulted in White’s permanent removal from the field.

But White passed the HIA by an independent match day doctor and returned to play the last 26 minutes.

The decision was widely criticised, prompting an independent review ordered by the Six Nations.

The review said the medical team was correct in bringing off White for an HIA, but the match day doctor and Wallabies doctor were reviewing the video of the head knock and missed White’s stumbles coming off the field.

“The second incident was not communicated to either doctor and therefore, in performing White’s HIA, [they] did not review any additional footage,” World Rugby said on Tuesday.

Not until after the match when the medical team was made aware of the stumbles was the video of them reviewed. White was then given a Criteria 1 diagnosis. He was stood down for 12 days, returned home, and missed the Wallabies’ last tour match against Wales last weekend.


“Discrepancies around process and communication, rather than interpretation of player signs, were therefore the key factors to affect this particular HIA process,” World Rugby said.

The governing body said its HIA at the elite level for identifying head impacts “is close to 90 percent accurate.”

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