Wallabies news | World Rugby statement on Nic White concussion findings, Australia vs Ireland
World Rugby has admitted Nic White showed signs of concussion and should have been sidelined for a second head knock which was missed due to ‘discrepancies’ by doctors.
The Wallabies scrum-half suffered consecutive blows within minutes of each other in Australia’s narrow 13-10 defeat to Ireland in their penultimate spring tour clash.
The first of those was sighted, though the second was missed by doctors who were preoccupied reviewing the initial incident.
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White was slow to get off the ground after a clash with Mack Hansen but remained on the field.
Only moments later, the Brumbies star took the ball into contact and appeared to make contact with Josh Van Der Flier’s knee.
After the tackle, White lay on the ground before being attended to by teammates and then the Wallabies physiotherapist.
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White underwent a Head Injury Assessment (HIA) but was allowed to return to the field to see out the 80-minute match.
After it emerged White had suffered a concussion and was stood down for 12 days on the Monday following the match, an independent investigation was launched by World Rugby.
The authority that reviewed the incident, Alligin, made several conclusions about the incident.
“It was defensible for the medical team to remove Nic White for an HIA after the first incident,” a World Rugby statement read.
“The second incident resulted in Criteria 1 signs according to the World Rugby HIA process, which should have resulted in White’s permanent removal from the field.
“Both the independent match day doctor and team doctor were in the process of reviewing video footage for the first incident when the second occurred.
“The second incident was not communicated to either doctor and therefore, in performing White’s HIA did not review any additional footage.
“Having been made aware of the second incident after the game, both doctors reviewed the footage and declared a Criteria 1 diagnosis.
“Discrepancies around process and communication, rather than interpretation of player signs, were therefore the key factors to affect this particular HIA process.”
The incident raised alarm bells, with concussion awareness group Progressive Rugby lashing the incident and treatment of White.
Former Irish rugby player Rob Kearney described the vision of White stumbling as “uncomfortable viewing” while former Wallabies centre Morgan Turinui said all doubt should be removed by sidelining players permanently if there is the slightest suspicion of concussion.
World Rugby affirmed its commitment to investing in science and research to “further strengthen the HIA process” by funding systems including eye-tracking, saliva and smart mouthguard advances.
The governing body concluded “player welfare will always be World Rugby’s first priority.”
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