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International Rugby Players statement: Six Nations concussion

By Kim Ekin
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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The International Rugby Players union has contacted World Rugby and the Six Nations in the wake of some high profile concussion incidents that took place in the recent championship. What happened to Tomas Francis in the Wales defeat to England and the prop then getting picked to start 13 days later against France caused much anger among the rugby community. 

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There was also last weekend’s situation with England prop Kyle Sickler, who played off the bench for his country in the loss to France just seven days after failing his HIA in the defeat to Ireland at Twickenham.

The statement from the International Rugby Players union doesn’t specifically reference these incidents but instead expresses general concern about the protocols and regulations governing concussion and the return to play.  

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It read: “International Rugby Players has contacted World Rugby and Six Nations Ltd regarding several head injury issues in the recent men’s Six Nations competition.

“The global players’ body has been involved with World Rugby over the last decade in formulating protocols, rules and regulations in relation to the head injury assessment (HIA), graduated return to play and general concussion management.” 

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Omar Hassanein, the International Rugby Players CEO, added: “We cannot place enough emphasis on the importance of player safety, particularly where head injuries are concerned. This involves, not only the continued evolution of protocols based on science but also ensuring that everyone plays their part in the proper implementation of those protocols.

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“We believe in the need for openness and transparency and the need to project the right public message on head injuries, as well as the requirement for incidents of this nature to be investigated in a comprehensive and timely fashion.”

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