Despite a mounting controversy over the weekend surrounding footage which suggested Cian Healy played on despite suffering a head injury, the IRFU are claiming that the loosehead suffered a stinger injury.
In a statement,the IRFU made no mention of a head injury, despite video footage that showed Healy stumbling just moment after his head collided with the elbow of Scottish fullback Stuart Hogg. Video of the incident appears to show Healy stumble while receiving medical attention before moments later returning to play, as onrushing players approached where he was receiving treatment.
The statement read: “There are the usual bumps and bruises that occur following a Test match but the full squad of 36 players are available for selection this week.
“Cian Healy suffered a stinger-like injury to the shoulder/trapezius area. He experienced some discomfort on the field and received the appropriate treatment. Cian will train fully this week.”
A global concussion advocate is among those levelling criticism at rugby following the on-field incident.
Christopher Nowinski – co-founder and executive director of the Concussion Legacy Foundation – criticised the failure of those involved to pause the game after a video of the incident surfaced on Twitter.
“This the kind of worst-case scenario that should lead to an immediate rule change or training and punishment,” said Nowinski. “Someone has to be able to stop this game or get the presumably concussed player out of harms ways.”
Don’t miss this video! This the kind of worst case scenario that should lead to an immediate rule change or training and punishment. Someone has to be able to stop this game or get the presumably #concussed player out of harms ways. https://t.co/ET91BFNdns
— Chris Nowinski, Ph.D. (@ChrisNowinski1) March 10, 2018
Nowinski was reacting to a video posted by Cahair O’Kane, which has been viewed over 100,000 times.
Unbelievable that the medic and the referee allowed that to happen. A sport can talk about being serious about concussion but actions speak louder than words pic.twitter.com/qTCh9mT5nP
— Cahair O'Kane (@CahairOKane1) March 10, 2018
Concussion campaigner Peter Robinson – the father of rugby player Ben Robinson who died following two concussive incidents – then posted another video which appeared to show an accidental blow to Healy’s head when he attempted to tackle Scottish fullback Stuart Hogg.
This is why he was holding his head and lying on the ground. pic.twitter.com/hZ8cXxOyLW
— Ben Robinson (@peterrobinson86) March 11, 2018
Criticism was levelled at the medical staff who were treating Healy and who appeared to let him return to play.
He didn’t undergo a HIA and returned to play in the second-half. Ireland went on to win the game, before being crowned Six Nations Champions a few hours later following England’s loss to France in the Stade de France.
It is not the first HIA issue of the tournament.
The Six Nations launched a ‘review’ of France’s HIA protocols following the opening France Ireland match in Paris on February 3rd. Tournament organisers then issued the findings of their review which effectively cleared all involved in the two incidents of any impropriety or any attempt by the French to gain a competitive edge.
The review did however confirm that neither player was concussed in either incident. The two incidents caused an uproar among fans, pundits and former players on social media, many of whom branded it as an attempt by the French to gain an advantage.