Leicester’s interim head coach Geordan Murphy has defended the club’s handling of Dominic Ryan, after the 28-year-old was forced to retire due to concussion.
Leicester were heavily criticised for not subjecting Ryan to a HIA assessment during a Premiership match with Northampton on September 9th at Franklin’s Gardens last year following a collision with George North’s elbow in the 52nd minute while attempting a cover tackle. Ryan went on to finish the match.
“I think there will be a lot of criticism. I was actually one of the first guys to Dominic on the field when the media said he was concussed but I spoke to him and he wasn’t. He was fine. He was a little bit confused at the next lineout because we had just lost [lock] Mike Williams [to a yellow card] and he didn’t know his role. That’s where the misconception of him being knocked out was.” told the Irish Independent.
“After that, I thought he was handled pretty well by our medics here. I think the medics at Tigers are some of the best in the world.
Continue reading below…
Watch: Beyond 80 – ‘Knocked’ – RugbyPass documentary takes an in-depth look at concussion in rugby.
Two weeks after the game against Northampton Ryan had a HIA during Leicester’s win at Harlequins on 23 September following a “gentle tap” from teammate Tom Youngs and wasn’t selected for the next two matches.
The Tigers then elected to give Ryan a 12-week break to try and recover from the effects of concussion.
He made a 54 minute appearance in a 39-0 defeat to Castres in January, but that proved to be his last game, complaining of dizziness.
“We’re flagging more HIAs than any other team. We had 12 last year, I think, which is far more than any other team in the Premiership.” Murphy added.
“It’s certainly a concern for me, as a former player, that players’ health and safety is paramount. If we have any concerns, or even shades of it, we get the guys to see the top specialists. It is really sad for Dippy [Ryan] but sometimes that happens in rugby.”
Ryan was released by Leicester at the end of last season, with the flanker electing not to return to the game following medical advice.