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'Sorry Ugo, that's unacceptable': Monye concussion claim criticised

By Kim Ekin
(Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

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Progressive Rugby, the concussion awareness group, have taken issue with recent comments from ex-England and Lions winger Ugo Monye while praising what Ben Kay – another ex-England and Lions player – had to say on the topic during a discussion on BT Sport. 

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Monye and Kay were studio guests on last Sunday’s Rugby Tonight programme and the pair discussed tackle technique, concussions, return to play protocol and more following a clip that showed Saracens’ Ben Earl taking a blow to his head in the previous day’s Gallagher Premiership match versus Bristol.  

That incident followed the publication on Friday of the Six Nations’ investigation into the Tomas Francis concussion during last month’s England versus Wales Guinness Six Nations match at Twickenham.   

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What happens inside the brain during a concussion
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What happens inside the brain during a concussion

Replying to show host Craig Doyle, Monye claimed that it was impossible under the current guidelines for a player to return too early from a concussion. “We’re good at recognising concussion,” said Monye. “It’s important to state that mistakes will be made, absolutely. You’ve got people on the pitch and people sat in the stands who are watching it on replay.

“In terms of returning too quickly, that’s impossible. There is a clear framework and guideline which is used. You can’t even start until you’re cleared of a headache and then it’s a graduated return to play.”

Progressive Rugby didn’t agree and took to Twitter to voice its concerns. “Ugo Monye stating as fact that it’s ‘impossible’ to return to play from a brain injury too quickly in the elite game, just days after an enquiry conceded Tomas Francis was allowed to return to the pitch with a brain injury during England v Wales. Sorry Ugo, that’s unacceptable.

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“We should add a thank you to Ben Kay who made some excellent points and, most importantly, made it very clear that head guards do not provide protection against concussion. This is a common misconception that needs reinforcing.”

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