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URC branded 'irresponsible' over damaging video mocking concussion

By Kim Ekin
(Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

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Long-serving Cardiff winger Aled Summerhill has called out the United Rugby Championship (URC) after they published a video on social media mocking the concussion he recently sustained when playing away to the Lions in South Africa. The Welsh region were beaten 37-20 in Johannesburg on March 13 in an encounter that left the 27-year-old lying prone on the ground following an attempted tackle on Edwill van der Merwe. 

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Ahead of this weekend’s latest round of URC matches, the tournament’s social media team published a video of the tackle on TikTok that was titled “Goodnight” with a “zzzz” inputted on the footage after Summerhill fell to the ground with a concussion following the collision.      

Summerhill called out the damning video on Twitter, writing: “Really didn’t think head injuries were something to joke about with all that’s going on with it within the sport,  there we are then @URCOfficial.”

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What happens inside the brain during a concussion | Beyond 80 Knocked
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What happens inside the brain during a concussion | Beyond 80 Knocked

His tweet ignited a social media storm in which the URC were roundly condemned for its insensitivity. URC CEO Martin Anayi replied: “This should NEVER have gone up, we are investigating now with our social media agency – it has been removed – we take player safety very seriously indeed.”

The URC, meanwhile, tweeted two replies to Summerhill. “We’d like to apologise unreservedly to Aled, his family & club for this post. Injuries are not to be made light of & our oversight processes around publishing wasn’t good enough. The original post has been removed & we will take immediate action ensuring this never occurs again.”

 

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The second tweet apologising to the Cardiff player read: “We recognise that the content was not in line with our values. Apologies to Aled again and we hope you have a speedy recovery!” Progressive Rugby, the concussion awareness group, called the original post irresponsible and damaging. “150,000+ followers and a platform to thrill, educate and grow the game. And they choose to post this? Irresponsible and damaging.”

Meanwhile, Rob Williams summed up the mood of rugby fans on Twitter who replied to the post that Summerhill published calling out the URC over its terrible joke about concussion. “That is utterly appalling. Who could possibly judge that as in any way appropriate? Hey parents, encourage your kids to play this sport where being knocked unconscious is trivialised!”

The controversy arose on the same day that the International Rugby Players’ union released a statement confirming they had queried World Rugby and the Six Nations about high-profile concussion incidents that took place during the championship.

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