Wallabies’ Nic White wrongly allowed to play while concussed

November 29, 2022 GMT
Australia's rugby coach Dave Rennie consoles Nic White following the rugby union international between Ireland and Australia at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
Australia's rugby coach Dave Rennie consoles Nic White following the rugby union international between Ireland and Australia at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

DUBLIN (AP) — Rugby officials say Australia scrumhalf Nic White was wrongly allowed to play on after he was concussed against Ireland this month.

White took a blow to the head in the second half at Lansdowne Road on Nov. 19. As he was leaving the field for a head injury assessment, he stumbled twice. Those stumbles were “Criteria 1” displays of possible concussion and should have automatically resulted in White’s permanent removal from the field.

But an independent review ordered by the Six Nations says the stumbles were missed. White passed the HIA by the independent match day doctor and returned to play the last 26 minutes.

The decision was widely criticized.

World Rugby noted from the independent report that the match day doctor and Wallabies doctor were reviewing video of the head knock and didn’t see White’s stumbles coming off the field.

“The second incident was not communicated to either doctor and therefore, in performing White’s HIA, (they) did not review any additional footage,” World Rugby said in the statement on Tuesday.

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Not until after the match when the medical team was made aware of the stumbles was video of that reviewed. White was then given a Criteria 1 diagnosis. He was stood down for 12 days, returned home, and missed the Wallabies’ last tour match against Wales last weekend.

“Discrepancies around process and communication, rather than interpretation of player signs, were therefore the key factors to affect this particular HIA process,” World Rugby said.

The governing body said it was “committed to the highest-possible standards of care for all players,” and added its HIA at the elite level “is close to 90% accurate.”

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