New Zealand Rugby admit error with Jeremy Loughman concussion

It was held up as an example of the handling of brain injury still falling down  – in their match against the Māori All Blacks on Wednesday, Ireland prop Jeremy Loughman was seen visibly dazed and stumbling after taking a ball into contact, but was allowed to return to play after a Head Injury Assessment (HIA). With World Rugby’s current rules, players clearly demonstrating the effect of brain injury must be removed from the field and not allowed to return, and undergo a 12-day stand-down period.

Vocal advocates for a safer game showed their dismay online, and today New Zealand Rugby have held their hands up over the incident.

New Zealand Rugby’s medical manager Karen Rasmussen said in a statement: “New Zealand Rugby has conducted a review of the HIA process during the Māori All Blacks match against Ireland at FMG Stadium Waikato in Hamilton on Wednesday 29 June.

“As a result of this review NZR believes Ireland prop Jeremy Loughman should not have been allowed back on to the field during the first half.

“While NZR stands by the HIA processes in place and is satisfied that player welfare is the number one priority for medical staff at the match, we have identified a gap in communications, which meant critical video evidence was not fully accounted for as part of the Head Injury Assessment (HIA) process undertaken by the independent match day medical team.

“We will be reinforcing the full HIA process and protocols for the remainder of the Steinlager Series to ensure video evidence is communicated more accurately between independent match day medical staff to enable them to make the right call with regards to player safety.”

Ireland have called up Leinster prop Ed Byrne to bolster the squad. Ireland face the All Blacks at Eden Park this Saturday, the first full international of this tour, with some significant calls in the team selection for first Test.

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