Six Nations 2015: Former England man Paul Sackey discusses concussion in rugby

Paul Sackey says concussion is becoming increasingly difficult to monitor

Paul Sackey believes concussion in rugby is very difficult to monitor following the incidents involving George North in last Friday’s Six Nations Championship opener.

The Welsh winger received two bludgeoning blows to the head in the narrow 21-16 loss to England, and the Welsh Rugby Union has been criticised for allowing North to continue playing.

Sackey admitted that it is hard to stop players returning to the game, while the machismo culture of rugby is equally unhelpful.

“Whenever I was hit while playing, I always wanted to carry on,” Sackey told The Sport Review, “the adrenaline starts flowing and you just want to get back out there.

“The physiotherapists ask you the relevant questions associated to concussion protocol and they make a decision there and then. Sometimes the symptoms do not show until much later on.”

The former England winger added that it is difficult to get players to come off, and the governing bodies need to work more closely with the players.

“Players always want to carry on and this makes it hard for the support staff. The governing bodies in rugby need to understand the player’s perspective,” he said.

North will sit out Sunday’s game against Scotland and Sackey suggested that competition in the starting 15 adds to the problems with concussion and injuries in general.

“I remember when Chris Ashton replaced me in the England side when I was injured,” he said, “after that it was hard to get back into the fold.

“This makes it even harder to monitor, especially with head injuries. Players are reluctant to come off and often disregard the advice of the physios.”

This follows the report, published on the BBC website, of the yearly injury audit, that reports of concussion in rugby rose by almost 60% in 2013/2014.

Paul Sackey is taking part in the new urban obstacle race Adrenaline Rush for Macmillan Cancer Support on 30th May 2015. For more info www.theadrenalinerush.com

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