In 1823, William Webb Ellis first picked up the ball in his arms and ran with it. And for the next 156 years forwards have been trying to work out why. - Tasker Watkins VC, LJ.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Concussion, the Wallabies and Will Genia

I am a lawyer. That means I'm supposed to act like a lawyer. And lawyers are supposed to be reserved, cautious in their use of language, careful and courteous. In a word, judicious.

But there are times even lawyers have to be blunt.

Which is why I have to ask: what the hell is going on with the Australian Rugby Union and the IRB concussion regulations?

This Saturday, the final, winner-take-all, game of the Tri-Nations is being played in Brisbane between the Wallabies and the All Blacks. One of the key men for the Wallabies is scrum-half Will Genia.

Except Genia has been suspected of concussion not once, but twice this week in training.

Well, you'd say, that's that. The IRB Concussion Regulation is very clear on this:

A Player suspected of having concussion shall move to Stage 2, the GRTP protocol, irrespective of the subsequent diagnosis.

No if, no buts, no maybes; once suspected of concussion, you go through the GRTP protocol, end of.

Under that Protocol, you need 24 symptom-free hours between each of the six steps in that protocol; and especially so if there's been a recent concussion or suspected concussion (and that's ignoring how you can get two in a week if you're following that Protocol at all). No exceptions. That's five days from the concussion before you can play again, so Genia misses the match. Tough break, for him and the Wallabies, but those are the rules.

Except! Will Genia will be playing on Saturday.

Benson Stanley gets two concussions in a couple of months, and has to take an indefinite break.

Will Genia is suspected of concussion, twice, in one week, and yet somehow the IRB Regulations are ignored. Now, this man, who has had a brain trauma sufficient to upset normal brain function twice in one week - because that's what concussion is - is going to be facing Big Bad Brad Thorn coming around the corner at full tilt on Saturday.

The Regulation says, clearly, in big, bold block capitals - CONCUSSION MUST BE TAKEN EXTREMELY SERIOUSLY.

Well, someone in the ARU sure isn't. And they aren't paying much heed to the IRB Regulations, either. If the IRB let this slide, we know the Concussion Regulation is, frankly, hot air.

So, to return to the question I asked - what the hell is going on with the Australian Rugby Union and the IRB concussion regulations?

(H/T to the lads at Gwlad for spotting this one.)

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