World Rugby chief believes Johnny Sexton HIA handled well in Auckland

World Rugby chief executive officer Alan Gilpin believes the handling of Johnny Sexton’s head injury assessment (HIA) during Ireland’s first Test against New Zealand last month was a case of a situation being handled well by the Ireland medical team.

World Rugby’s head injury assessment (HIA) protocols were criticised by safety campaigners after the Ireland captain was selected for the game in Dunedin after he was forced off in the first Test following a collision with All Blacks captain Sam Cane.

Gilpin said: “It was an incident which was actually misunderstood as Johnny came off with a HIA1, which is effectively a tool to try and understand whether he’s been concussed. In that case he actually passed HIA1, which means he wasn’t concussed.

“Ireland took the more conservative approach and he didn’t return to the field of play. So he didn’t go to the return to play protocol because he wasn’t concussed in the first place – and that’s a really important distinction for us.

“I think we saw across the July series that national teams were careful handling players, as well our adjustment to the graduated return to play in an individualised approach before that window.

“It meant that players who had suffered what we call ‘Criteria One’ and who have clear symptoms can’t return in that first 12-day period. The implementation of that was really good.”


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