Leading World Rugby Concussion Expert Lays Out The Facts For George North


Leading World Rugby concussion specialist, Dr Barry O’Driscoll has said that George North must consider retirement in the wake of his latest worrying head injury.

O’Driscoll, uncle to former Ireland captain Brian, is an expert on concussion and believe North is in serious risk of further brain damager after his latest head related injury saw him once again lose consciousness on a rugby field.

The incident has been much publicised, after North was allowed to return to the field just minutes later, with a full investigation launched by the relevant authorities in its wake. North has a history of head-related injuries and this latest one may be the final straw.


O’Driscoll stated that North must have the decision made for him,

George does have to make that decision,’’ Dr Barry O’Driscoll, a member of World Rugby’s medical committee for 15 years, told The Rugby Paper 

“If he was playing the sport just for fun, that would be it.”

This is not the first time North has been allowed to play on following a concussion and O’Driscoll is worries that he seems to be losing consciousness very easily.


Is George getting concussed more easily now? He seemed to lose consciousness remarkably quickly this last time.

“Anyone who has had three concussions should consider retiring.   George is a great, great talent but he has to face the facts.   The pressures on the lad are huge because this is his career.

“All I can say to him is: ‘Take an appreciable break from the game. Listen to the experts.   Consider the medium and long-term consequences.’

“You have to respect that it’s his decision, his life.  What has happened to George and the way rugby has responded has annoyed me.

This is the second time in his case where the game has got it all wrong.’’


Dr. O’Driscoll has openly criticised World Rugby’s policy on concussion since resigning in protest three years ago, is in no doubt that the game has failed North on each occasion. He has repeatedly called for the scrapping of the HIA, head injury assessment. The procedure allowed North to resume a mere eight minutes after leaving the field.

“George passed a test which is meaningless,’’ he said.

“It means brain-damaged players are put back on the field time after time.   If you suspect a player of being concussed, you should not have to bother with this test.

“I resigned over this issue and nothing has happened since to make me change my mind. You can see the damage this so-called assessment off the field is causing. If you need that assessment, you need to stay off.

“They keep changing the ground rules but there is no test for concussion that can rule it out in ten minutes or 13 minutes as it is now. It’s Mickey Mouse stuff – so hit-and-miss, so unscientific.

I feel sorry for the team doctors because they are under huge pressure.’’

The results of the investigation into the incident are expected to be revealed today.

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