Nigel Owens Overrules Medics & Removes Player Following Questionable HIA

Safety first.

Welsh referee Nigel Owens has been praised by the rugby world for stepping in and refusing to allow a player back on to the field of play because his Head Injury Assessment (HIA) was not carried out correctly.

Owens was the man in the middle for Friday’a PRO14 clash between Edinburgh and Benetton, when the Italian tried to reintroduce hooker Engjel Makelara onto the field in the 70th minute.

The front-row was removed from the game seven minutes earlier after a poor tackle resulted in him taking a nasty knee to the head. Following that incident, Owens initially checked with the TMO to see if Makelara was guilty of foul play, telling the hooker:

“I’m checking for foul play against you but it is more important that you get checked first so that you are ok.”

When Owens spotted Makelara coming back on just seven minutes later however, he was far from impressed.

“Hang on a minute, boys, what’s going on here now?” Owens could be heard saying.

Owens then quizzed medics from both teams as the game was halted for several minutes.

“Has the HIA been done properly?” Owens says as they try to get to the bottom of it.

Eventually it was agreed that Makelara be removed from the pitch, with Owens heard saying “Thank you for your honour,” to the medics after they admitted their wrongdoing. He then approached the player and said:

“You’ll have to go back off because the app wasn’t working so it (the HIA) wasn’t done properly. It’s for your own safety and your own good.”


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