Sale cleared after concussion review

Date published: January 31 2017

The Concussion Management Review Group (CMRG) has concluded its review into a head injury incident involving Sale Sharks' TJ Ioane.

The group was convened following an incident in the 30th minute of the Premiership match between Harlequins and Sale Sharks on January 7, involving Sale Sharks’ player TJ Ioane.

The group have concluded no further action will be taken and the decision not to undertake an Head Injury Assessment on the player was a matter of clinical judgement by the team doctor.

The team doctor’s decision was based on his view of the injury mechanism in both real-time and following video review, and his direct assessment of the player’s immediate and subsequent response to the injury event.

The team doctor was in the immediate vicinity of the player, reviewed the real-time video footage and was best placed to make that decision. In continuing to monitor, reassess and question the player, both during and after the match, the team doctor was continuing his responsibility to evaluate the player’s condition for any signs of a suspected head injury or concussion; none was apparent.

While a case could have been made for the player’s removal for an HIA following the incident, the group felt that the decision for the player to play on and be monitored was consistent with the range of current practice and current interpretation of the criteria for requesting an HIA. The decision to instigate the HIA then becomes a clinical judgment call of the doctor at the time. 

Dr Julian Morris, Independent Chairman of the CMRG said: “The Independent Medical Reviewers, in carrying out their role, were correct to question the medical team’s assessment and treatment of the player. The process of review and reinforcement of the HIA protocol must continue to take place.

“In referring this matter to the group, the Independent Medical Reviewer has exampled the positive nature of the process in being able to challenge clinical fellows in the interests of player welfare.”

The CMRG was independently chaired by Dr Morris and included RFU Director of Professional Rugby, Nigel Melville and Premiership Rugby’s Rugby Director Phil Winstanley.

To read the full report click here.

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