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'He could have been dead 10 minutes later' - Chris Nowinski on BOD blow against France

The former WWE Star turned head trauma awareness campaigner called the decision ‘scary’.

O'Driscoll after his knock against France.
O'Driscoll after his knock against France.
Image: INPHO/Dan Sheridan

“WHEN YOU HAVE somebody in the throes of concussion they can’t look after their own health so it’s like putting a drunk driver behind the wheel of a car.

“There’s no excuse for letting him back out there.

“It’s really scary to think he went back out. I watched the tape of that and couldn’t believe it, not just because of the long-term health effects but he could have been dead ten minutes later from second impact syndrome.”

Those are the words of Chris Nowinski when speaking to TheScore.ie regarding the Irish medical team’s decision to let Brian O’Driscoll return to the field just minutes after taking this hit from France prop Vincent Debaty during this year’s Six Nations.


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Nowinski is the co-founder of the Sports Legacy Institute, an organisation set up to increase awareness of the long-term damage caused by sports-related brain injuries.

The former professional wrestler doesn’t blame O’Driscoll for wanting to return to the field of play though.

“Athletes feel pressure to play and many feel like they just have to suck it up and carry on.”

TheScore.ie will have a full interview with Chris Nowinski on Sunday in which the Head Games author discusses the future of contact sports and what players, organisations and parents can do to make them safer.

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Steve O'Rourke

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