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Dublin: 3 °C Wednesday 13 November, 2019
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Almost 50% of Irish rugby players have hidden a concussion

A survey carried out by IRUPA also revealed that one in five players have been concussed between four and five times.

Dr Eanna Falvey treats Brian O'Driscoll for an injury in 2012.
Dr Eanna Falvey treats Brian O'Driscoll for an injury in 2012.
Image: INPHO/Billy Stickland

A SURVEY BY the Irish Rugby Union Players Association has revealed that just under 50% of professional rugby players have hidden or underplayed a concussion to return to the pitch.

IRUPA surveyed members from the four Irish provinces and came back with some startling results. 80% of current players rate concussion as a concern with a mere 5% expressing no concerns about shipping a blow to the head that should spell an immediate end to their game and at least two weeks on the sidelines.

The stand-out survey finding is the fact that 46% of players have hidden or underplayed a concussion to return to the field of play. IRUPA stated that the figures are based on players’ entire careers and ‘may not be reflective of shifting attitudes in more recent times’.

Brian O’Driscoll was forced to sit out the remainder of Ireland’s 24-22 defeat to New Zealand last month after he was found to have taken a concussive blow. O’Driscoll admitted he had been eager to return to the fray but paid credit to the Irish medical staff for ‘making the tough call’.

IRUPA’s chief executive, Omar Hassanein told In Touch magazine, “This is clearly an area of concern for our members and, as such, it is essential that we take the right measures to ensure we accurately represent and address them.”

Hassanein has pointed to a dramatic increase in concussed players getting removed from matches since the introduction of the Pitch Side Concussion Assessment. Only 13% of players suspected of concussion are now returning to play; down from 56% before PSCA was introduced.

Further survey findings include a figure of 67% for players that have experienced concussion. 46% have experienced two or three concussions while 19%, just under one-in-five, have been concussed between four and five times.

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Patrick McCarry

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