The RPA has noted today’s report of the Concussion Management Review Group (CMRG) and has the following statement to make:
Player welfare is the number one priority of the Rugby Players' Association and our primary concern around this unfortunate incident is that George North has fully recovered. In speaking to our members, it's clear they have the utmost confidence in their club medics and the mutual respect between both groups is fundamental to the ongoing duty of care that rugby union in England significantly invests into.
With regard to the Head Injury Assessment and pitchside video review, the evidence from the report indicates that there was a breakdown in procedure due to a combination of factors. That George was permitted to return to the field of play in the circumstances was a significant failing. While we feel that sanctions would have sent a clear message about the gravity of concussion mismanagement, we welcome the recommendations outlined in the report. These must be adopted and all concussion processes be kept under constant review so that everything is done in terms of training, resource and protocol to ensure this does not happen again.
The RPA has been a driving force in raising awareness around concussion within rugby since early 2013 and we are committed to making the game as safe as possible. Every stakeholder in England has bought into the collaborative concussion protocols and processes, including the mandatory education of players, coaches, referees and medics. Our duty as stakeholders within the game is to ensure that education, management and research into concussion sits alongside an ongoing obligation to review all procedures to ensure our members’ health, safety and welfare remains everyone’s key priority. We will keep working closely with our players, the clubs, PRL and the RFU to support our members, protect their welfare and ensure that this is an isolated situation. We will be making no further comment.