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Monday Dec 5, 2016

George North free to play after sickening landing worries fans

George North free to play after sickening landing worries fans
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George North’s rugby future appeared to have taken another blow this weekend as he landed heavily after a challenge for a high ball against Leicester Tigers. It is yet another in a worrying string of knocks that the young Northampton Saints winger has suffered.

North went up for a bouncing ball as Adam Thomstone unfortunately caught him in the air. The 24-year-old came down with a thud, appearing to knock himself out in the process.

The landing was awkward and by his reaction, it appeared as though his head had knocked the turf and he was out cold. However, the medical staff followed protocol and North returned to play.

Northampton Saints have issued a statement since the incident at Welford Road. They said that following the treatment and medical assessment of North, he was passed fit to return to play.

“George was communicating immediately with attending medics and complaining of neck pain. Significant neck injury was excluded on the field but on review of video footage pitch side, the team followed World Rugby protocols and used a Head Injury Assessment given the potential mechanism for head injury.

“Northampton Saints places the highest importance on player care and their safety is the club’s primary concern.”

North tweeted “I can’t help but feel I won’t be looking left or right for a few days” and explained that he was mainly concerned about his neck when it happened.

Fans and pundits have shown concern for his wellbeing, as another serious knock may well mean the end of his career, due to his well documented concussion history.

He suffered four head knocks in five months between November 2014 and March 2015, including two in one match. He reportedly had some clear side affects from them and it’s been said that another serious blow could leave lasting damage.

The story of former England winger Shontayne Hape comes to mind. Hape was knocked out so many times that even the slightest bit of contact at training would spark him out.

He covered it up at the time but later revealed that he has suffered from severe head pain and his life was turned upside down as a result.

Another player went on record as saying that he himself, and others he witnessed, would find a way to ‘cheat’ concussion tests so that they would not put their careers in jeopardy by missing matches.

A Premiership Rugby spokesman has said that they will investigate this latest incident.

“Every head injury incident that occurs in Aviva Premiership rugby is assessed by an independent reviewer as part of our procedure to manage concussion. This is a world-leading system of assessment to ensure we take a comprehensive look at every incident which involves a potential head injury. Player welfare is our No 1 priority.”

credit: iancameron

54 Comments

  • weejockmcplop
    3:49 PM 14/12/2016

    George North collects the ball in the air but he is actually charging into a standing player in a dangerous fashion. It could easily have been Adam Thomstone knocked out by North's reckless challenge for the ball. Thomstone's reaction i understandable as he turns and protects himself against the onrushing North, who having leapt into the air cannot do anything bit collide with Thomstone and cause the incident. As the law stands Thomstone had to be yellow carded, but arguably so should North as his actions were reckless and resulted in injury to a player...himself.

    Reply
  • drg
    11:33 AM 10/12/2016

    Took me 2 days to get this comment..... -_- Not as bad as you with the 'life and sole of the party" comment... But still bad!

    Reply
  • stroudos
    1:07 PM 09/12/2016

    Not intended to support or debunk either point of view, partly because I can't remember who was arguing what, but here is a clip of a rugby player being tackled and doing a somersault (well sort of) as a result: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kBfKKuWzFus

    Reply
  • stroudos
    1:03 PM 09/12/2016

    Aha. Very good. And very true, no doubt.

    Reply
  • drg
    8:32 PM 08/12/2016

    You are the one suggesting the outcome should be the indicator of the action and therefore the indication of card colour/punishment.... I'm simply throwing an example out there for you. Just because you've never seen it doesn't mean it couldn't happen... 50m kicks were unseen before, now we have 60m kicks..... So I'm throwing you an idea where the outcome isn't a bad outcome even though the intent is outrageous...

    Reply
  • facepalm
    7:20 PM 08/12/2016

    Equating the NFL with rugby is an even sillier argument than the previous. Even if they were somehow equatable, I've still never seen someone jump for the ball, get clipped, do a somersault and score. Are you honestly saying outcome is irrelevant when deciding matters?

    Reply
  • danknapp
    11:03 AM 08/12/2016

    Think he normally plays at 11 or 14, but can play at 13 at a push.

    Reply
  • drg
    9:10 AM 08/12/2016

    "when did they stop catching at head height?" *Insert my comment*

    Reply
  • drg
    9:09 AM 08/12/2016

    That's interesting actually. I often viewed BODs efforts as lateral or there abouts, but argued that in any case it would not matter as he regained control himself, but I didn't realise it would be potentially illegal...

    Reply
  • drg
    9:07 AM 08/12/2016

    Well their clearly is, given that you have stated severity of consequence is a very strong indicator of danger of action. I'm giving you an example of where the action could be extremely dangerous, but the consequences are not severe at all... So how do you police that? I've seen somersaults in NFL...Its not hard to see the potential for them in this sport... Extreme intent with zero outcome! Or zero intent with extreme outcome! Those are very real statements and we often see the latter in this sport.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    6:17 AM 08/12/2016

    Eh??

    Reply
  • facepalm
    8:36 PM 07/12/2016

    You have to consider consequence and action. Imagine a situation where someone takes a swing and misses completely. Is that as bad as a punch that connects? Clearly not. Should it still be punished to some degree? Clearly. A balance has to be struck between the two.

    Reply
  • facepalm
    7:33 PM 07/12/2016

    There's no practical purpose to discussing a hypothetical situation that never has or ever will happen

    Reply
  • jonnyenglish
    12:58 PM 07/12/2016

    In addition (sorry DrG this was all towards Facepalm), what makes this more dangerous than the taking out of Johnny May? Both players were took out in the air in much the same way, why does it matter how they land?

    Reply
  • drg
    12:34 PM 07/12/2016

    Probably about the same time the Lima tackle on Hougaard became well watched.... TSRB's probably hasn't helped the matter either.....

    Reply
  • reality
    11:14 AM 07/12/2016

    'Backwards' towards the opposition try line while Denis Hickie obstructed the defender. I remember that.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    8:54 AM 07/12/2016

    Mr Rabbit - completely agree. Especially when you're 7ft tall and built like North. On RD's Top14 round-up - http://www.rugbydump.com/2016/12/5496/five-outstanding-tries-from-week-13-of-the-top-14 - the first try features a Number 8 steaming through and very effectively collecting a high ball without leaving the ground. And I have to say, when I first watched it I thought it looked a bit odd!!

    Reply
  • jonnyenglish
    8:50 AM 07/12/2016

    That's my interpretation of the laws, I think it was clarified for this situation. Speaking of passing to oneself, what happened to taking a quick lineout by yourself? Thems were the days.

    Reply
  • jonnyenglish
    8:48 AM 07/12/2016

    Try and penalty kick? is that allowed? No idea tbh.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    8:45 AM 07/12/2016

    The one where he passed the ball backwards to himself?

    Reply
  • heavyhooker
    1:49 AM 07/12/2016

    Mr Rabbit, this whole view from about 1.55 - 2.04 shows that North jumped into the tackle. Also, I cannot see much of an impact of North with the ground to have him KO'd. If the refs belief that Thomstone had the chance to change his intent in an instant, then North has plenty of time to put his arms out to protect himself. This whole thing is just a bowl of bullock soup to me.

    Reply
  • drg
    11:53 PM 06/12/2016

    Is that correct? I didn't realise that... Always looked at that BOD trick years ago with admiration.

    Reply
  • finedisregard
    11:35 PM 06/12/2016

    It's just an accident. There does not have to be somebody sent off every time someone lands awkwardly. North should not have returned to play. He was obviously concussed. I doubt he will be playing at 30.

    Reply
  • 7:38 PM 06/12/2016

    I just took another look at the video as something was bugging me. When North jumped to catch the ball it was at his head height - see 2.02. There was no need to jump other than protect himself from a rib tackle. Sorry he was injured but he put himself in this position. In fairness it seems common that all players prefer to jump for a ball they could easily reach - when did they stop catching at head height?

    Reply
  • drg
    7:21 PM 06/12/2016

    Not really, if you believe he was out for the count then he was lying about his worry of a neck injury, or truly had no idea that he'd actually been knocked out... If it's the first then he's an idiot, if it's the second then it's very concerning given the fact he was allowed to continue to play. I noticed today Northampton have sat North out until he has had a head injury assessment - interesting that they didn't sit him out of the rest of the game as you suggested above...

    Reply
  • mackinaw
    5:01 PM 06/12/2016

    Looked pretty unsafe to me.

    Reply
  • dancarter
    12:48 PM 06/12/2016

    The exact same event can give you 2 entirely different outcomes, which makes it completely useless as an indicator of danger of action.

    Reply
  • guy
    12:26 PM 06/12/2016

    I guess the problem here is that, while the ball is still airborne, Thomstone decides to go for the tackle instead of going for the ball. If it was a fair challenge for the ball with the same outcome (North knocked out cold) probably no sanction would have been given. The moment he decides to become the tackler he is responsible for the safety of the ball carrier. Don't get me wrong: I don't like this jumping into a tackler. At all. But the laws don't really cover this aspect unless the action is unsportsmanlike or unsafe. And since North jumped for a ball in the air I don't think you can argue it was either unsportsmanlike or unsafe.

    Reply
  • drg
    11:17 AM 06/12/2016

    That would be amusing... But in my example, lets say it is really obvious that the tackler is intent on going in to take the blokes legs out... how do you sanction that if it's all outcome based?

    Reply
  • stroudos
    11:17 AM 06/12/2016

    I assume your first two paragraphs are directed to someone else, not me? I don't think there's any feigning of injury by North, I think he's too "brave" for his own good.

    Reply
  • jonnyenglish
    10:10 AM 06/12/2016

    You'd look like a prat not only because you're throwing the ball up and catching it, but also by doing that you're throwing forward, whilst you can re-gather a spilt ball, you're expressly forbidden from passing forward, even to yourself.

    Reply
  • jonnyenglish
    9:51 AM 06/12/2016

    When I said action, I mean in terms of the law "Taking the player out in the air". Obviously if he grabs his legs and swings him around and throws him into the crowd like a wrestler its totally different (and bloody hilarious).

    Reply
  • drg
    8:51 AM 06/12/2016

    Obviously North suggested that he didn't want to move because of a potential neck injury, are you suggesting he's lying (or made it up without even realising because he was KO'd)? I'm hoping that North was telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth, otherwise the medical staff that assessed North either took his word for it that he wasn't out cold, or weren't able to assess him correctly. I am with Stroudos in the sense that I believe anything that LOOKS like a KO should be treated as a KO, regardless of what the player states etc.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    7:09 AM 06/12/2016

    This concussion protocol doesn't seem to be fit for purpose if you ask me. George North, a bloke with a horrible history of being knocked out, is quite clearly sparked out - albeit momentarily, lying motionless on the turf. That is a good enough reason, in my opinion, to sit him out for a week or two's rest. At least make him stay off the pitch for the rest of this bloody game! I get that the players generally don't want to go off and will insist they're OK etc, but you've got to be cruel to be kind. "If in doubt, sit them out" as it says on the walls of every clubhouse I've been to in the last couple of years.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    6:56 AM 06/12/2016

    Dan, Agree. Particularly on the bit about not really knowing that North was going to jump. If we watch the replays around 1:55, Thompstone is set ready to make the tackle and then North jumps right at the last minute. OK the ball had bounced up but when the bloke chasing it is seven feet tall he shouldn't really need to jump to take it. One thing that is a key factor in a lot of these incidents, including this one, is the ridiculous height these guys get on the vertical jump. North didn't just hop to reach up for the ball, he might as well have had a trampoline. And this is the point a lot of people are making - when North caught the ball he was airborne with both knees pointing directly at the defenders head. First of all, Dan you're absolutely right the guy must have balls of steel to not just duck out of the way; secondly, by doing this, North has effectively made it impossible for Thompstone to make any sort of tackle. Therefore, another realistic outcome here ought to be jumping into the tackle / acts contrary to good sportsmanship, penalty to Leicester.

    Reply
  • 12:43 AM 06/12/2016

    Correct. He chose to jump instead of reaching up to the ball and tacking a tackle in the ribs. Very harsh on the tackler here, North was going to hit him whatever he did - does he stand still arms at side and get called for a charge? I am not comfortable with the injury outcome being a decider on what card a player gets law that seems to be in place.

    Reply
  • drg
    8:13 PM 05/12/2016

    Player jumps so high and you clip his feet so hard he does a full somersault, lands on his feet runs on to score a try... what is the sanction?

    Reply
  • drg
    7:44 PM 05/12/2016

    That's because you're a cous cous eater, I'd have smashed him to the ground and broken his face.... Because I'm a warrior, it's all part of the game!

    Reply
  • danknapp
    7:14 PM 05/12/2016

    That seems to be what this ruling would suggest.

    Reply
  • danknapp
    7:13 PM 05/12/2016

    Defender turns around to see a 17st and 6'3" of George North jumping into him. Too fucking right he's going to put his hands out. No way was this a card. Daly was definitely a red because he took a man out in the air who was jumping predictably to catch a kick. Hard to know North was going to jump into that, he had no time to think. I, for the record, would have shat myself.

    Reply
  • drg
    7:09 PM 05/12/2016

    I agree with you there, but the issue I'd have with that on a whole is that it is; by it's own definition, too loose... We'd have some referees showing reds left right and centre and some leaving it at penalties or nothing... Perhaps that isn't an issue in the sense that if players do their homework then they should know how each referee is more inclined to act. On the flip side, if you know refs like showing cards you could test them and the opposition with high balls to catch. It's a big can of worms at the moment. A couple more degrees of rotation and we'd be looking at a red card incident... one thing I'd love to do is see a social experiment where referees are shown numerous incidents, without hearing commentary, and without knowing the out come and see what they would sanction in that circumstance. It would make an interesting study to see how varied (or not) the outcomes would be. Whether there is a hemisphere difference in refereeing, nation difference, or whether they are literally just completely random individuals who deem somethings worse than others...

    Reply
  • twiggy78
    6:41 PM 05/12/2016

    Agree with Dr G, was it really a head injury? The cynic in me thinks that the Northampton staff and North would not risk him at all with a head injury given his past history. So how, given the injuries, could they possibly justify letting him back on the pitch? Something is wrong, we are forced to decide if a club will put success over player welfare, or that a club/player is willing to simulate to that extent. Comes to something when you wish for concussion over the creeping menace of cheating. Too many players are now using the air as a way of avoiding the tackle or gaining an advantage. It is unfortunate that Noth got injured, but he had a choice; stay on the ground and not put yourself at risk or go to the air and accept the potential consequences. Thomstone really doesn't have a choice, the law is an ass.

    Reply
  • alasdairduncan3
    6:20 PM 05/12/2016

    These situations have got to be extremely tough for the players. They have so little time to react, and going with your instinct to tackle even slightly will get them cited. Very difficult to react.

    Reply
  • im1
    4:51 PM 05/12/2016

    i think you need good guidance from world rugby that allows the refs to make a sensible judgement. I'd say the guidance is too rigid at the moment. There should be more allowance for the referee to determine the sanction based on whether he/she feels it was an accident, an accident but reckless, or an intentional act.

    Reply
  • drg
    4:33 PM 05/12/2016

    Silly stuff, I don't buy that neck injury thing... perhaps its true, only North knows, but I see only 2 outcomes.. He feigned injury or he was out cold. I am genuinely at a loss when it comes to the solution to these incidents... As others have said, North jumps, takes ball - Thomstone sees North is in the air and so steps aside (with his cat like reflexes) and North steams through for a try... Whats to stop a player just running up the pitch from one end to the other throwing the ball into the air and jumping to catch it, 20-30 times down to the try line... other than the fact he'd look like a prat, he's effectively unstoppable.. This is the result of professionalism... now things like this HAVE to be policed, but honestly how can anyone police it fairly.. Either you ban jumping, (which I hate the idea of), or you leave the decisions purely in the hands of the referee to judge whether it was a genuine accident, or a purposeful act...

    Reply
  • facepalm
    4:20 PM 05/12/2016

    Severity of consequence is a very strong indicator of danger of action. Of course the action changes how someone falls. What else would?

    Reply
  • hoot
    2:53 PM 05/12/2016

    He was definitely out cold - think RD's comment about how any impact would knock Hape out might apply to the poor guy. It was clearly a significant blow, look at the huge dent in the turf where his head landed.

    Reply
  • im1
    2:52 PM 05/12/2016

    also, could it not have been given as a penalty try? Pause at 2.03, Freddie Burns is not in the frame. Surely, North would have scored.

    Reply
  • colombes
    2:45 PM 05/12/2016

    Yellow seems correct but t's a tricky situation Some would argue North was jumping on the player. What Thomstone should have done? Avoid any contact and let him run towards the try line? ...

    Reply
  • heavyhooker
    2:31 PM 05/12/2016

    Crap card. North jumps into the oncoming player, the same thing as jumping into a tackle. This should end here and no further sanction given. The jumping rule should be such that you must be jumping vertically with no or slight forward movement, otherwise players will simply jump all the time into oncoming players just to get the other player taken off. In this case, North did this to himself.

    Reply
  • welshosprey
    1:45 PM 05/12/2016

    lol worried about his neck, riiiiight. Georgie was catching some Zzz's on his wing again.

    Reply
  • jonnyenglish
    1:20 PM 05/12/2016

    The fact this is outcome based is laughable. How is it more illegal depending how they land? The action doesn't change just how the person falls, it's this sort of nonsense that breeds simulation and deliberately landing on your face to try to get the red.

    Reply
  • jimmy23
    1:18 PM 05/12/2016

    How many times has George North taken a knock to the head now in total? The guy's only 24! I hate to say this but he won't be far away from an early retirement at this rate.

    Reply
  • im1
    1:05 PM 05/12/2016

    Correct decision on yellow according to the rules But was Daly's actions against Argentina worse? Thompstone actively plays North in the air. It all happens very quickly and the bounce of the ball is unfortunate, but he turns round, sees North has jumped and caught it and then moves towards him with his arm and shoulder.

    Reply


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