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IRFU defends 'appropriate treatment' given to Cian Healy

Cian Healy will be fit for Ireland's Grand Slam-decider against England on Saturday, writes Stephen Barry.

The IRFU announced that the loosehead prop will train fully this week after suffering a "stinger-like injury to the shoulder/trapezius area".

The governing body defended the medical treatment given to Healy, saying "he experienced some discomfort on the field and received the appropriate treatment".

Ireland's Cian Healy receives treatment. Pic: INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Healy was attended to by a medic on Saturday after receiving a pair of blows to the head, neck and shoulder area in the 35th minute.

He appeared to be unsteady on his feet but returned to play, without being removed to undergo a head-injury assessment, once the ball approached his side of the field.

That has received criticism in the last 48 hours from the Rugby Safety Network, a concussion foundation established by Jamie Cudmore, Concussion Legacy Foundation founder Chris Nowinski and Peter Robinson, the father of Ben Robinson, who died aged 14 from Second Impact Syndrome following a school game.

"A massive weekend of rugby and in the most pivotal game of championship this is allowed to play out. So many at fault here for not intervening to immediately remove Cian Healy and conduct HIA," said a tweet from the Rugby Safety Network.

"Don’t miss this video! This the kind of worst case scenario that should lead to an immediate rule change or training and punishment. Someone has to be able to stop this game or get the presumably #concussed player out of harms ways," tweeted Nowinski.

"Stinger or Head Injury my view on it is that the very HIA system put in place to protect him failed him. 2nd incident (blow to head) especially on video review should have been enough for a HIA. Players at all levels need protected from themselves," tweeted Robinson.

"So even if we go down the Stinger route with Cian this is what should have happened with a head impact event with the potential for Concussion but we will never know."

Healy was further assessed by a doctor at the next break in play following the incident and played on until the 51st minute.

The World Rugby HIA Protocol says: "Cases where players have the potential for concussion, but without clear on-pitch symptoms or signs, undergo an off-field assessment consisting of a medical room clinical evaluation by an attending doctor supported by the multi-modal screening tool, and video review."

Scotland's Ryan Wilson and Blair Kinghorn were both removed during the first-half for HIAs. Wilson failed his and didn't return, while Kinghorn played on after an eight-minute absence.

The IRFU statement continued: "There are the usual bumps and bruises that occur following a Test match, but the full squad of 36 players are available for selection this week."