Gatland Had Some Interesting Things To Say Today About George North Controversy
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Warren Gatland has dubbed the controversial George North head injury incident as “confusing”.
The Lions winger was officially stood down yesterday pending an investigation and medical following his latest head injury. North suffered the injury in Northampton’s game with Leicester this past weekend with the English club blasted for allowing him to return to the game just six minutes after the sickening thud that left him motionless.
British & Irish Lions and Wales coach, Warren Gatland spoke about the incident today as he unveiled his coaching team, branding the entire ordeal surrounding the winger as a little bit confusing.
“There’s a couple of things I find a bit strange at the moment.” Gatland said.
“One, he passed the HIA, so that’s a little bit confusing.
“There is a little bit of confusion over the process they went through.
“They said they didn’t see the clip. He’s passed an HIA test, so from a coaching point of view you just assume that the process has been followed.
“I absolutely understand it is concerning. He’s had a few knocks in the past and you just want to make sure they go through the right process to make sure if he does play again he is fully fit and recovered.
This isn’t the first time the winger has been stood down, having a five-month break from the game after suffering four head blows in five months between November 2014 and March 2015.
“He’s been stood down at the moment and I think that’s for safety reasons just to make sure he is right,” Gatland said.
“It’s the best possible scenario just to make sure there isn’t any risk to his health. That’s the most important thing long-term, his health, making sure he is right.
“We have made comments before that he needs to put himself first with his long-term health and make sure he is fit.
“I’m not sure how conclusive the video evidence is, as well, because he’s done that before where he’s taken a knock and gone down and he’s stayed still momentarily just to make sure everything is OK before he has moved.”
“If he does pick up knocks in the future, then it needs to be dealt with and potentially consider what the best process is for him to go through.
“I know he has stepped down in the past for a lengthy amount of time and if needs to do that again people better qualified than me need to potentially consider it.”
Gatland stressed that there will be absolutely no pressure from him to get North back playing.
“I can promise you there will be no pressure for me in terms of him getting on the field quickly,”
“His health is the most important thing and him being 100 per cent not just for the short term but the long term.
“There is quite a bit of evidence to show that there is potentially long-term effects for people who have taken knocks in contact sport.
“He needs to consider that and see specialists about that to make sure he is 100 per cent right. Rugby is secondary.”
What do you make of Gatland’s comments?