IRB praises Brian O’Driscoll for backing Eanna Falvey's concussion call

The IRB has applauded Brian O’Driscoll’s “maturity” for praising Ireland doctor Eanna Falvey, who prompted the player’s immediate substitution when he diagnosed his concussion against New Zealand.

O’Driscoll was injured tackling Brodie Retallick during the second half of the epic meeting with the world champions and the Ireland team doctor could be seen tapping his head after administering aid to the centre.

The former Ireland captain took to Twitter on Monday and remarked: “Respect to the doc for making the tough call on my head injury #player welfare.”

He also confirmed in an exchange of tweets with former England international Brian Moore that he would have tried to return to the field but added “that’s why decision needs to be taken out of players hands”.

Concussion has become a major issue in recent years as rugby and other contact sports grapple with its effects and how best to treat it on and off the pitch.

The IRB conducted significant research and other work on the issue this past number of years and made it a central theme of the recent conferences and exhibition held in Dublin.

Its Pitchside Concussion Assessment (PSCA) protocol allows for players to be removed from the field of play for five minutes after a suspected incident but it is still on trial and has its supporters as well as critics.

“Whatever about your views on the PSCA, it has led to a debate on the whole area of concussion and it has brought it to the fore,” said a spokesperson for the IRB yesterday.

“Brian’s remarks show a real maturity and they are an acknowledgement that the system worked on that occasion and that the doctor recognised that concussion was an issue. It was great to see a player of Brian’s profile saying that.”

Meanwhile, the IRB has released details of its ticketing programme and kick-off times for the 2015 World Cup in England with the former issue proving, as usual, to be an emotive one for supporters.

The tournament will offer a wide range of pricing blocs for fans of differing means but punters have already vented their spleen over prices which include an asking price of up to €300 for an Irish pool game.

“Tickets range from £7 [€8.40] for children and £15 [€18] for adults right on up,” said the IRB spokesperson. “The prices benchmark favourably with other major sporting events in the UK and would be similar to the asking price for the last tournament in New Zealand.”

Ireland will play their four group games — against Canada, a yet-to-be-confirmed European qualifier, Italy and France at the Millennium Stadium (first and last) as well as Wembley Stadium and the Olympic Stadium.

All have major capacities but the world governing body is confident the Irish support will ensure that space is at a premium when the event swings around in two years’ time.

“We would expect a large travelling contingent from Ireland and there is of course a large Irish diaspora in England as well so we would be reasonably confident that those games would be full.”


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