From the All Blacks to under tens, rugby players are suffering concussion in ever greater numbers

Wellington Football Club U21's team in solidarity, after their hardest week.
KEVIN STENT/FAIRFAX NZ

Wellington Football Club U21's team in solidarity, after their hardest week.

Nineteen-year-old Daniel Baldwin – dead after a blow to the head on the rugby field this week. Then yesterday, in a black-armband match to remember him, his team-mate Teua Rawiri was knocked down and left convulsing on the ground:

A minute's silence had been held in honour of Baldwin before his Wellington Football Club Colts team took on the Avalon Wolves at Hataitai Park. But yesterday's game, too, had to be called off before 80 minutes were played.

Last night, some experts and rugby fans came together: enough is enough.

The game was called off early in the second half after another serious head injury.
KEVIN STENT/FAIRFAX NZ

The game was called off early in the second half after another serious head injury.

Just this weekend, four New Zealand Super rugby players suffered concussion injuries. The Blues' Piers Francis, Crusaders and All Black star Ryan Crotty, and Chiefs duo Sam McNicol and Stephen Donald all went down with concussion. Crusaders captain Matt Todd, too, was ruled out of their clash with the Chiefs with ongoing concussion issues.

READ MORE: 
Charlie Ngatai, ruled out of crunch Super Rugby game
Mike McRoberts: Our national game is just too damned dangerous
Blues coach laments costly refereeing blunders 

And a week after his comeback from a year-long concussion-related injury, Chiefs star Charlie Ngatai was scratched from the team on Thursday after suffering more headaches.

Wellington Football Club U21's match against Avalon was called off early in the second half after another head injury, ...
KEVIN STENT/FAIRFAX NZ

Wellington Football Club U21's match against Avalon was called off early in the second half after another head injury, this time to Wellington player Teua Rawiri.

Expert Dr Doug King is on the sidelines every week checking players as young as nine for concussion. He sees at least one case a week, he estimates.

Rugby clubs around the country have taken up a "blue card system" where players with suspected concussions can be sent off if referees aren't satisfied with their answers to questions.

That was a step in the right direction, King said, but more needed to be done.

19-Year-old Daniel Baldwin, who died on Wednesday after sustaining a head injury last weekend, was honoured yesterday by ...
KEVIN STENT/FAIRFAX NZ

19-Year-old Daniel Baldwin, who died on Wednesday after sustaining a head injury last weekend, was honoured yesterday by his team-mates from Wellington Football Club U21's.

A simple US-designed screening test, the King-Devick test, should be brought into use at rugby games around the country. "It can be done by anyone on the sidelines," he said

Ad Feedback

"I think that people underestimate what a concussion is," he said. "Although there has been steps in the right direction, further steps need to be taken in regards to management. We need that part of rest and recovery."

Today Newshub journalist Mike McRoberts, a former rugby player who has seen his own son stretchered off with concussion, says administrators have been turning a lind eye for too long.

"The power and potency of the impact is frightening," he writes in the Sunday Star-Times. "And it's not just at the elite level – it filters down through all the grades. It's just too damned dangerous."

McRoberts has researched and reported on concussion in sport.

"I've loved rugby as a player and a spectator for as long as I can remember," he says. "But something needs to happen, changes need to be made. The enjoyment of our game shouldn't come at any cost."

Daniel Baldwin died on Wednesday after collapsing during a rugby game last weekend. 

Yesterday, flowers had been laid around the Wellington Rugby Clubrooms. "We never really have that. It's usually men, women and kids, sausage rolls and tomato sauce, that kind of thing," said Keith Quinn, the club president.

After the injury to Rawiri, spectators called an ambulance and his team-mates rushed to cover him with blankets.

A Wellington Free Ambulance spokeswoman confirmed Rawiri was taken to Wellington Public with a head injury, reportedly from a tackle. He was initially knocked unconscious but was conscious and cracking jokes by the time he was lifted into the ambulance. He was transported to hospital in a stable condition.

A member of the Avalon Wolves team was also taken to hospital, and later discharged.

Quinn rejected suggestions anything more could have been done to protect players from concussion, downplaying Rawiri's injury as a "heavy cut to the head".

The games was called off only because there was uncertainty when the Rawiri collapsed, he said.

Clubs couldn't prevent concussions, he said. They could only take steps to better identify players who sustained possible concussions.

"Can you stop a car crash?"

 - Sunday Star Times

Comments

Ad Feedback
special offers
Auckland

Gangs' fight night draws skeptics video

Tokomauri Hoterene bloodied from his fight against Head Hunter Cory Enoka.

Members from 12 rival factions stepped into the ring in a show against street violence. But critics don't buy it.

Lotto punter wins $8m

The winning ticket was bought at Botany New World in Auckland.

A lucky winner from Auckland has pocketed $8 million after winning Powerball First Division in Saturday night's draw.

Driver injured in sheep crash

The crash happened around 6.50pm on Kaipara Coast Highway between Barr Rd and West Coast Rd. (FILE PHOTO)

Auckland motorist flown to hospital after colliding with a sheep and rolling into a ditch north of Auckland.

Eatery no longer an E grade

Wok Wok and Matsu Sushi are next to each other in Westcity Waitakere and were  forced to close down in April.

Two food court restaurants were closed because of rodents and cockroaches, one is now A-grade.

Wellington

Wellington loses Si and Gary show

Wellingtonians won't hear Si & Gary on their breakfast show anymore.

But they'll get something more local in return - Polly and Grant.

Man caught with gun

A man was arrested after police found a loaded shotgun in a car. (FILE PHOTO)

Gang tension is believed to be be behind the arrest of a man carrying a loaded shotgun in Masterton.

How to stop begging? video

Marcus Pohio is homeless and regularly begs on Courtenay Place, in Wellington.

The only thing that will get Marcus Pohio off the street is death. But is public generosity speeding that up?

Ex-British Cars House for sale

The building features a tiled lobby and a vintage cage lift.

1920s character building with penthouse apartment and rooftop on the market.

Canterbury

Photos: Christchurch floods

Heathcote River flooding near Sloane Terrace.

The Heathcote River has burst its banks and flooded southern parts of the city.

Live: Southern deluge 

The rain may have eased but parts of Canterbury and Otago are still underwater.

State of emergencies declared in several areas as flood waters force scores of evacuations.

State of emergency in Chch

Christchurch's Heathcote River was in flood on Saturday morning.

Residents evacuated in boats as persistent rain floods the Heathcote River, closing roads and inundating properties.

Heathcote residents trapped

Waimea Terrace resident Tarapreet Singh, 25.

The kitchen sink is brimming with water and the nearly overflowing toilet is unflushable.

Waikato

Historic cottage illegally destroyed

This Huntly coal-mining cottage in Tregoweth Street was torn down illegally by its owner, Kevin David Lynch, in January 2016.

The owner was fined $10,000 after he bulldozed the late Victorian coal miner's cottage.

Body in bale ruling

The body was found at OJI Fibre Solutions and FullCircle Recycling on June 28 in Frankton's Pukeko Street.

If it hadn't been raining, Daniel Bindner might not have crawled into a cardboard recycling cage.

Crash closes SH1

Police are at the scene of a crash on SH1 north of Turangi which has blocked the road.

Contractors working to clear State Highway 1 north of Turangi after a truck rolls.

Quad bike safety an attitude thing

Trauma data reveals a huge peak in quad bike injuries among the 55-to-65 age group.

Wintec students look to solve the problem of quad bike accidents.

Taranaki

Terrier looking for a friend

210717 News Photo. SIMON O'CONNOR/STUFF
Katie Tahere's dog Mocha is looking for a walking buddy after her dog Coco ...

Mocha is looking for a new walking companion after losing her best friend.

Farewells not the focus

Chiefs coach Dave Rennie says the team aren't focusing on rallying together to try and send the departees out on a high.

Any game now could be the last for several stalwarts, but the Chiefs aren't using departures as motivation.

Building gets new roof

The New Plymouth District Council decided in January to use shingles instead of corrugated iron on the Gables under ...

The Gables Gallery's shiny new roof looks the part, thanks to 20,000 new shingles

From reporter to magical nanny

Not quite as graceful as Mary Poppins, but reporter Tara Shaskey gets a first-hand lesson on the production's flying stunts.

Mary Poppins is just a little bit magical. And that doesn't come easy or cheap.

Manawatu

Fetch not always a fun game

Chasing sticks can be a dangerous game, write vet Malcolm Anderson.

OPINION: Vet Malcolm Anderson offers some words of advice about the dangers of playing fetch.

No random drug tests 

Only following a police shooting do officers undergo drug and alcohol testing. (File photo).

Police are only given drug and alcohol testing if they fire a gun during an incident.

Millions spent fixing police cars

A police car comes to a final halt after crashing through a Hamilton property in June.

More than $8 million has been spent fixing damaged police cars in the past three years, with costs peaking in 2016.

Moon landing celebrated 

Buzz Aldrin stands on the Moon.

MEMORY LANE: Do you remember the first Moon landing?

Nelson

Nelson too good for Wanderers

22072017 NEWS PHOTO MARTIN DE RUYTER/ STUFF

Nelson players and support staff after winning the  Nelson Bays Division 1 ...

Nelson turn it on to hammer Wanderers in Nelson Bays club rugby final. 

Buzz about beekeeping

05062015 News Photo: Marion van Dijk / Fairfax NZ.

Urban beekeeper Nigel Costley with one of his beehives in the ...

Nelsonians keen to learn more about keeping bees can do so in a short course through the Nelson Environment Centre.

Trespass case win

Lawyer John Fitchett has won a trespass case against Nelson College.

Lawyer wins case against Nelson College board meetings, but judge unimpressed.

Dancers put their best foot forward

Lillian Southward performs in the Jazz Solo section at the Nelson Performing Arts Competitions 83rd Annual Festival at ...

 Toes were on point at the performing arts competition held over the weekend.

Marlborough

All hands on deck

John's Kitchen supervisor Richard McDonald likes the idea that food can be an expression of care.

Blenheim charity kitchen takes on new staff to cope with high workload.

Team turned around

The MBC Falcons rugby team had a frustrating day on Friday.

MBC First XV rugby team spent around 14 hours in a bus yesterday, then never even got to pull their boots on.

The next big quake

The Adelphi Hotel, in Kaikoura, was pulled down due to earthquake damage.

It's impossible to say when an earthquake is going to strike. But the predictable patterns of aftershocks can help.

Exploring Africa

The Hansby family at Victoria Falls, from left, Luke Hansby, Fleur Hansby, Nick Hansby and Sam Hansby.

When you plan your trip to Africa, the animals and environment are expected to be the main attraction.

South Canterbury

Power crews tackle cuts

A firefighter, from the Washdyke station, and a Netcon worker tackle a burning power pole on the Pleasant Point Highway ...

Pleasant Point residents urged to restrict power use as crews work to restore supply.

Ready, set...chomp video

Randy Santel tackles the Gotham burger challenge at the Central Cafe in Geraldine.

US competitive eater polishes off NZ's largest burger in under 10 mins.

Mackenzie blanketed 

Heavy snow is falling in Tekapo.

Snow is still falling in the Mackenzie after a dumping overnight.

Horses scramble to safety

A large tree swept past as the horses huddled for safety.

Horses clung together to dodge tree and debris sweeping towards them in raging flood.

Southland

Stewart Island heritage gets $1m

An artist's impression of the Rakiura Heritage Centre. The centre has received, over $1 million in Government funding to ...

The Government is to commit $1.08m to the Rakiura Heritage Centre Trust.

Post-funeral brawl

Police and ambulance were alerted to the incident, but were not eventually required.

A post-funeral gathering in Bluff on Thursday night ended with blood, broken glass and a visit from the police.

Irrigation scheme 'a win-win'

Dairy Creek Ltd director Tim O'Sullivan, Pioneer Energy chief executive Fraser Jonker and Pioneer Energy project manager ...

A $10m irrigation scheme near Alexandra, Central Otago, is going to deliver water to about 1800 hectares of barren land.

Gecko stolen from visitor centre

The Marlborough green gecko that was stolen from the Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre in Te Anau.

An at risk gecko has been stolen from the DoC visitor centre in Fiordland.

Ad Feedback