A tackle on a streaker during the rugby test on Saturday could have caused a serious lifelong neck injury, the New Zealand Spinal Trust says.
Adam Holtslag's head was snapped back when he was tackled from behind by a security guard after he ran on to the pitch during Saturday's test between the All Blacks and England.
Trust chief executive Ben Lucas said the tackle was made "with little thought of the consequences".
"It had the potential to inflict a serious neck injury," he said.
The policy of Dunedin Venues Management, which runs the Forsyth Barr stadium, states that "any offender is to be removed as quickly as possible" and its chief executive Terry Davies has defended the security guard's actions, saying he would not be apologising to Holtslag.
However Lucas, whose organisation helps people with spinal cord impairments and their families to live independently and productively, wondered where the line was.
"Where do you draw the line between quick and decisive action versus the potential of a very serious lifelong injury?" he said.
New Zealand has up to 120 spinal injuries a year. Spinal fractures of the neck mostly result in paralysis of all four limbs.
"Adam Holtslag was lucky on this occasion," Lucas said.
"But it could have easily been a very different story."
- The Press
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