Northampton Saints: George North 'fit to play on' after head injury assessment

George North
North was out for five months in 2015 following a series of blows to the head

Northampton said winger George North was not knocked out after a mid-air tackle forced him off the field to be assessed against Leicester.

The Wales international, who has suffered concussions in the past, fell heavily in a tackle that led to Adam Thompstone being sin-binned.

North, 24, left the field for a mandatory head injury assessment before returning to the action.

"Thanks for all the messages. I am OK," North said on Twitter.

"I landed on my neck and was worried about it. Thanks to the medics for checking me out properly. I can't help but feel I won't be looking left or right for a few days."

Premiership Rugby confirmed the incident will be reviewed as part of a normal procedure.

"Every head injury incident that occurs in Aviva Premiership Rugby is assessed by an independent reviewer as part of our procedure to manage concussion," said a spokesman.

"This is a world-leading system of assessment to ensure we take a comprehensive look at every incident which involves a potential head injury.

"Player welfare is our No 1 priority so all incidents in our 135 matches are reviewed thoroughly."

North suffered four head blows in five months between November 2014 and March 2015, including two in one game against England in the Six Nations.

He was left unconscious in a Premiership match against Wasps in March 2015, leading to a spell on the sidelines that lasted from 27 March to 29 August.

However, Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder backed the assessment made by the club doctor during Saturday's 19-11 defeat by Leicester.

"I don't make those decisions and our doctors and medical staff are really clear that if anyone gets knocked unconscious or has had a knock where they look like they are unconscious, they need to come straight off," Mallinder said.

"It's as simple as that. You don't go to be assessed - you are off straight away. George has had some previous issues so he took it steady.

"The doctor was very, very happy even as he walked off that he was just going to go for an assessment and thankfully he could come back on."

A club statement added: "George was communicating immediately with attending medics and complaining of neck pain.

"Significant neck injury was excluded on the field but on review of video footage pitch side, the team followed World Rugby protocols and used a Head Injury Assessment given the potential mechanism for head injury.

"George was fully assessed by the doctor and passed fit to return to play."

George North
North suffered concussion after a clash with Wasps Nathan Hughes in March 2015

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