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Super 14 2006
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News Story

Hurricanes doctor says he didn't know Weepu was knocked out
30 May 2006  

Hurricanes doctor Ian Murphy said today he would have removed Piri Weepu from the Super 14 rugby final if he known the All Blacks halfback had been knocked out and suffered from amnesia.  
Murphy said he didn't see the incident that left Weepu lying limp on the field and when he got to the halfback he was conscious and responded to all of Murphy's questions.  
Weepu was knocked unconscious when he tackled his counterpart Kevin Senio early in the game and copped one of Senio's knees.  
Leading New Zealand sports doctor John Mayhew said yesterday that Weepu should have been immediately pulled from the field after being knocked out. Murphy said he did not see the tackle or the effects of the tackle because of the freakish foggy conditions at Jade Stadium.  
"By the time I got to Piri out on the field he was conscious and I could not fault him in terms of his responses to my concussion-related questions," Murphy said in a statement today.  
"I also checked his neck and that was fine so there was no reason why he should not have continued to play the game given the information I had at the time.  
"Regular checks were then made during the remainder of the game and at halftime and again Piri illustrated to me that he was able to continue playing.  
"The memory loss that Piri reported the following day was not evident at the time.  
"Had I been aware that he was suffering from amnesia I would have removed him from the game immediately.  
"In terms of some of the comment about taking off a player who has been knocked out, I also totally agree with this course of action and would have done so if I had known."  
Mayhew, the All Blacks team doctor for 13 years before retiring from the national team in 2004, queried the decision to leave Weepu on the field.  
"I'm always surprised that a player who get's knocked out is deemed fit to play," Mayhew said.  
"Any player who got knocked out in a game I was involved with, I'd take him off the field."  
New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) medical director Dr Steve Targett said all rugby medical personnel took the issue of head injuries very seriously because of the potential consequences.  
"The advice we give to all teams -- both amateur and professional -- is that if a player is knocked out then they are immediately taken off the field and are not allowed to play again that day," Targett said.  
"Concussion can be difficult to assess at the time of the injury as symptoms, such as memory loss, can sometimes develop later on."  
Targett also stressed the importance of the Rugby Smart Injury Prevention programme that is run by the NZRU in partnership with ACC.  
The programme, which emphasises the importance of the proper management of concussion in rugby, is delivered to players, referees and coaches at all levels of the game in New Zealand.  

London: 04.17 hrs Saturday 25th Nov
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