George North
Wales have admitted they did not treat George North's injury with the correct protocolGetty Images

Rugby Union's "archaic attitude" risks undermining the tackling of head injuries, brain injury charity Headway has claimed in the wake of the Wales Rugby Union's treatment of George North in the Six Nations defeat to England.

North, 22, suffered two head injuries during the 16-21 defeat in Cardiff on Friday 6 February, the second of which saw him knocked unconscious after a clash of heads with hooker Richard Hibbard.

Wales team doctor Prav Mathema had no access to video replays of the incident and therefore did not properly follow the concussion protocol, allowing the Northampton winger to continue.

World Rugby has cleared Wales of any intentional wrongdoing after accepting medical officials did not see the full extent of the injury, with video footage now being made available to medics for future matches.

But Headway director of communications Luke Griggs told IBTimes UK: "We have still got this attitude in sport in general, it's a competitive environment. No one wants to come off on the biggest stage.

"There is this concept that you're a hero if you continue to play on and battle on through injury no matter what.

"If you've bruising to the brain and you can't actually see that is serious and dangerous. We have to get rid of this archaic attitude that you're a hero to play on with a concussion. A head injury can be fatal."

Concussion issues should be dealt with properly

Players suffering a concussion during a game must be removed from the field of play before an assessment takes place to deem whether they are fit to continue. World Rugby regulations state a full week should be taken after the incident to treat the injury.

Viewing figures for the Wales v England Six Nations match peaked at an estimated 8.8m people on BBC television and on such a grand stage, Griggs has called on players to set an example to the grassroots.

"At an elite level that is something that needs to be addressed," he said. "You've got millions of people at home watching the incident and it can't be right that the medics do not have the same information. That needs to be addressed urgently.

"These concussions protocols at an elite level are supposed to be setting an example.

"It is important that the players take responsibility with this. Not only the injured player who should be strong enough and brave enough. Your health is more important than seeing out he remainder of that game."

In January, Saracens became the first Premiership club to trial sensors attached behind a player's ear that measures the force and direction of impacts to the head, while England prop Alex Corbisiero says current treatment of concussions are "laughable".

"Rugby has been really working harder to improve awareness and there is a genuine sense things are moving forward," Griggs stated. "Significant strides have been made in this area but a concussion protocol is only effective if properly enforced.

"I think there is a responsibility for everyone in the game to do more over concussion, to raise awareness and to ask questions on a constant basis. We have to accept that sideline concussion checks are not infallible."