George North Out for Month as Hughes Suspended 3 Weeks for Hit

Northampton Saints said winger George North won’t play rugby for at least a month after being knocked out during a match on March 27.

The medical update comes a day after Wasps player Nathan Hughes was suspended for three weeks for the strike to North’s head. London-based Wasps said today it will appeal the ban on the grounds that it was an accident and no foul play occurred.

The 22-year-old Saints player saw a neurologist yesterday, who advised that he be re-assessed at the end of April, his team said in an e-mailed statement. North, who has suffered at least four serious blows to the head in the past six months, will be monitored by his medical team and won’t participate in on-field training.

World Rugby -- like the National Football League and other bodies that run contact sports -- is turning its attention to head injuries on concerns about the lasting effects of concussions on players’ brains. World Rugby said it will look at expanding television technology currently used to decide rulings on the field to give access to medical officials to assess injuries.

North returned to the pitch twice in Wales’s Six Nations match against England after suffering blows to the head. The sport’s governing body later said he shouldn’t have continued playing.

He missed the next game, taking “an elongated recovery period in light of his recent concussive episode in the autumn period,” the Wales Rugby Union said at the time. North later returned to the tournament, scoring three tries against Italy in Wales’s 61-20 victory.

“Throughout this process it is important that George’s welfare comes first and that he is treated patiently and calmly, only returning to action when all of the medical team are happy for him to do so,” Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder said.

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