A knee to McKay's head required immediate attention on the sidelines, with the key defender working through a concussion test.
McKay failed the medical assessment shortly after venturing down into his side's rooms and was subsequently ruled out of the match.
The 24-year-old will now be required to undergo the AFL's concussions protocols and will automatically miss the next 12 days of action, ruling him out of a Round 2 appearance against the Eagles in seven days' time.
Ben McKay has been ruled out for the rest of the match.
Charlie Lazzaro has been activated as the medical sub.#AFLHawksNorth
— North Melbourne (@NMFCOfficial) March 20, 2022
Should McKay overcome any lingering concussions symptoms, he'll be in line to face Brisbane on Saturday, April 2 at the Gabba.
Young Roo Charlie Lazzaro has been injected into the game as the medical sub, with McKay's day over after recording no disposals.