New concussion protocols part of “culture change” in the game

By International Rugby Players

International Rugby Players has welcomed the introduction of new protocols that will see the minimum stand-down period extended for players who show clear signs of concussion.

The new rules, which come into effect from July 1, will see such players, as well as those with a history of concussions, stood down for a minimum of 12 days.

The protocols also expand the use of Independent Concussion Consultants, so that any players eligible to return to play ahead of the 12-day timescale will be required to undergo assessment by neurological expert from outside their team’s medical staff.

An independent working group involving World Rugby and International Rugby Players representatives and leading practitioners in the field recommended the changes based on evidence and a desire to encourage greater reporting of concussion symptoms.

International Rugby Players Head of Player Welfare and High Performance, Conrad Smith, said: “The key to this working – and the important part in changing the culture around concussion – is that players report their head knocks and any symptoms.

“Seeing first-hand the amount of work and research that is going into this extremely complex issue, I have confidence in the approach taken and that the authorities are looking after the player’s best interests.”

He added: “Any protocol is only as good as the honesty and openness of players and this is what we’re going to be stressing from this point on – the protocols have changed but the emphasis for players is to report, to be honest, to trust the system, to trust the medical advice and expertise around them. That’s their best chance of being healthy, working through (the process) and getting back on the field and playing well.”

For more detail on the new protocols, visit the World Rugby website. 

The World Rugby independent Concussion Working Group consists of:

Andrew Gardner – Independent

Arabah Chintoh – Independent

Bob Cantu – Independent

Jon Patricios – Independent

Phillipe Decq – Independent

Sharon Flahive  – International Rugby Players

Omar Hassenein – International Rugby Players

David Brauge – FFR

Karen Rasmussen – NZR

Prav Mathema – WRU

Simon Kemp – RFU

Antonio Ferreira – Rugby Europe

Matt Cross – Premiership Rugby

Eanna Falvey – World Rugby – Non voting

Ross Tucker – World Rugby – Non voting

Martin Raftery – World Rugby – Non voting

Mark Harrington – World Rugby – Non voting

International Rugby Players

/ Contributor

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