The International Rugby Board (IRB) is set to make wholesale changes in the way injuries, in particular concussions, are handled at all levels of competition. The results of the Rugby Football Union, Rugby Players’ Association and Premiership Rugby audit of injuries found that concussion/brain trauma was the fourth most common injury that removed a player from the match (3.9 per 1,000 game hours).
Now the IRB is ready to overhaul the system for inspecting a concussion and handling the injury itself;
“The IRB are at the final-draft stage on a new set of concussion guidelines that I expect would flag up the importance of players with symptoms of suspected concussion being removed from the field of play,” Kemp said. “Our management of players once they have come off is according to best practice.
“There are particular challenges around assessment in a game in which the potential for concussion is so high and players get dings the whole time. There are some challenges around making decisions in a short period of time on a pitch with a player who is often engaged in the next play. It will be the focus of a very robust initiative. I am very confident the position we will get to is entirely adequate.”
This will mark the first time the IRB and associated leagues/unions have specifically addressed this issue, highlighted by a scary incident where England wing Chris Ashton remained on the field after a big hit to the head, and an Irish Times article actually taking the rugby institution to task.
This is good for the sport, however changing how the sport currently deals with the injury, mandatory three-week lay off, will be a good start. We will be looking forward to the specifics as new an unique views are always needed.