DUBLIN (AP) — The vast majority of elite-level rugby players diagnosed with a concussion will not be able to return to play for 12 days as a result of changes being introduced by the sport’s world governing body from July 1.
World Rugby is following recommendations by an independent Concussion Working Group following a review of the latest scientific evidence.
The current regulations allow players who fail a head injury assessment during a game to be back on the field seven days later if they follow return-to-play protocols.
While that could still be the case for some, provided they get the approval of an independent concussion consultant, the majority will be out of the game for five more days.
The updated criteria being used to judge how quickly players can return after showing obvious concussion symptoms now includes their history of concussions.
“Our approach means it is now overwhelmingly likely a player diagnosed with a concussion won’t play in their team’s next match,” said Dr. Eanna Falvey, World Rugby’s chief medical officer.
“World Rugby firmly believes that scientific evidence supports our protocols, but we are continually monitoring and testing them to ensure that they are fit for the modern game.”
World Rugby describe it as an “individualized rehabilitation approach” to head injuries.
Among those in the working group was Bob Cantu, a U.S.-based neurosurgeon and a leading authority on concussions in sport. He said the changes being implemented make World Rugby’s protocols the “gold standard” in sport.
At major rugby competitions such as the World Cup or the Six Nations, teams typically play one match every week so the changes to concussion regulations should mean players missing no more than one match by being sidelined for 12 days.
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