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News 2013-14

Compulsory concussion education

14/01/2014

PROFESSIONAL players and coaches in England will take part in a
compulsory concussion education programme before the start of next
season.

Aviva Premiership, Greene King IPA Championship and Regional
Academy players and coaches will complete an online concussion
education module, and further resources will be extended to
professional game referees and, through the Immediate Care in Sport
programme, to healthcare providers.

The education programme is designed to increase awareness and
reinforce best practice, and will be aligned with the Zurich
Consensus on Concussion in Sport and the International Rugby
Board's Concussion Guidelines.

Its introduction has been approved by the Professional Game Board
(PGB) which also supported a number of further recommendations made
by its Medical Advisory Group following the Professional Rugby
Concussion Forum held at Twickenham Stadium last November.

Those recommendations include:

Mandatory review of match footage of the mechanismof injury by the
assessing medical practitioner before a player can be cleared to
return to the field following the Pitchside Concussion Assessment
(PSCA)
A new review process for individual PSCA cases
A commitment to ensure best practice and objectivity in the
Graduated Return to Play protocol which is specific to rugby
union
Support for long-term player health studies looking to
establishthe prevalence of neurodegenerative disease among retired
players
All the stakeholders in the English professional game will
continue to engage with the IRB PSCA Working Group to ensure that
the best possible decisions regarding any possible development of
the PSCA process can be made as quickly and accurately as
possible. 

RFU Chief Medical Officer Simon Kemp said: "Concussion is
acknowledged to be one of the most challenging sports injuries to
diagnose, assess and rehabilitate but we continue to make
significant progress in this area. The education initiative is
designed to broaden understanding beyond healthcare practitioners
and facilitate the further cultural change needed across the game
for good concussion management. We are very aware that the way
concussion is managed at the professional level drives how it's
managed at other levels of the game and it is important we continue
to lead the way."

RFU Professional Rugby Director Rob Andrew said: "The professional
game in England is a global leader in terms of player welfare and
these constructive steps build on the consensus reached at the
Professional Rugby Concussion Forum and the work the RFU and its
partners have been doing over the last decade in terms of injury
monitoring, research and prevention."

Phil Winstanley, Rugby Director of Premiership Rugby, said: "We
are committed to promoting player welfare and fully supportive of
these next steps to continue improving the ways in which the
professional game educates its stakeholders in relation to
concussion and possible head injuries. The science in this area is
developing all the time and it is essential that we are able to
develop our processes and regulations in line with this and to make
appropriate changes to protect our players and coaches.  We
acted quickly in introducing the PSCA trial process in the first
instance and welcome the chance to refine that process further and
to continue to develop a safer environment for our players, coaches
and medics."

David Barnes, Rugby Director at the Rugby Players' Association
(RPA), said: "The RPA remains committed to working with all parties
to ensure that injury risks to our members playing the game are
monitored and effective strategies are developed to reduce risks to
their welfare. The RPA and its specialist independent medical
advisors will continue to educate the players on the seriousness of
concussion whilst also looking to further understand the research
into potential long-term consequences of head injuries."

PROGRAMME & UPDATES

Programme Link for the
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