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Irwin Mitchell Lawyer Advises On New Rugby Concussion Protocols

New Protocols Will Change Treatment Of Head Injuries In Rugby


Expert Medical Law and Patients’ Rights lawyers at Irwin Mitchell who advised on the implementation of new protocols that will change the way head injuries and concussions are managed within rugby have described the measures as a “very positive development” for the sport.

The new measures have been created by the Rugby Football Union (RFU), Premiership Rugby and the Rugby Players' Association (RPA) and focus on awareness, management in games and the protocols on players who have suffered a head injury returning to the field of play.

All players, coaches and officials will now need to pass an online module, to ensure they are aware of the latest guidance and information on the dangers of head injuries and concussion.

Ian Christian, a Medical Law and Patients’ Rights Partner at Irwin Mitchell’s London office, offered the RPA advice from his extensive litigation expertise, to make sure that players are better informed about concussion whilst ensuring that the clubs and any doctor stand by their legal obligations in a situation in which a concussion occurs.
Expert Opinion
Concussions in sport are a key issue that needs to be addressed by sporting associations throughout the country. There remains a long way to go before the effect of concussions is fully understood by sporting associations, but it is pleasing to see that the issue continues to be discussed within English rugby.

“Player welfare is at the heart of this and providing better support to concussed players during a game is urgently needed. Through better understanding and improved protocols, there will hopefully be a reduction, in the long run, to the number of players suffering serious brain injuries as a result.”
Ian Christian, Partner

The new protocols will change the way head injuries are assessed and treated on the pitch and include alterations to the current balance test, a strengthened memory test and the lengthening of the medical assessment – from five minutes to ten.

The protocols also outline new measures that need to be implemented at rugby grounds, including the provision of replays for medical staff making decisions on players returning to the field.

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