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WRU Declares Zero Tolerance Policy Over Head Injuries

Welsh Rugby Union Reveals New Approach To Concussion


The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) has outlined details of its new approach to dealing with concussion injuries in the sport.

Called Recognise and Remove, the new policy document has been developed in line with the latest knowledge on how to deal with blows to the head. It has been written by WRU national medical manager Prav Mathema, with the backing of the WRU Medical Advisory Committee.

It will be sent to clubs at all levels of the game in Wales, from the professional game to local junior sides, with the campaign accompanying it including other publications like posters warning of the dangers of concussion.

The document describes the symptoms of concussion and explains the need for a zero-tolerance approach to dealing with it. Specifically, this means any player who is suspected of having suffered such a blow must be removed from the game or training session immediately. It also dispels some common misconceptions about concussion.

In addition, there is a return to play programme that anyone who has suffered concussion must follow, to ensure they do not come back too soon, as well as guidance to deal with situations where anyone suffers a second concussion injury inside 12 months.

The new guidance was endorsed by current Wales international Jamie Roberts.

He said: "The WRU guidance is easy to follow so players, referees, coaches and volunteers on the touchlines could all have a role to play in recognising symptoms and taking the appropriate action.

"We all know the positives of playing rugby from a health perspective and through the values it fosters and represents, so this guidance will no doubt prove to be a great tool in encouraging greater participation."

The issue of concussion in rugby has become particularly prominent in recent years, particularly in the wake of the death of Ben Robson, the 14-year-old who lost his life after a game in Northern Ireland in 2011.

He had already been concussed once in the match, but was allowed to return to the field and suffered a second blow, which worsened his injury and consequently proved fatal.

Expert Opinion
Further debate on the issue of head injuries in sport is most certainly welcome and it is vital that sporting authorities takes steps to ensure head injuries that occur on the pitch are treated seriously, as even a slight injury to the head can have long-term effects on those who take part in sport at both professional and amateur level.

“The Welsh Rugby Union is the latest organisation to implement new measures designed to deal with head injuries caused by collision on the pitch, following the English FA, which implemented new rules on how head injuries in the Premier League are dealt with by club doctors, managers and the players themselves.

“In our work we have seen the serious and long-lasting impact head injuries can have on individuals, particularly if the injury goes unnoticed, untreated or ignored. It is vital the discussion around head injuries in sports continues and players at all levels are given the help and support to deal with the impact of head injuries.”
Stephen Nye, Partner

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