Rugby Injuries Spark Research Into Impact Of Concussion

Brain Injuries Suffered By Players Monitored To Help Manage Traumatic Brain Injuries

11.03.2015

Research into the impact of concussion is being carried out by monitoring rugby players who experience them, in the hope that the results will help with prevention and treatment of Traumatic Brain Injury.

Exeter University researchers are working with the Exeter Chiefs rugby team. Any player who suffers a head injury receives an MRI scan to see what impact it has had on the brain. 

Discussing the research, Huw Williams of the Centre for Clinical Neuropsychology Research at the University of Exeter said: "At present it is still the case that there is little evidence base for the management of Traumatic Brain Injury.

"There is a need to develop better systems for understanding and treating of it, particularly in the acute period, straight after a knock out, before there may be irreversible changes in brain tissue."

The research comes in the wake of recent criticisms of the Welsh Rugby Union for allowing players to remain on the pitch despite suffering head injuries and concussions. Most recently, Welsh player George North continued playing despite two suspected concussions.

"It sends a terrible message," said former England captain Lewis Moody. "It says it's still ok to get concussed and to carry on. It still says to the other coaches at grass roots level and the medics that you can still let these guys continue."

"I think it's just a duty of care. We owe it to our players to look after them."

Expert Opinion
A number of recent high-profile incidents in rugby have illustrated the failings currently present in the way head injuries are dealt with on the pitch, as well as the protocols in place for those who have suffered a concussion.

“Further research into the issue can only be a good thing and we hope the current partnership between Exeter Chiefs and Exeter University will shed light on the long-term impact of concussion in sports and the need to ensure players are given the best possible treatment in the aftermath of a head injury.”
Stephen Nye, Partner