International Rugby Board To Trial Stricter Concussion Rules
On Thursday, the Int'l Rugby Board "backed new measures to protect players suffering from concussion" and commissioned a major study into the risk of head injuries in the game, according to the AFP. Amid the "growing concern about the potential for high impact sports to cause permanent brain injuries," the IRB said that national rugby unions would "trial the new measures in their domestic competitions." With the new trial, players with a suspected concussion will have to be "sidelined for five minutes while they undergo a medical assessment by both the team doctor and an independent physician." In a change from current rules, "both the independent medic and the match referee will have the power to order the player from the field." While the assessment is conducted, the player will be temporarily replaced from the bench. The New Zealand Rugby Union said that "the new measures would be used in this season's ITM Cup," the professional domestic league that is a tier down from the Super 15 competition. The IRB also commissioned an Auckland University study that will look into "the potential long-term effects of head knocks on rugby players" (AFP, 8/2).