Concussion debate
English rugby to tighten concussion protocols
ESPN Staff
January 13, 2014
The processes surrounding concussions are being tightened up © Getty Images

English rugby will tighten up concussion protocols in a bid to further improve protection of players who have sustained head injuries.

The subject of the way sports in general approach concussion have been to the fore of late with rugby, because of its very nature, one of those most under the spotlight.

The Professional Game Board - made up of officials from the RFU, the leading clubs and the Rugby Players' Association - is preparing to react to research in the United States which found significant levels of early-onset dementia in former American footballers.

One of the major steps will be the introduction of mandatory online concussion education programme which every player in the Premiership and the Championship, as well as coaches, referees and medics, will have to take before the start of next season.

The system where players are evaluated for suspected concussion during a match will also be reviewed although calls for the period before which the player concerned can return to the pitch to be extended from five to 15 minutes is unlikely to happen. It is thought a compromise of ten minutes will be agreed on by the IRB.

The final change will focus on the time concussed players need to rest before returning to action. There used to be a minimum three-week rule but that was relaxed with each case being treated individually.

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