The Concussion Debate
SANZAR adopts new pitchside concussion protocols
June 27, 2014
Crusaders and All Blacks star Kieran Read is a high-profile victim of concussion this year © Getty Images
Super Rugby and The Rugby Championship will apply more advanced sideline concussion tests after SANZAR officials decided after consultation with medical officers from the Australian, New Zealand and South African rugby unions to implement the enhanced Head Injury Assessment (HIA), introduced by the International Rugby Board (IRB) on June 1.
The enhanced assessment, introduced during the June Test window, supersedes the Pitch Side Concussion Assessment tool.
Two components of the pitch-side concussion checks have been expanded, with the memory test strengthened and the balance test altered, improving the information teams and doctors have available when deciding if and when players are safe to return to action.
"From the moment the IRB announced the introduction of the Head Injury Assessment, we made it a priority to take steps that would lead to the enhanced protocol being introduced to SANZAR competitions as soon as possible," SANZAR chief Greg Peters said on Friday, noting the controlling body of Super Rugby and The Rugby Championship held player welfare to be paramount.
"Player welfare is a primary concern for our sport and we are therefore supportive of the IRB's introduction of the HIA which will be in effect at Super Rugby from the resumption of the competition this weekend following the June Test window."
The former Pitch Side Concussion Assessment was criticised after George Smith played on against the British & Irish Lions despite clearly being concussed © Getty Images
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