RFU outline plans to help combat concussion

 

English rugby's top doctor believes it is unlikely the sport will in the future face a large American football-style lawsuit over concussion.

Next season the Aviva Premiership will trial the use of a 'concussion bin' that will enable players to leave the pitch to undergo cognitive tests if the team doctor or referee suspects they may be required.

Dr Simon Kemp, the Rugby Football Union's head of sports medicine, views the initiative as the "final piece in the jigsaw" in addressing the issue.

Concussion is highly topical in the United States where 2,000 former gridiron players are suing the National Football League over the way they have handled the injury.

The concern is that the number of retired rugby players showing the long-term effects of head trauma as a result of the increased physical demands that has accompanied professionalism will increase.

But Kemp is wary of drawing parallels between rugby and the NFL.

"It's speculative to say that we'll see more NFL-style outcomes to head injuries in years to come," Kemp said.

"There are differences between rugby and helmeted sports such as American football and ice hockey.

"We don't think that head knocks in rugby involve the same impact as American football or ice hockey.

"In those sports contact between helmeted players involve different forces to the forces that we see in rugby, which also requires players to tackle from the shoulder down.

"We don't want to be complacent about the level of risk in rugby, but we don't think taking research into American football or ice hockey and applying it to rugby is valid.

"But we're watching the landscape in rugby very carefully and trying to make sure we put player welfare first.

"If you manage concussions well at the start - bringing players off as soon as possible - it will go a long way to managing the long term consequences."

Dementia, cognitive dysfunction and depression are among the long-term effects of concussion, the fourth most common injury in rugby, but arguably second only to catastrophic neck trauma in terms of the impact had on post-career quality of life.

Kemp points out that the lawsuit against the NFL is for their failure to warn players about concussion risks and impose proper safety regulations.

In contrast, he believes English rugby is taking the correct steps to reduce the dangers involved.

"In the last two years of the Premiership, we've only taken 40% of players who have subsequently been out with concussion off the field at the time of their concussion," he said.

"The issue is that while your brain is recovering, you don't want it to be hit again, so you really want those concussed players off the pitch.

"The expectation is to do a lot better than we are doing now.

"The problem with concussion is that unlike a broken arm or broken leg, you can't see it on the outside. And rugby players are warriors, always keen to return to play.

"Since 2002-03, we believe we've been leading the way in concussion management."

The launch of the new Premiership season at Twickenham today also saw the announcement of extended powers for television match officials.

The league, which begins on Saturday week, volunteered to trial a greater use of video technology, which extends the TMO's input to more than just the grounding of the ball.

In matches broadcast live on television this season, the referee can ask the TMO to rule on any incident in the lead-up to a try being scored, dating back to the last stoppage in play.

The TMO will also have the power to alert the referee on matters of foul play he may have missed.

The trials have been developed by the International Rugby Board.

"This allows us to maintain the integrity of our competition by ensuring that the match officials are given the utmost support in getting crucial decisions right," said Phil Winstanley, rugby director at Premiership Rugby.

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Teeth should be brushed twice a day to prevent tooth decay
education
News
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
news
Sport
footballChelsea 6 Maribor 0: Blues warm up for Premier League showdown with stroll in Champions League - but Mourinho is short of strikers
News
Those who were encouraged to walk in a happy manner remembered less negative words
science
Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
News
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones
i100
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London