Premiership rugby improve head injury assessment

Independent Match Day doctors help support the head injury assessment process.

  A new Premiership rugby initiative means Match Day doctors will collaborate with team doctors to oversee the head injury assessment process and effectively manage simultaneous head injury assessments, as reported by BBC Sport. The ultimate decision as to whether or not a player returns to play will sit with the Match Day doctor but all decisions made will follow discussions with the team doctor, as they know the players well, and after having reviewed the video replay. This initiative, funded by 13 Premiership clubs, will bring England closer in line with rugby best practice and the international standard where this system is already in use and has proved to be a successful one. The Match Day doctor is in addition to the team doctors who are already in place to ensure the safety of the players. An Immediate Care Doctor and a Match Day Pitch-side Video Reviewer, who uses a SMART replay system, will sit with the Match Day doctor. Matt Cross, Premiership Rugby’s Research and Development Manager, said: “This new initiative continues the evolution of our player welfare strategy, following on from the introduction of the Head Injury Assessment and our use of the Hawkeye system to help better identify injuries during matches.”  A Premiership audit showed the number of concussions in the Premiership fell from 169 in 2016-17 to 140 the following season but the average recovery time increased.  Other sports are also improving correct diagnosis and treatment of head injury. The FA created a head injury panel in April 2015 that reviews safety guidelines for both professional and recreational football. The panel is made up of independent experts in both head injury and concussion.
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