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RFU Seeks To Raise Concussion Awareness With Compulsory Education Programme

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Despite advances in medicine, concussion remains among the most challenging sports injuries in terms of diagnosis, assessment and rehabilitation. It is also one of the most common sports injuries so education is extremely important for raising awareness and promoting best practices. Driven by these considerations, the Professional Game Board (PGB) has approved an education programme that will be compulsory for English professional rugby players and coaches, the Rugby Football Union (RFU) announced on its website.

Rugby is a high contact sport and head injuries are common, which makes concussion education very important for participants. The online programme will run before the beginning of next season but the aim is to extend its benefits beyond players and coaches. Professional rugby referees will also be included by being given access to further resources and the same goes for healthcare providers, who will be covered through the Immediate Care in Sport programme.

In November 2013, Twickenham Stadium played host to the Professional Rugby Concussion Forum and this was followed by a number of recommendations put forward by the PGB´s Medical Advisory Group. The concussion education programme is among those recommendations. The list also includes mandatory footage review by the assessing doctor so that the injury mechanism can be observed before a player is given the all-clear and allowed to rejoin the team. It was also recommended that a new review process be introduced for individual pitchside concussion assessment cases. The PGB also called for commitment to best practices and objectivity in Graduated Return to Play, a protocol that is specific to rugby union.