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World Rugby welcomes international consensus statement on concussion in sport

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Rugby’s governing body has welcomed the publication of a major new consensus statement on preventing and treating sport-related concussions.

World Rugby said last week that the document “confirms that rugby continues to be aligned with recommended best-practice in the identification and management of concussive injuries.”

The Berlin Concussion in Sports Group (CISG) statement, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, is the result of a detailed review by an expert panel of more than 60,000 scientific papers. It includes an update on the Concussion Recognition Tool (CRT5), the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool (SCAT5) and the Child Sport Concussion Assessment Tool (Child SCAT5), all three of which are currently used in many sport federations and professional leagues.

Additionally, the statement updates recommendations on returning to sport, noting that athletes recovering from concussion should be exercising earlier following the injury, provided that this does not cause concussion symptoms to reappear.

Researchers at the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Kinesiology were among the experts taking part in the process.

“This consensus was built on the latest scientific evidence and will have a profound impact diagnosing and treating sport-related concussions,” said Dr Willem Meeuwisse, a sport medicine physician and epidemiologist in the Faculty of Kinesiology. “While most people recover in the initial 10- to 14-day time period following injury, in some cases individuals may have symptoms that may persist.”

The document is intended to assist doctors and health professionals in the care of athletes of all levels, including adults and children, who may have suffered a concussion. It also includes a tool with specific information for the general public and a specific tool for use in children under the age of 12.

“The new tools created from this consensus are designed to assist parents, coaches, officials and players to identify athletes with a potential concussion and remove the athlete from further risk of injury,” explained Carolyn Emery, PhD, physiotherapist and professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology.

World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: “Concussion is a top priority for all sports and we continue to collaborate with other sports and leading medical and scientific experts to ensure the very best programmes are implemented to protect participants at all levels.

“The Berlin consensus statement is important in providing expert insight and alignment with the latest recognised best practice in order that we can continue to develop further educational, management and preventative strategies that reduce the risk of concussion in rugby.”