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By Anthonie Malley

If in doubt...sit them out!

The big subject of chat about Scottish Rugby this week is that of concussion after Racing 92 and Scotland fly half Finn Russell being ruled out of this weeks international against France.

Concussion is a serious issue at all levels of our game and the SRU along with our Club Development Officer, Steven Meenagh want to reiterate the concussion policy.

What is Concussion?

Concussion is a brain injury, which is serious! There are many potential symptoms of concussion and these can include headache, dizziness, memory or concentration issues and balance problems. Loss of consciousness is not required to diagnose concussion.

Scottish Rugby's Policy Statement

Scottish Rugby is committed to injury prevention and the welfare of all those participating in our sport. Players are entitled to take part in rugby in a safe and enjoyable environment. Scottish Rugby will adopt policies to minimise the risk of concussion and procedures for the appropriate management of any cases of concussion which may arise. Everyone within Scottish Rugby will be made aware of the policies and procedures in place to promote the safety and wellbeing of those playing the game.

The 7 Key principles:

  • Primary responsibility for the health and wellbeing of each player lies with the individual player. In agreeing to participate players must take seriously the risk of injury to themselves and to others.
  • The welfare of the player is paramount.
  • Scottish Rugby, and all those governed by Scottish Rugby, shall follow best practice in relation to the management of potential incidents of concussion.
  • Scottish Rugby believes that current best practice is represented by World Rugby Regulation 10 (Medical) and the Scottish Sports Concussion Guidance.
  • All players, coaches and other team management members must follow the terms of World Rugby Regulation 10, the Scottish Sports Concussion Guidance and any other guidance published by Scottish Rugby in relation to the management of suspected cases of concussion.
  • The protection of the player is everyone’s responsibility.

Recognise and Remove Protocol

Any player with concussion or suspected concussion must be immediately removed from the field of play, and only return to play/training in accordance with the Graduated Return to Play (GRTP) process. The key message - IF IN DOUBT, SIT THEM OUT - applies to all players! The Graduated Return to Play Protocols set out in the Policy are mandatory.

HIA (Head Impact Assessment) are not permitted in all domestic rugby games in Scotland

GRTP Process for Age Grade and Community Rugby Players

In relation to all players under the age of 19 (including elite level players) and all adult Community Rugby Players the following GRTP provisions shall apply:

All Player aged U19
Players under the age of 19 diagnosed with concussion (or who have suspected concussion):

  • Must undergo a minimum period of 24 hours complete physical and cognitive rest;
  • May begin the cautious reintroduction of cognitive ("thinking") activities after 24 hours rest providing any symptoms related to the concussion are not aggravated;
  • May only start a graduated return to play once symptom-free for a minimum of 14 days and have returned to school/study (where applicable). It is recommended that medical clearance is obtained before commencing the graduated return to play;
  • The minimum period between each GRTP stage for U19 players shall be 48 hours; and
  • The earliest possible return to play for a U19 player shall be the 23rd post injury.

Adult Players
Adult players (other than elite adult players under daily supervision) diagnosed with concussion (or who have suspected concussion):

  1. May only start a graduated return to play after being symptom-free for a minimum of 7 days;
  2. The minimum period between each GRTP stage shall be 24 hours;
  3. It is recommended that every player seeks medical clearance before returning to play; and
  4. The earliest possible return to play shall be the 12th day following the injury.

In all cases the graduated return principles set out in the Policy must be followed prior to the players' return to play.

Further details can be found;

The Scottish Rugby Concussion Policy
The Scottish Sport Concussion Guidelines
World Rugby Regulation 10 (Medical)

Updated 13:26 - 3 Apr 2019 by Anthonie Malley

Where next?

Hamilton Rugby Club is going places - here's how YOU can get involved There are roles for people to fill all across the Laigh Bent club, from playing rugby to doing dishes.


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