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The Rugby Football League (RFL) has agreed to extend the protocol regarding concussion.
Players who fail concussion tests during matches or training will not be permitted to play again for at least 11 days; which is up from seven.
The sentencing guidelines have been amended too with players facing stricter punishment for striking, head-butting, kicking and late hits.
The RFL have also rolled out a three-year mouthguard project which will measure head knocks in players.
This research project, called TaCKLE – Tackle and Contact Kinematics, Load and Exposure – at Leeds Beckett University, aims to quantify head impact and acceleration exposures; with the aim of increasing understanding and reducing future risk.
This project follows a pilot study when Leeds and Salford players wore instrumented mouthguards to measure head impact exposures; and how tackle technique and tackle height influence head acceleration loading.
The pilot study for the TaCKLE project was the most comprehensive validity study completed in the world as the mouthguard were fitted with micro-chips and relay data to touchline medical staff.
Research like this shows how players’ safety in sport is priority and the RFL aims to make the game as safe as possible.
Gary Herbert, Partner in personal injury at Potter Rees Dolan, who specialises in acting for clients with brain injuries, said:
Along with the recent decision by the football Premier League to trial saliva tests, it is positive to see the custodians of our professional sports starting to find ways for medicine and science to lead the way.
When decisions are left to players and their coaches the short term need to compete on the field can often lead to decisions which do not protect the players’ welfare over the longer term. Anything which can introduce an evidence-led approach to the rules and regulations to prevent the debilitating long term effect of brain injuries should be welcomed.
Gary Herbert is a Partner in personal injury here at Potter Rees Dolan. Should you have any queries about a head injury in sport or indeed any other aspect of personal injury and wish to speak to Gary or any other member of the team, please contact us on 0800 027 2557 or contact Gary directly.