Report highlights concussion concern

Date published: January 18 2017

Concussion is sitting at the top of the injury list and accounted for 25 percent of the total in a new report released on Wednesday.

Despite the Rugby Football Union’s Professional Rugby Injury Report saying injuries are down on last season, concussion has risen 7 percent.

The Professional Rugby Injury Surveillance Project report is the most comprehensive and longest-running injury surveillance study in rugby and has monitored the risk of Premiership players in the top flight, European and Test arena, as well as training for the last 13 seasons.

The PRISP report also provides an update on research projects around concussion prevention, artificial turf injury risk and how to manage athletes on artificial turf, training load and injury risk and the utility of the King-Devick assessment in identifying concussed players.

“This is an important study that helps us understand injury trends in the professional game in England. Since this surveillance project began in 2002 the injury rate has remained relatively stable however last season has shown a decline in match injuries; lower than any other season,” said Simon Kemp, RFU Chief Medical Officer.

“We need to be cautious about interpreting the data in a Rugby World Cup year that led to a change in the domestic season structure. We certainly can’t now say that the professional game is safer from these single-season results and we need to continue to monitor injury risk to clarify if this is a trend or not.

“The continued rise in the number of reported concussions in the professional game continues to be an area of priority focus for everyone involved in the game. Medical staff are all working extremely hard to ensure that we are identifying and managing this complex injury well. We all want players who are subsequently diagnosed with concussion to be removed from the field of play at the time of injury and recognise that this approach is likely to see an increase in the number of reported concussions. While we continue to ‘recognise and remove’, our focus must now be on concussion prevention.

“We know that the tackle is where the overwhelming majority of concussions occur and welcome the recent initiatives around zero tolerance to contact with the head from World Rugby. We anticipate that these initiatives are most likely to reduce the risk to the ball carrier. Two thirds of all concussions are sustained by the tackler; 47 percent of all injuries to the tackler are now concussions and developing interventions to reduce the risk to the tackler must now be the priority.”

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