Planet Rugby

Concussion tests manipulated - Expert

11th October 2013 10:07

Share:

George Smith being checked out

Australia's George Smith is checked for concussion

An expert at the forefront of rugby's concussion debate has claimed the benchmark player assessments are being manipulated.

The CogState Sport tests are used as benchmarks to evaluate a player's condition after a suspected concussion.

Dr Jon Patricios, however, a founder and director of Sports Concussion South Africa, has been quoted in UK newspaper the Mail On Sunday as claiming that, while the governing bodies are treating the matter with care, a more uniform approach must be adopted regarding the way the tests are undertaken.

The news comes mere months after ex-Scotland international Rory Lamont went public with his allegations that players were "cheating concussion" by posting intentionally low scores in the benchmark examinations.

The Mail On Sunday also asserted that players whose results were unduly low were told to re-take the test in breach of the procedures that state only one assessment per day should be carried out.

"There may be distractions or deliberate attempts by the player to score poorly," Patricios told the newspaper.

"There are checks ... so if you really are scoring poorly in a baseline test it will give you an invalid score and you should really repeat that. There are some checks, but there is no silver bullet.

"The IRB have tried to bring in other parameters to allow better assessment but have players worked the system and doctors manipulated the system? In all honesty, probably yes.

"But it's not for want of the IRB trying to look after their players. We're trying to find parameters in the absence of an absolute test for diagnosing concussion."

Dr Patricios conceded that although the test did offer a solid guide for assessing concussion, it was not a blanket fix for the problem, rather one factor in a wide criteria used to determine a player's condition.

"There's still a lot of grey. Diagnosing concussion is as much art as it is concussion. I'm certainly not comfortable with anyone saying 'do the computer test and based on that score I'll make a decision'. It has to fit into an overall profile," he said.

He also believes it will be "a long, long time" before a guaranteed, reliable mechanism was in place, and admitted that "costs would be prohibitive" on that front.

Patricio felt it was most important to educate players on the dangers of concussion, but that the sport had not fulfilled this duty.

"We haven't been good enough at conveying [this information] to people on the front line. That is really where the challenge lies," he said.

  • RaboDirect PRO12 Fixtures
Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
RaboDirect PRO12
Sunday , April 20
Cardiff Blues vs ScarletsCardiff Blues vs Scarlets Preview
Newport Gwent D'gons vs OspreysNewport Gwent D
Saturday , April 26
Glasgow vs Edinburgh19:05
Thursday , May 1
Zebre vs Ospreys17:00
Friday , May 2
Benetton Treviso vs Glasgow19:00
Scarlets vs Newport Gwent D'gons19:05
Ulster vs Leinster19:30
Saturday , May 3
Edinburgh vs Munster17:00
Connacht vs Cardiff Blues17:00
Saturday , May 10
Glasgow vs Zebre18:30
More RaboDirect PRO12 fixtures
  • RaboDirect PRO12 Results
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
RaboDirect PRO12
Saturday , April 19
Zebre 26 - 13 EdinburghZebre vs Edinburgh Report
Connacht 23 - 32 MunsterConnacht vs Munster Report
Friday , April 18
Leinster 62 - 7 Benetton TrevisoLeinster vs Benetton Treviso Report
Glasgow 27 - 9 UlsterGlasgow vs Ulster Report
Saturday , April 12
Benetton Treviso 45 - 27 Newport Gwent D'gonsBenetton Treviso vs Newport Gwent D
Munster 5 - 22 GlasgowMunster vs Glasgow Report
Scarlets 27 - 20 ZebreScarlets vs Zebre Report
Friday , April 11
Ospreys 25 - 19 LeinsterOspreys vs Leinster Report
Ulster 58 - 12 ConnachtUlster vs Connacht Report
Edinburgh 22 - 29 Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
  • RaboDirect PRO12 Table
RaboDirect PRO12 Table
PosTeamPPts
1Leinster2074
2Munster2068
3Ulster2065
4Glasgow Warriors1964
5Ospreys1956