Head Trauma is increasingly in the spotlight given scientific advances and a greater understanding of the effects of concussion. 

Education around concussion is a core topic in RugbySmart and the implementation of the Blue Card is an excellent initiative, giving the referee the power to sideline a player until they are medically cleared to play again.

As part of the focus on player welfare and guided by World Rugby, NZR has adopted a recommendation of Recognise, Remove, Recovery and Return. These recommendations align with NZR’s primary purpose of the community concussion management pathway (CMP) which are:

  1. Players are removed from the field of play following any suspected concussion
  2. Players are referred into a General Practitioner for a medical diagnosis assessment following their suspected concussion
  3. Medical clearance is provided for any suspected concussion prior to the player return to contact training

The challenge now is to ensure these recommendations are executed in the community for each and every suspected concussion.

The Foundation has been a longtime advocate of accident prevention, so we were pleased to contribute to the cutting edge, peer-reviewed and publishable research project by New Zealand Rugby, AUT and Otago University that started in 2020 and will continue into 2021 and 2022.

The collaboration has already:

  1. Employed a lead researcher full time to support the analysis of the qualitative data
  2. Submitted a journal article to: International Journal of Sport Science and Coaching examining The Rugby tug-of-war: Exploring concussion-related behavioural intentions and behaviours in youth community rugby in New Zealand
  3. Developed a full draft of a journal article titled: Concussion education for New Zealand high school rugby players: A multi-methods analysis of the impact on concussion knowledge, attitudes, and reporting behaviours.
  4. Created an initial draft of a journal article titled: GP perspectives of New Zealand Rugby’s Concussion Management Pathway
  5. Completed analysis on a journal article titled: Managing concussion in the real word: Stakeholder perspectives of New Zealand Rugby’s Concussion Management Pathway
  6. Entered the final stage of analysis of the data for a journal article titled: Concussion roles and responsibilities across a community rugby system – an AcciMaps approach
  7. Established an honours project with the University of Otago to look at the perceived value of baseline testing
  8. Worked to establish a Master’s project with AUT to examine physiotherapists’ perspectives of New Zealand Rugby’s Concussion Management Pathway

For more detail around any of these projects click the concussion update button.

The research continues into 2021/2022 led by Dr. Danielle Salmon (NZR).