The governing body talk of 'Six Pillars' in their outline

Independent concussion consultants part of World Rugby player welfare plan

Rugby’s governing body have today announced a menu of six player welfare-focussed changes to the game, with the introduction of independent concussion consultants a key pillar in their new plan.

The new Independent Concussion Consultants (ICC) panel – not affiliated with any specific team – will begin operating across the men’s and women’s Test level this month and are tasked with making a ruling on whether players completing the current six-stage ‘graduated return-to-play protocols’ following a confirmed brain injury can come back. In the case of a confirmed concussion, team doctors must attain a deliberation from the ICC within or on the tenth day of their recovery.

An ICC review will also be mandatory when players deemed “higher risk” are due to return, regardless of the period of recovery after the brain injury. Those considered high risk have been concussed within the last three months, had two or more concussions in the last 12 months, or have had five or more concussions since their career began.

There are five other “pillars” to the World Rugby plan. First up is the law trials to include 50:22 kick and changes to what is allowed at the breakdown.

Secondly, they promise to focus on innovation led by science and research, saying: “World Rugby will continue to bring together a variety of scientific perspectives on concussion in sport to make sure we’re learning from each development in the science and focusing investment into concussion and head impact in rugby studies in particular.”

World Rugby also promise to increase their support for former players who are struggling. Fourth, they say they will redouble their focus on the women’s game and fifth, will be seeking increased engagement with “the rugby family” and their stakeholders around the world. 

Finally, in sixth, they wish to continued investment in their education programmes by strengthening “the provision of information, tools and resources to everyone involved in the game when it comes to head impacts and player welfare. This will include a new Recognise and Remove head injury education programme and App.” 

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