World Rugby has made a much-welcomed change to how Head Injury Assessments (HIA) will now be conducted. This amendment applies to all elite level adult rugby competitions and will come into effect on August 26 but it will also apply to the start of the Rugby Championship, which kicks off this weekend.
The new amendment states that a player who undergoes a HIA must remain off the pitch for 10 minutes, regardless of whether he passes the HIA before that time.
Currently, a player can pass his HIA and return to the field regardless of how long it took to carry out the assessment but that has now changed.
The change, according to World Rugby, will “further promote a calm, clinical environment for assessment without rush or risk of screening time falling well under the average completion time.”
Here is the statement from World Rugby regarding the new change:
World Rugby has approved an amendment to law making it mandatory for players who undertake an off-field screening under the head injury assessment (HIA) protocol not to return before 10 minutes (actual time) have elapsed.
The amendment comes into effect globally from 26 August and applies to all participating elite adult rugby competitions*. It amends the previous time stipulation, which included no minimum requirement.
With the latest data indicating that the average time for the screening to be undertaken by a team or independent doctor being a shade over seven minutes, the introduction of a fixed time will further promote a calm, clinical environment for assessment without rush or risk of screening time falling well under the average completion time. The adjustment will also assist match management.
World Rugby Chief Medical Officer Dr Martin Raftery said: “The HIA process is playing a major role in changing culture and promoting best practice as outlined by the data. However, we continue to strive for evidence-based improvements and the move from a maximum of 10 minutes off-field for the HIA screening to a fixed 10 minutes will further promote a thorough and calm assessment.”