With increasing concern over the frequency of concussions in the sport, the Australian Rugby Union is set to begin trialing an interesting new system this weekend.
Looking to improve protocols for better management of concussion in rugby, referees will be afforded the opportunity to brandish blue cards in the coming weeks.
The new system, which is only being trialed in competitions in the ACT and Newcastle, will mean that players showing signs of concussion could be shown a blue card by an on-field official, removing him/her from the field of play.
Players shown the new card will not be allowed back onto the pitch for the remainder of the match and will also be forced to undergo various tests before they will be approved to return to a competitive fixture.
The new system is apparently aimed at improving safety standards for the lower levels of the sport where on-field medical assessments are not readily available.
Speaking about the trial, The ARU’s chief medical officer, Warren McDonald stated (via The Guardian) that the trial is being put in place to gather knowledge before ultimately rolling the blue card out nationally at junior and senior levels of the game.
“Our concussion guidelines are there to ensure that everyone in our game is educated on how to manage concussion and ultimately the aim is to gather feedback from the upcoming trials and work towards rolling out the blue card system nationally across our grassroots competitions at both junior and senior level.”
“The blue card is a visual cue that a player has a suspected concussion and they will be removed from the field of play and won’t be coming back that day. It’s about recognising and removing a player that is suffering the effects of a head knock.” – Warren McDonald, ARU Chief Medical Officer.