New study into rugby head injury test to immediately diagnose concussion
We have all witnessed the inevitable clash of heads during a rugby match and the dilemma of the coach and match officials to make the right call. This uncertainty is compounded by the player, pumped full of match adrenaline, desperately trying to hide the extent of the head injury to be able to play on. Concussion is a disturbance to the normal working of the brain usually resulting from a blow to the head. Repeated concussions are linked to serious long term brain conditions. Initial symptoms of concussion – in Rugby the most common symptoms that you may see on the pitch are the following: Headache, confusion, blurred vision, nausea, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, drowsiness, dizziness, feeling in a fog, memory impairment
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The University of Birmingham, in association with the Rugby Football Union (RFU), Premiership Rugby and the Rugby Players’ Association are currently developing a new pitch-side test to quickly diagnose concussion and brain injuries. During matches in 2017-18, players with suspected or confirmed concussion will be asked to provide samples of saliva immediately following the injury, as studies have shown it could be a rapid indicator of head injury, and will give follow-up samples as they go through the standard return-to-play protocol. The samples will then be compared to samples taken from other players who did not sustain injuries. If the study proves successful this could lead to pitch-side devices providing quick diagnosis and determining whether players are fit to continue.
For more information click here to watch BBC sport’s Professor Tony Belli explaining the campaign.
Further head injury advice can also be found in our detailed article in Rugby Magazine – Please click here to read more about the prevention and treatment of head injuries in Rugby matches.