Researchers from the University of Bath have been chosen by the Rugby Football Union and Premiership Rugby to evaluate the trial of a Pitch Side Concussion Assessment, designed to give medical teams more time and a better environment to assess head injuries during play.
Dr Keith Stokes, Dr Grant Trewartha and PhD student Matt Cross from the University’s Department for Health will evaluate the season-long trial of a five-minute temporary replacement and standardised assessment for players with suspected concussion.
Dr Simon Kemp, Head of Sports Medicine at the RFU, said: “The independent evaluation will allow us to assess the effectiveness of the trial and the sensitivity and specificity of the assessment tool.
“The standardised evaluation process should also ensure consistent delivery of post-game concussion management and treatment.”
Dr Stokes explained: “We are uniquely positioned to carry out this trial because of our broader work on rugby injuries and player welfare.
“At the beginning of the 2011/12 season we were chosen by the RFU and Premiership Rugby to deliver the next phase of the English Professional Rugby Injury Surveillance Project.
“This project is the largest study of its kind in world rugby and is a major component to the development and evaluation of ongoing player welfare initiatives.”
Dr Stokes and Dr Trewartha are also carrying out surveillance of injuries in women’s rugby, community rugby and youth rugby.
The same group from the Department for Health (Grant Trewartha, Keith Stokes, Ezio Preatoni, Sarah Churchill, Andreas Wallbaum) continue to work on Phase 2 of the ‘Biomechanics of the Rugby Scrum’ project, a three-year player welfare study funded by the International Rugby Board (IRB).
The current round of testing involves visiting participating teams from all over the UK and further afield to perform analyses of live scrummaging trials to assess the physical demands being placed on the players involved in the scrum and to investigate whether these demands can be modified through changes to the scrum engagement processes.