How to treat a concussion in rugby

Jamie-Cudmore (1)It is vitally important for players and coaches to understand how to deal with concussions, and how to treat them. This enables everyone to look out for each other especially when it is played without coaches or in a formal competition or tournament. Learning these six R’s are also vital for parents to be familiar with to look out for their children’s health.

There is a useful 6 R’s that are used as a standard to treating concussion it is the World Rugby – Recognise and Remove it is a 6 point treatment to do on the field.

It consists of Recognise, Remove, Refer, Rest and finally Return.

Recognise. This refers to knowing the signs and symptoms of a concussion in order to identify a concussion in yourself and your fellow team mates.

Remove. Refers to the action you take whether it is a confirmed concussion or a suspected concussion. The rugby player should be removed immediately from the field to prevent further damage which will ultimately result in even more time off. Taking the appropriate rest as soon as it happens to ensure returning back to rugby soon and safely.

Refer. Once the player is taken away from the field they should be assessed ideally by a medical doctor or other medical professional trained in evaluating concussion.

Rest. After seeing an appropriate health care professional you will be advised on how long your rest needs to be. Different severities of concussions warrant different lengths of rest.

Recover. Before it is safe to return to a game it is important to be symptom-free. It is important that players are honest with themselves and in their communication of their symptoms or lack thereof. It is for the players own mental wellbeing.

Return. There is a standardised test to aid in determining if it is safe for a player to return. It is called the Graduated Return to Play protocol (GRTP) the player should complete it before returning to the field and should be cleared in writing by a qualified health care professional to return to play.