Brains Over Brawn: Don't 'Tough Out' a Concussion. Know the 5Rs

Brains Over Brawn: Don't 'Tough Out' a Concussion. Know the 5Rs

August 28, 2013

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USA Rugby has launched a very important new concussion policy- "Brains Over Brawn: Don't 'Tough Out' a Concussion. Know the 5Rs".  This policy aligns with the IRB's guidelines and messaging concerning concussion management.

USA Rugby and NERFU have made player welfare and safety their top priority. This new concussion policy is intended to follow the International Rugby Board’s Regulation 10, and follows the “5 Rs” of concussion awareness: Recognize, Remove, Refer, Recover and Return.

Official USA Rugby Concussion Policy
As part of the USA Rugby policy in accordance with IRB regulations, if a player has suffered a concussion or a suspected concussion, he or she must be immediately removed from play. The player should then be referred to and evaluated by a qualified healthcare professional to determine if the athlete has sustained a concussion. It is imperative that the athlete does not return to play until he or she is symptom-free and has been cleared for return to play by a qualified healthcare professional. USA Rugby strongly recommends that the player complete the GRTP (Graduated Return To Play) procedure prior to return to full play and competition. Know the "5 R's"

Know the 5 Rs
USA Rugby’s policy requires that ALL rugby players, staff, parents, referees, volunteers, and even fans follow these five basic steps when dealing with suspected concussions:
    1.    Recognize – Learn the signs and symptoms of a concussion so you understand when an athlete might have a suspected concussion.
    2.    Remove – If an athlete has a concussion or even a suspected concussion he or she must be removed from play immediately.
    3.    Refer – Once removed from play, the player should be referred immediately to a qualified healthcare professional who is trained in evaluating and treating concussions.
    4.    Recover – Full recovery from the concussion is required before return to play is authorized. This includes being symptom-free. Rest and some specific treatment options are critical for the health of the injured participant.
    5.    Return – In order for safe return to play in rugby, the athlete must be symptom-free and cleared in writing by a qualified healthcare professional who is trained in evaluating and treating concussions. USA Rugby strongly recommends that the athlete complete the GRTP (Graduated Return to Play) protocol.

You can access all of the resources available to help you and your club manage player concussions through USA Rugby's web page dedicated to concussion recognition and management.

Download the IRB Concussion Guidelines for even more information and an outline of the Graduated Return to Play procedure.