The RFU welcomes the launch of the Government’s UK Concussion Guidelines for Grassroots Sport; guidelines the RFU has been involved in developing.
The guidelines deliver on a government commitment to establish a single set of shared, UK-wide concussion guidelines for the immediate management of concussion followed by the gradual return to activity (education/work) and, ultimately, sport. For the first time, the guidelines provide a consistent approach across all sports, and all home nations, informed by the best available evidence.
The RFU, whose Medical Services Director Dr Simon Kemp is a member of the expert writing group, has been actively involved in the development of the new guidance working alongside other leading UK and international experts in sport-related concussion. As a Union, we have played an instrumental role in establishing concussion surveillance, assessment and education and supporting law changes to ensure proactive management of player welfare over many years and were delighted to input our knowledge and experience to the process.
Providing uniform, evidence-based, guidance across grassroots sports, the education sector and in NHS settings is a great step forward and we are delighted to have contributed to the work on this, led by the Government.
Our guidance to the community adult and age-group game will change to reflect the new UK-wide guidance. It will take time for all the RFU resources and education modules to be updated and we will communicate to the game when these are available. It is our aim to have everything updated ahead of the 2023-24 season.
It is important to note that the differences between our current and new guidance are relatively minor and include a recommendation that all those suspected of sustaining a concussion be assessed by an appropriate health care professional or call 111 within 24hrs of the injury, updated graduated return to activity and sport guidance with an emphasis on an early progressive return to activity and a recommendation see an appropriate healthcare professional if symptoms persist after 28 days. The earliest an individual should return to competition is 21 days and only then if they have been symptom free for the preceding 14 days.
Pitch side first aiders, players, coaches, match officials and volunteers will be familiar with the existing guidance and should continue to use this while we familiarise the game with the specific changes in the new guidance. Please continue to use the RFU HEADCASE concussion awareness and education resources.
Further communication from the RFU will follow when updated guidance and education to align with the new UK Concussion Guidelines for Grassroots Sport.