Concussed players must be kept off the field

It has always been a major talking point in rugby league, as to whether or not players that have been concussed, should be allowed to return onto the field.

Now, this will not be the case, as the National Rugby League (NRL), is set to crack down on concussions, and give out warnings, as well as conduct investigations and hand out fines, to any club who allows a concussed player back onto the field.

In a big step forward for the development of the NRL, and the well-being of all the players, an official guideline on all incidents relating to head-trauma has been included in the NRL’s laws for the 2012 season.

With only 21 days remaining until the start of the NRL season, all players will be refused entry back onto the field, if they are deemed to have suffered a severe head-knock by club doctors.

Ron Muratore, the NRL’s Chief Medical Officer, said that if a club breaches these new concussion rules, they are subject to an investigation, conducted by himself as well as an independent neurologist.

“These guidelines are enforceable and if clubs don’t follow the guidelines they will be sanctioned,” Muratore said.

“From this season, the (NRL) medical officer’s handbook will be part of the rules, so it won’t just be a guideline on concussion, clubs will have to abide by the rules.

“We had the annual meeting with (club) doctors just before Christmas and everyone is on the same page. They understand the new rule coming in and they are happy with it.

“From research that has come out of the United States, repeated concussions can be associated with problems later in life such as depression, dementia and even suicide.

“We have to educate a whole generation of players and coaches who up until now believe head injuries are trivial, that you are a wuss if you don’t want to go back on.”

Whilst the amount for fines relating to concussion are yet to be determined, Muratore believes that teams will not attempt to flout this new rule, and send their concussed players back onto the field.

“There is always that temptation to send a player back on but the doctor’s responsibility is to the player and I have no doubt the clubs will look after the players,” he said.

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