ARLC Approves Protocol Change For Athlete Safety
The Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) has given the green light to changes to the NRL’s head injury protocols, including a mandatory 11-day stand-down period following a diagnosed concussion.
The move comes after a thorough review of data and expert advice, and player welfare remains the top priority for the Commission.
The new requirement, which applies to concussions diagnosed during both training and games, will take effect from Round 3, which starts on Thursday 16 March 2023.
In exceptional circumstances, clubs will have the ability to apply for exemption to the 11-day stand-down period, through a review by an independent neurological expert appointed by the NRL, where the application will only be allowable where the following set criteria are met:
- Category 1 signs/symptoms are not observed.
- The player is asymptomatic the day following the concussion.
- Cognitive testing has returned to normal.
- The player has suffered fewer than five previous career concussions.
- The player has no previously diagnosed concussions within the previous three months.
- The player has no history of a previous concussion with prolonged recovery.
The ARLC has pledged to continue procuring the latest scientific information from experts in the field and will monitor the latest technologies, such as blood and saliva testing, to diagnose concussions.
Commenting on the protocol changes, ARLC chairman, Peter V’Landys AM, said: “There is no greater priority for us than player safety. It’s front and centre of everything we do.”
“Our current head injury protocols are exceptionally strong.
“Following a review of the data and the expert advice we have received, the Commission have enhanced these protocols even further by providing a mandatory 11 day stand down period following a diagnosed concussion,” he said.
The Commission will also implement programs like tackle technique education and tools to further prevent injuries and ensure that player welfare is always the number one priority.