University Research Tackles Rugby Head Injuries
29 August, 2012
Cutting edge research on the best way to handle rugby injuries is being carried out at the University of Bath.
Researchers at the Claverton Down campus have been chosen by the Rugby Football Union and Premiership Rugby to evaluate a trial scheme involving a pitch side concussion assessment.
This is designed to give medical teams more time and a better environment in which to assess head injuries during play.
Dr Keith Stokes, Dr Grant Trewartha and PhD student Matt Cross from the university’s Department for Health will evaluate the trial, which ran through the last season and which saw players with suspected concussion immediately taken off the pitch and replaced for five minutes while their injuries are assessed.
Dr Simon Kemp, head of sports medicine at the RFU, said: “The independent evaluation will allow us to assess the effectiveness of the trial and the sensitivity and specificity of the assessment tool.
“The standardised evaluation process should also ensure consistent delivery of post-game concussion management and treatment.”
Dr Stokes added: “We are uniquely positioned to carry out this trial because of our broader work on rugby injuries and player welfare.”
At the beginning of the 2011/12 season, the university was chosen by the RFU and Premiership Rugby to deliver the next phase of the English Professional Rugby Injury Surveillance Project.
“This project is the largest study of its kind in world rugby and is a major component to the development and evaluation of ongoing player welfare initiatives.”
Dr Stokes and Dr Trewartha are also look at injuries in women’s rugby, community rugby and youth rugby.
The same group from the Department for Health are also working on the second phase of the Biomechanics of the Rugby Scrum project, a three-year player welfare study funded by the International Rugby Board. This looks at whether scrums can be made safer in the future.
The current round of testing involves visiting participating teams from all over the UK and further afield to perform analyses of live scrummaging trials to assess the physical demands being placed on the players involved in the scrum and to investigate whether these demands can be modified through changes to the scrum engagement processes.