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Education Top Priority For Player Welfare

Education Top Priority For Player Welfare

Strategies in injury prevention and education were the central themes of the 2010 IRB Medical Conference in London with delegates identifying a second suite of key medical focus areas to drive player welfare best-practice.

Under the central theme of ‘Putting Players First’, this week’s three-day IRB Medical Conference set out to tackle player welfare issues facing rugby union at both the elite and community level.

The forum also provided leading physicians from 25 Unions, along with independent specialists, playing and refereeing experts, with the opportunity to consider the latest research and medical opinion on injury prevention.

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With expert presentations and workshops triggering discussions, the delegates outlined major focus areas relating to the important issue of injury prevention for the IRB to address through its medical strategies over the next 12 months.

These recommendations follow the implementation of a suite of player welfare policies by the IRB as a result of the inaugural IRB Medical Conference in 2009.


Education is key: IRB Rugby Ready to be further developed and used as the global vehicle for global best practice techniques for playing, coaching, officiating and administrating at all levels of the game, with increased focus on correct tackling techniques.

Concussion education: Concussion risk, diagnosis, management and return to play education a priority for all levels of the global game.

Matchday medical support: Global best practice guidelines should be developed for elite and community rugby.

Longitudinal studies required: Definitive global study required to assess the long-term injury profile and post-rugby career issues for elite players.

Click here to read all the key outcomes from this week’s IRB Medical Conference.

IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “The welfare of players at all levels of the game is of critical importance to the IRB and all our 117 Member Unions. Collectively, a lot has already been achieved.

“Policies devised by the specialist working groups established following the inaugural Medical Conference in 2009 are already benefiting the game.

“We now have global policies in key areas, including global injury reporting, training and education best practice, cardiac screening, spinal injury reporting and we are close to a revised global policy for concussion management.

“Identification of these further focus areas reflects the continued commitment within the global rugby family to ‘Putting Players First’.

“These conference outcomes will drive policy making and the continued dissemination of best practice information to those playing, coaching and officiating the game from grassroots to the elite level.”

He added: “We must always seek to ensure the highest possible standards and collectively we are committed to driving forward best-practice medical and player welfare strategies to reduce the risk of injury.

“I would like to thank the delegates for their full and honest contribution over the past three days.”

Keynote speakers included former Ireland team doctor Gary O’Driscoll, who now works for Arsenal FC, Scotland and British & Irish Lions doctor James Robson, Professor Bill McKenna from UCL Partners and Risk Management specialist Dr Colin Fuller.

Related Links –

IRFU Medical Department

IRB Player Welfare Website

IRB Medical Conference Puts Players First