The IRFU, with the support of the provincial branch Schools Committees, has delivered concussion management and education sessions to all coaches involved in Schools Cup competitions. The seminars, which were mandatory for schools competing in Cup competitions, were delivered by the IRFU’s Medical Department in conjunction with the Union’s Referees Department.
The focus of the seminars was Identifying & Managing Concussion from a coaching perspective and how referees will enforce existing laws to penalise dangerous play.
Concussion education is a mandatory element of the IRFU’s SAFE Rugby coaching course and in August of this year the IRFU’s Refereeing department issued guidelines on how dangerous play would be refereed in the domestic game.
The seminars were delivered by Shane Mooney, the IRFU’s SAFE RUGBY coordinator, and he was supported in each province by representatives from the Referees Department including Sean Gallagher (Connacht), David Wilkinson & Richard Kerr (Ulster), David O’Brien (Leinster) and Peter Fitzgibbon (Munster).
There were two seminars in Connacht (Loughrea RFC & Ballina RFC), two in Ulster (Royal School Dungannon & Kingspan Stadium), two in Leinster (Newbridge College & Leinster Rugby HQ) and one in Munster (Munster Rugby, UL)
IRFU Medical Director, Rod McLoughlin, commented, “These seminars are a proactive initiative aimed at supporting schools coaches with useful information ahead of their Schools competitions.
If a concussion is suspected the player must be removed. Appropriate management of any concussive injuries is also vitally important as are the return to play guidelines which stipulate a mandatory 23 days out of the game for players under 20 years of age.”
David McHugh, IRFU Referee Performance Manager, said, “Back in August before the season kicked off we released a series of RefSMART videos which outlined the measures that referees would be taking to address dangerous tackle technique, foul play and the targeting of prone players.
These measures have been successfully implemented to date and will continue to be a focus across the schools competitions.”
For more information on RefSMART visit: www.irishrugby.ie/RugbySmart/Refsmart
For more information on SAFE RUGBY visit: https://www.irishrugby.ie/playingthegame/safe_rugby
For more information on IRFU Concussion Protocols visit: https://www.irishrugby.ie/concussion