Codes and Policies
The most important consideration in the management of concussion or a potential concussion is the welfare and safety of the player.
It is a requirement that all players who suffer a concussion seek the highest level of medical care reasonably available and follow Rugby Australia’s return to play policy to ensure concussion is managed appropriately.
A concussion is a brain injury and must be taken seriously. All players with potential head injuries or concussion must be removed from the field of play immediately.
A player suspected of having suffered a concussion will be shown a blue card by the match referee and will take no further part in the match.
Blue Card Introduction
In 2018 Rugby Australia’s National Safety Committee approved the recommendation for mandatory use of Blue Cards in all club, school and domestic representative rugby beginning in matches from 1st March 2018.
In matches of U13 and older, when a player leaves the field due to signs and symptoms of concussion or suspected concussion, the referee will show the player a Blue Card. This card is a visual cue for team support staff, it must be recorded by team officials, and triggers an off-field medical process to begin.
This off-field process (which applies to all rugby, not just U13s and older) is detailed in Rugby Australia’s Concussion Management Procedure.
Rugby Australia has included the following Law change ‘a tactically replaced player may return to play to replace a player who has been shown a Blue Card.’
Education & Training
Rugby Australia’s Concussion Procedure reflects best practice for the management of concussion for rugby at the community levels of the game in Australia.
To assist in the management of concussion it is recommended that all players have a baseline measurement prior to participating in rugby. These tools should be used in consultation with a medical practitioner - Sports Concussion Assessment Tool (SCAT5) and Child SCAT5.
The Rugby Australia Concussion Management Procedure outlines the steps required following a concussion or suspected concussion to ensure they are managed appropriately. Additional information can be found here:
- Rugby Australia Concussion Management procedure (table)
- Rugby Australia Concussion Management Medical Doctor Information
- Concussion Management Flow Chart
The management of concussion involves the following 8 steps; each step must be followed and completed before moving to the next step. These can be thought of as two stages:
Stage 1. On The Day Of The Injury
RECOGNISE - REMOVE - RECORD - REFER
If a player has signs or symptoms of a potential head injury or concussion no person (e.g. physio, coach, trainer, or doctor) can over-ride the requirement of a player to remain off the field.
The following documents must be provided to a player, or parent/guardian, on the day of the injury:
Stage 2. On The Days Following The Injury
REST - RECOVER - RECORD - RETURN
For any player is diagnosed as having concussion the stepwise graduated return to play (GRTP) process must be followed. The referral & return form must be completed.
If this isn’t completed the player will be excluded indefinitely from full contact training and match play.
At all times, players, parents, team officials, match officials and medical staff need to act in the best interest of player safety and welfare by;
- Taking responsibility for the recognition, removal and referral of players to a medical doctor (more information can be found in the Concussion Recognition Tool CRT5)
- Ensuring concussion is appropriately managed as per Rugby Australia’s Concussion Procedure
Concussion Management Checklist for players, teams and competition managers can be found at:
- Rugby Australia Concussion Management checklist – Player
- Rugby Australia Concussion Management checklist – Club/Team Manager
- Rugby Australia Concussion Management checklist – Competition Manager
Additional information on the management of concussion can be found at: