Professional rugby in England welcomed the news that all professional players, coaches and referees have completed the new mandatory online concussion education module within the required two month window.
A joint initiative between Premiership Rugby, the Rugby Football Union (RFU) and the Rugby Players Association (RPA) produced a world-first for the game with an on-line education module to help explain what concussion is, what it feels like and how to recognise it.
The training described the potential short, medium and long-term consequences of the injury and the management protocols that need to be followed. The module also highlighted the need for cultural change among all groups involved in the professional game. The interactive module took on average 25 minutes to complete and key knowledge was tested with questions throughout.
The 1,468 people who completed the module included all male registered Premiership Rugby and Championship players over 18, contracted England Sevens players (which covers all of the Elite Performance Senior Squad, Saxons and U20 players) and all Premiership, Championship and England representative team coaches. In the women’s game, England representative players over the age of 18 (which also covered England U20, Elite Performance Squad and Sevens players) were asked to also complete the course. All Premiership and Championship referees also completed the module.
Simon Kemp, Chief Medical Officer, RFU said: "The scope of this concussion education initiative is unique within professional rugby to date. Achieving 100% compliance in completing an online module in a group of this size, spread over two professional leagues, England representative teams and across three professional groups is a remarkable achievement and reflects the seriousness with which the professional game in England approaches this important issue."
Corin Palmer, Head of Rugby Operations at Premiership Rugby said "When we began devising this ground-breaking programme we had two priorities – to change culture and to set new world-class standards in tackling concussion. We have achieved both. The 100% completion rate and feedback received, is testimony to the game-wide acknowledgement that concussion is a serious injury where the education, diagnosis and treatment of it is the number one player welfare priority.
"Despite being proud of the fact that we lead the way in having educated all stakeholders in the Professional Game; players, rugby management and referees within the stipulated time, we will not rest on our laurels and continue to review and realign what we are doing as necessary, in a commitment to keep raising the concussion bar."
Richard Bryan, RPA Rugby Director, added: "From the players’ perspective, this pioneering module had the dual purpose of furthering education and progressing cultural change on the issue of concussion throughout professional and elite rugby union in England, which represents the players’ leading welfare concern. This module has achieved that and will act as a catalyst for further education initiatives on the subject, ensuring that player welfare remains at the top of the agenda amongst all rugby stakeholders."