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Community Rugby League memorandum

Thursday, May 13 2021

The QRL Board have recently approved the National Guidelines for the Management of Concussion across all levels of Community Rugby League. 

Whilst there has been some focus recently on evolving diagnostic tools such as ophthalmic tracking, the guidelines make it very clear that all post-concussion return to play decisions must be undertaken with the input of a medical professional.  Eye scan tools may be a useful tool to add objective information to the concussion assessment (both in diagnosis and / or monitoring return to play).  However, further scientific research is required to assess the potential of such tools and they currently cannot be used in isolation to inform return to play decisions. 

The Guidelines have been developed based on the Consensus Statement produced from the 5th International Conference on Concussion in Sport to ensure that First Responders, Medical Practitioners, Coaches and Parents have an awareness on how to appropriately manage concussion in Rugby League. 

In providing approval the QRL sought advice from the QRL Chief Medical Officer to ensure that the safety of all Community Rugby League participants remains the priority.  This advice included the challenges and limitations in assessing recovery, including a lack of baseline testing and a medical doctor to oversee each stage of the graded return to football following concussion in Community Rugby League.  Therefore, a more conservative approach has been adopted regarding return to play across Community Rugby League.

Under the guidelines, there is a clear process to be followed for players who have suffered a concussion to return to play, which includes a period of rest, symptom-limited activity, gradual increase in physical activity and a medical clearance prior to full-contact training. The guidelines also outline the process for clubs and players to follow when someone is suspected of having suffered a concussion.