All 500 players, coaches and match officials at the IRB Junior World Championship 2014 in New Zealand have been given concussion education as the Rugby community is told to #RecogniseAndRemove.
Education is at the centre of the IRB's commitment to protect players at all levels of the Game and, for the Junior class of 2014, the programme is in addition to mandatory anti-doping and integrity education undertaken by the world’s top Under 20 players.
IRB Chief Executive Brett Gosper said: "The players at the IRB Junior World Championship are the future stars of the Game on and off the field and they will become role models to millions of players and fans around the world.
"Education underpins our mission to change culture and the IRB's message to Rugby players at all levels is simple - concussion is serious and players, coaches, medics and parents have a duty to recognise the symptoms of concussion and permanently remove any player displaying them. If in doubt, sit them out.
“We are delighted by the overwhelmingly enthusiastic response and pleased that so many players will become champions of the #RecogniseAndRemove message."
England Under 20 head coach Nick Walshe added: "Having the correct protocols in place is crucial – the training we had was incredibly useful for our guys, as it demonstrates that their welfare is paramount."
Junior Springboks' coach Dawie Theron said: "Player welfare is vital and the protocol training our boys have received is not only important in respect of their awareness but also hugely beneficial for them and the team."
Education sits at the top of the IRB's and its Unions' commitment to changing culture when it comes to taking concussion seriously at all levels of the Game. The JWC education supplements education programmes delivered by individual Unions on an on-going basis.
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Research-based advances in on-field assessment of head injuries and graduated return to play protocols are benefiting the elite game, while at community level promotion of correct playing techniques and longer rest periods for youths is also supporting players. All of this is underpinned by research and guidance by a panel of field-leading independent experts.
Rugby Concussion Education Programme: #RecogniseandRemove
• Concussion education module for Union match day medical staff
• Concussion education delivered to 119 Unions at IRB General Assembly
• Mandatory concussion education for IRB match officials
• Mandatory concussion education components within the IRB Rugby Ready programme (118,000 completions)
• Mandatory education at IRB Junior World Championship and IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy
• More than 4,800 completions of the concussion specific modules available at www.irbplayerwelfare.com/concussion
• 427 completions of the IRB Match Day Medical Staff course with a specific Pitch-side Suspected Concussion Assessment (PSCA) module
• Education campaign visible to more than two million Facebook and Twitter followers
• Ongoing work to support four key groups of stakeholders:
i) General public
ii) General practitioners
iii) Health care professionals working with Rugby teams
iv) Union chief medical officers