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Health issues blur schools rugby games success

It has been three weeks of schools rugby so far, with lots of enjoyment, but last weekend provided a wake up call after there were three health cases in the games between Light Academy and Makerere College School which needed medical attention but there was next to none.

Makerere College was on the sad end of these incidents as they had Kyobe Daniel go down in the U17 victory against Light Academy and he appeared to be out and concussed, after a heavy collision with Light Academy players. The assistant referee and on-site team doctor did a lot in resuscitating him before a car was organised to take him to a nearby health center. The game had to pause for about 15 minutes and inadvertently caused a delay in the U19 game starting. The U19 game was scheduled to start at 3:30pm as the officials waited for a mobilized/make-shift ambulance. In the U19 game, Makerere College again lost Katongole Adrian who appeared to have blacked out after a tackle.

On site doctor and the assistant referee attend to MACOS’s Kyobe Daniel during the U17 game between Light Academy and Makerere College School

“It is very sad that we are even at games of rugby and there is no ambulance on site. The first concern even before a whistle is blown should be players health,” said a dejected Richard Lumu, Makerere College School head coach.

According to BBC, A major study of rugby union players points to a potential link between frequent concussion and brain function, the project’s lead researcher said. The research, funded by World Rugby over 29 months, took in 485 men and compared amateur and professional players with matched control groups.

World Rugby said it was “difficult” to draw robust conclusions, adding “further research was required”. But Professor Patria Hume said it was “irresponsible” to ignore the link.

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Hume, who said that “94% of elite level rugby players experienced one or more concussions”, added that the study showed a statistically significant link between repeated concussion and brain damage.

She said: “We’ve got to go through that scientific process, but what I’m saying is that, as a scientist, it’s irresponsible for people to say there are no long-term brain health issues.

“Because all indications so far from the analysis we have done indicates that there possibly are for the rugby players and for people who have been concussed more than four times.”

With such severity in repercussions, it is supposed to be mandatory to have on-site ambulance services to deal with even what may appear as minuscule injury.


Extracted from Rugby World:

What is HIA? Rugby’s Head Injury Assessment explained

Throughout the Rugby Championship and the upcoming season, players will be sent from the field for what is known as a Head Injury Assessment, or HIA. This is a series of checks used in elite rugby (at both professional and Test level) to determine whether or not an athlete is suffering from concussion and may or may not return to the field of play.

So how does the HIA system work? Here are the key points:

  • When there is a suspected incident of head impact by a player or players, this should be identified by match officials on the field, team doctors or independent match-day doctors who have access to video replays. If the independent match-day doctor decides an incident may have occurred, the player(s) involved must be removed, either permanently or for further assessment.
  • Players displaying obvious on-pitch signs of concussion must be immediately and permanently removed from play, without further assessment.
  • When not showing clear on-pitch symptoms or signs, players must undergo an off-field assessment consisting of a clinical evaluation by an attending doctor (the team doctor does this or they can delegate to the match-day doctor) who is aided by screening tools and video reviews. Players cannot return before ten minutes for assessment has elapsed. Players taken off for HIA can be replaced, and any replacement can take a kick.
  • After the match every player entered into the HIA protocol must undergo another evaluation within three hours. This is done using a check of symptoms, memory assessment and balance evaluation – compared with previous player baselines.
  • At 36-48 hours post-head impact event, the player(s) will be assessed again, going through a symptoms check-list, studying a player’s balance and using a cognitive assessment tool like CogSport or Impact.
  • Each union and/or competition must appoint trained HIA review processor(s) to look over the process used in every head injury event.
  • There will be a post-game video review process. Depending on the findings, the reviewer may recommend further education and training for the club or team medical personnel or recommend that the process moves to HIA review.
  • The HIA review group will formally investigate the incident and make recommendations for: further education and training for the club or team medics; a request to World Rugby’s HIA working group to consider a change to the process, education and/or training; or a referral to the appropriate disciplinary group to consider disciplinary action in line with competition rules.
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