Pro12 to introduce controversial concussion test

THE RaboDirect Pro12 league will next month introduce the controversial concussion assessment that has been criticised across the globe.

The test will be introduced to the Pro12 following a meeting of the Celtic Rugby Board. Picture: SNS
The test will be introduced to the Pro12 following a meeting of the Celtic Rugby Board. Picture: SNS

The IRB has been running a trial of the Pitchside Suspected Concussion Assessment (PSCA) through the past year, despite it leading to the resignation of Dr Barry O’Driscoll, the uncle of Brian O’Driscoll, from the IRB in protest at its conception.

The test is viewed by the IRB as a method of improving the assessment of potential concussion in rugby matches by insisting on the removal of the player from the field of play to a designated quiet room or area in the stand. So instead of a medic having to make a decision inside a minute amid the maelstrom of a match he or she can run through a series of tests out of harm’s way.

The main criticism of it is that this is still not a satisfactory way to test for concussion – which The Scotsman has highlighted with its ongoing campaign – is an extremely inexact science, and that it can still lead to players with concussion passing tests and returning to the action.

The Celtic Rugby Board, which includes representatives from Scotland, Ireland and Wales, confirmed that at its meeting on 16 January 2014, approval was given for the 12 clubs participating in the RaboDirect Pro12 to implement the IRB’s Pitchside Suspected Concussion Assessment (PSCA) trial at all future matches in the RaboDirect Pro12 this season.


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This will mean that Scottish teams Glasgow and Edinburgh will now have to use the test, however, the final decision on whether any player returns to the field will still remain with the medic in charge of the relevant team.

The advice also remains clear for all levels of sport – if in any doubt that the player has suffered even minor concussion he, or she, must be removed and subject to concussion testing over the following days.