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Players who leave the field for a head injury assessment (HIA) will be required to remain off the pitch for at least 10 minutes under a new amendment announced by World Rugby on Thursday.

The HIA protocol was introduced in 2012 and according to the game’s governing body has led to a significant increase in accurate concussion diagnosis during games.

However, under the existing rule there was no minimum time a player was required to sit out a match, with the average HIA being completed in around seven minutes.

According to a statement released by World Rugby the “introduction of a fixed time will further promote a calm, clinical environment for assessment without rush or risk of screening time falling well under the average completion time.”

The amendment will come into effect globally from Aug. 26 although it will be applied in the Rugby Championship, which kicks off this weekend.

World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said: “Player welfare continues to be our priority at all levels of decision-making and there is no doubt that the HIA process, which operates in elite rugby only has had an overwhelmingly positive impact on the level of care for elite rugby players.

“This evidence-based enhancement to the management of players who are required to undertake an off-field screen as part of the HIA 1 process, is a positive move for players, medics and the game as a whole and comes with the full support of our unions.

“We also continue to focus on education at community level where ‘recognise and remove’ is the simple but crucial message when it comes to head impacts.”


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