English rugby’s Professional Game Board (PGB) yesterday (13 January) announced plans to provide all Rugby Union players and coaches with mandatory concussion training ahead of the new season. The PGB, made up of representatives of the Rugby Football Union (RFU), Premiership Rugby (PRL) and the Rugby Players’ Association (RPA) will introduce the online module as a way of safeguarding their players.
This decision comes following research from 2012 in the United States, which found a higher incidence of early onset dementia in former National Football League (NFL) veterans.The PGB has also promised to support independent research into the long-term consequences of multiple concussions on recently-retired rugby players in England.
Alzheimer’s Society comment:
‘Evidence suggests that head injuries can increase a person’s risk of dementia, so it’s good to see both rugby players and their coaches are now being made aware of the potential seriousness of concussion.
‘Previous studies indicate that it’s the inflammation which occurs following head injury that may encourage the formation of the plaques and tangles which are hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s Society is currently funding a study into the possible link between brain injury, inflammation and dementia and it’s promising to see rugby authorities also plan to support and understand research in this area.‘