Australia Rugby Union to extend blue cards for concussion

Sydney (AFP) –


Australia will extend the use of blue cards issued to players suffering from signs of concussion to senior competitions after a successful trial, officials said on Monday.

The system was tried out at country clubs in the Australian Capital Territory and Newcastle this year, requiring those showing signs of concussion to leave the field if given a blue card.

They then need to pass a rigorous set of medical guidelines including time on the sidelines.

The Australian Rugby Union's head of community rugby services Lachlan Clark said it will be rolled out nationally next year from juniors up to the National Rugby Championship -- the highest tier of competition below Super Rugby.

"Country rugby clubs have paved the way to make the game safer for everyone and soon our elite Super Rugby athletes will be following this protocol and setting the standards worldwide," he said.

"Australian rugby will also assist in educating coaches, first aid personnel and match officials as well as provide a competition management system which logs all concussion cases."

A date for its introduction internationally to Super Rugby is yet to be confirmed, but officials said they were aiming for 2019.

The trial, announced in March, followed renewed focus on concussion in the sport after Wallaby fly-half Bernard Foley was sidelined by an head knock during a match in February that saw him miss the first four rounds of the Super rugby season.