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The mandatory World Rugby video top teams must now watch

By Ian Cameron
Professor Craig Ritchie

World Rugby have rolled out a video that all teams partaking in competitions using HIA protocols must now watch.

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The video is fronted by former Wallabies captain George Gregan and former England player Kat Merchant and has been produced in partnership with International Rugby Players (IRP) and Professor Craig Ritchie from Brain Health Scotland and the University of Edinburgh.

The new ‘Activate’ information video is aimed at getting current players to better look after their health during their career, with an emphasis on advice around the importance of addressing concussion symptoms and “building good lifestyle habits to help maintain brain health in both male and female players”.

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The video encourages players to be honest with themselves, listen to medics, to look after their teammates and emphasizes that concussions are ‘brain injuries’ and must be taken seriously.

The video also addresses the ongoing public debate around links between head injuries in rugby and degenerative brain diseases later in life. Over 150 former rugby players are part of an ongoing lawsuit against the RFU, WRU and World Rugby concerning allegations against the unions regarding concussions. Separate cases have been taken in Scotland and Ireland.

Prof Ritchie, who talks to the nature of risk in the game says: “Rugby is a physical, collision sport, which, like other contact sports, carries a risk of injury, including head injury and concussion.

“There is some evidence to support an association between repetitive head injury in contact sport and an increase in the risk of neurodegenerative disease. The individual risk is difficult to quantify and further investigation is required to establish which athletes may be most at risk and what level of head impact exposure, number and size, might risk be increased.”

The professor goes on to specify that is why rugby takes an individualised approach to player care and rehabilitation. The video also specified that lifestyle factors have also been shown to be linked with an increased risk of developing degenerative diseases such as CTE. Alcohol, depression, obesity and hearing loss are all linked with an increase in degenerative brain diseases.

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