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Tuesday Mar 30, 2021

Wayne Barnes provides clarity on the always heavily debated Head Contact Process

The World Rugby Player Welfare and Laws Symposium 2021 has kicked off with a renewed commitment to foster a safer and more accessible game for future generations. A few videos have been released, including these below that explain exactly how referees and officials deal with head contact in the sport. 

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There have been a huge amount of controversial decisions, and suspensions, of late, many of which have been to do with what has been deemed as illegal contact with the head.

With a significant amount of former players suffering from early onset dementia and possible CTE, the sports governing body are doing all they can to make rugby safer and avoid these very serious implications for players down the line, and indeed, for themselves.

“This symposium is an essential part of our work to make the game safer,” said Chief Executive Alan Gilpin from the symposium.

“Since its inception, the aim of this group has been to bring together the rugby family and outside experts to discuss, debate and ultimately pursue strategies that can advance physical and mental welfare, and most importantly, strategies that will reduce the risk of injury at all levels.

“If we are to successfully deliver on this mission, we need to hear all voices within the debate – everyone in the family has a say and a role. And we will be listening.”

In the video below referee Wayne Barnes explains how head contact is ruled, detailing the exact process that officials take.

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“Medical science and knowledge is ever-evolving,” continued Gilpin.

“Rugby will continue to evolve with it to further reduce the risk of injury, but also to further support players with mental wellbeing issues during and after their careers. We will consider the latest research, examine the latest technological developments that can aid concussion identification and management, and discuss how the rugby family can play a role in long-term health.

“Through the knowledge, expertise, dedication and passion in this virtual forum – medics, scientists, researchers, players, coaches, referees and laws experts – I am excited about the momentum that we can continue to build in the priority area of player welfare.”

Joe Schmidt explains how the current laws and systems governing head contact came to be.

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