How it Works
BLUE CARD INITIATIVE – (Applies to ALL Adults Rugby in Otago)
Grades included: Premier 1, Premier 2, Senior, Womens (Not Colts)
This article serves to inform the Otago community about the new protocols, provide information and answer any questions you may have prior to the season kicking off. Some FAQ’s have been posted below and for more information please see the links provided.
The introduction of the Blue Card Concussion Initiative is the result of a trial conducted by the Northland Rugby Union in 2014. Following this very successful trial New Zealand Rugby has approved the introduction of the initiative in other provinces.
The Blue Card Concussion Initiative is an “On-Field” process introduced to enhance player safety and welfare. It enables the referee to initiate a formal process when a player sustains a head and/or concussion or suspected concussion injury during a match. If the referee believes a player has been concussed, or suspects a player has been concussed, the referee must show a Blue Card to that player, and that player will be required to leave the playing area. This player cannot return and play in that match. Further, the player shown a Blue Card should not return to train and must not return to play in any future match without first meeting the requirements of the return to play protocol.
Q. If a player is blue carded and is subsequently not diagnosed with concussion by a doctor, is the player able to immediately return to play/training? If not, why not?
A. The Community concussion guidelines are applicable to concussion and suspected
concussion. These guidelines do not provide an avenue for reducing the stand-down period. A player who has been blue carded is deemed to have reached the threshold of at least having a suspected concussion.
As there is no gold-standard test that a doctor can do post-match to reliably diagnose or exclude concussion in their rooms, we err on the side of caution. A person with concussion can appear normal at rest (in the doctor’s rooms) but become symptomatic with activity including contact after being ‘cleared’. Therefore, a doctor can only exclude a concussion over time, hence maintaining the value of a stand-down period. We are hopeful that in the future we will be able to reduce this stand-down period to a shorter time but the mechanisms for providing safe care across the country do not allow this at present. Player safety and welfare is paramount.
Q. Must a player issued with a Blue Card undertake two visits to a Doctor to comply with the Graduated Return To Play protocols?
A. It is strongly recommended this practice be adopted. The player should visit a doctor within 24 hours of sustaining the knock to the head and then again to obtain a clearance to return to play. The minimum requirement is for the player to visit a doctor to obtain a medical clearance/certificate to return to play.
Q. Where can I find more information on what to look for when assessing the likelihood of concussion?
A. The Concussion Recognition Tool can be very helpful with this. This is available by clicking here.