Players showing signs of concussion will be shown blue card and sent off
Initiative to be trialled in ACT and Newcastle competitions from Saturday
Australia have followed neighbours New Zealand by introducing a blue card, which will be used by referees to prevent players from staying on the pitch after being concussed.
Competitions in the ACT and Newcastle will serve as guinea pigs for the initiative, starting this weekend, while New Zealand’s trial will take in all senior games in the 14 largest provincial unions.
The blue card can be issued when a referee suspects a player has suffered a concussion. It means they must immediately stand down for at least three weeks, and obtain medical clearance to return to play.
The team will be sanctioned should they play a player who has not presented medical certification confirming to return to play.
Adults will not be able resume any training for 12 days, while players under 18 face a 19-day stand down period, the ARU said on Thursday. In New Zealand, the stand down period is a minimum of three weeks.
All players also require medical clearance to return.
“The blue card trial follows over two years of extensive research on concussion and concussion management from World Rugby down through each nation,” ARU Chief Medical Officer Warren McDonald said in a statement.
“The blue card is a visual cue that a player has a suspected concussion and they will be removed from the field of play and won’t be coming back that day.
“It’s about recognising and removing a player that is suffering the effects of a head knock.”