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Rugby stars agree to mass study of concussion

  • Former England internationals will be part of the next phase of a study examining the long-terms effects of playing rugby on brain health
  • In conjunction with academics from a number of leading universities and colleges, the RFU is leading the campaign
  • England captain Dylan Hartley recently revealed that he feared his career in the sport would be brought to an end by a third concussion
More than 100 former England rugby union players are to take part in an RFU study to measure the long-term impact of concussion on brain health.

The 115 former internationals, all aged over 50, have agreed to take part in the research along with 90 former Oxford and Cambridge Blues from a similar age group. About half of the 205 former players in the study have reported having suffered concussion during their playing days.

England captain Dylan Hartley admitted last week that another concussion could end his career.

The hooker was knocked unconscious during the RBS 6 Nations match against France on March 19, where England sealed the Grand Slam, and only returned to action with his club Northampton on May 7.

”If I got another lay-off now, I’d be worried,” he said. “I’d probably start looking at other careers or maybe a long lay-off. Maybe I’ll look at my tackling technique too!” Hartley said.



Simon Kemp, the RFU’s chief medical officer, said: “The RFU has worked extremely hard to increase the education of those involved in the game about concussion and to improve the management of the risk of the injury based on the evidence available.

“The next step for us a union and as a sport is progress beyond delivering ‘recognise, remove, recover and return’ and try to understand more about the possible longer-term effects on the health of the brain.

“We welcome the support from the Drake Foundation, the academic institutions involved in the project and the former players who will take part in the study.”



Former England International Rob Andrew who took part in the first phase of the research, added: “As a former professional rugby player I believe it is really important that we all understand the potential long-term health outcomes from playing the sport at a high level.

“This study will provide an insight into the health of former players, which can only be a good thing in terms of players being more informed, but also helping the sport look at how to manage both the short and long-term risks associated with injury.”

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