Concussion in rugby is in the news again this week as Johnny Sexton will have to sit out the first of Ireland’s 6 Nations games as he is obliged to follow the I.R.B. return to play guidelines. I have decided to write about this as I completed my dissertation on concussion specifically looking at amateur Irish rugby players. My research investigated the prevalence and understanding of concussion among Irish amateur rugby players.

I distributed a questionnaire among amateur teams throughout Leinster reaching a sample size of 114 players. I found that of the players that filled in the questionnaire, 32% of them had suffered a concussion during their career. I documented 85 concussions from the 114 players surveyed, with players who received one concussion almost twice as likely to receive another one. I found that 92% of concussions happened during a game with almost half of the players losing consciousness. Headaches and dizziness were the two most common symptoms of a concussion.

In relation to the players understanding of concussion, 75% understood that it was a danger to their welfare however over half of the players surveyed admitted that they would risk playing in a big game even if they had a concussion. 44% of players had never received any information regarding concussion and the correct return to play protocols. Of the players that had received information regarding concussion only 11% received the information from the I.R.F.U. – the sport’s governing body.

Since the publication of my research in 2012, the I.R.B. have introduced stringent return to play guidelines with players having to rest from games for up to 3 weeks following a diagnosed concussion. These steps are definitely a move in the right direction for the safety of professional and amateur players throughout the rugby world.

If you are unsure that you have suffered a concussion during sporting or everyday activities, it is prudent that you receive a diagnosis swiftly. A physiotherapist can diagnose concussions and assess the damage and then in turn guide you to returning to play safely.

With clinics across Dublin’s north and south regions, appointments available until 8:00p.m. and opening on Saturdays; PhysioCare is there for you should you need any help in relation to a concussion or any physiotherapy needs. Please call us on 015310001 to book an appointment with one of our Chartered Physiotherapists or Personal Trainers.


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