One of the leading welfare-focused forums in sport, the Symposium highlighted a number of important developments including:
- Data demonstrating how an individualised approach is extending average return to play timeframes.
- The recipients of over £500,000 in research grants aimed at promoting player welfare, particularly within the women’s game over the next year
- The Symposium also reviewed progress from World Rugby’s global law trials such as the 50:22, goal line dropout and scrum brake foot, aimed at promoting player welfare outcomes.
- Plans for welfare driven research at Rugby World Cup 2021 playing in 2022
Elsewhere, the Symposium revealed preliminary data from the ground-breaking ORCHID study of head impacts in community rugby being run by New Zealand’s University of Otago. Early analysis of impacts measured from the PREVENT integrated mouthguard technology, are seen on a spectrum very similar to other contact sports measured with the same technology. Full findings will be peer reviewed and are expected to be published in mid-2022, providing another important resource for World Rugby as it continues to evolve and enhance welfare standards across the sport.
There was also an update on Ulster University’s mouthguard-led study of head impacts in the elite game. The study, involving teams including Leinster, Northampton Saints and England’s Red Roses, is currently prioritising thorough technical analysis of initial impacts from tackles, rucks and mauls, but will also seek to explore how mouthguard data could be applied to further enhancing the HIA process. Both this work and that of the University of Otago will provide further important resources for World Rugby as it continues to evolve welfare standards across the sport.
The full list of sessions published online today can be found at world.rugby:
- The state of the game
- Medical update – including GRTP and ORCHID
- Community game
- The women’s game
Underscoring World Rugby’s unwavering commitment to player welfare and safety, the annual Symposium is a key platform for discussing and reviewing the latest science and research and determining player-welfare actions for the global governing body to pursue when shaping the game and its laws across all 127 member unions.
Reflecting on this year’s event, World Rugby Chief Medical Officer Dr Eanna Falvey said: “In its fourth year, the Symposium was a fantastic success, enabling us to share a lot of new information, data and advances with the global rugby family that, ultimately, will help us better protect and support players at every level. Today’s wider publication of that engagement further demonstrates our commitment to transparency and open exchange with all invested in the game as we seek to make rugby the most progressive sport in the world for player welfare.”
World Rugby Chief Executive Alan Gilpin added: “This event is a major statement of World Rugby’s unrelenting focus on player welfare. We’re continuing to learn much from new independent research, science and technology but we won’t stop there. As studies such as ORCHID are published later this year, it is imperative for World Rugby to consider their findings, assess how the game might need to adapt and then decisively deliver that change.”
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