Just 2ml of saliva would be required for doctors to make a pitch-side assessment – and make a more accurate
Players from the top two divisions of English club rugby are to take part in a major study throughout the coming season.
George North has been one of the most notable players to have had multiple concussions in recent years
Northampton were criticised for allowing North to return to the field during the Saints’ game with Leicester in December last year
It would require just 2ml of saliva and ten minutes to determine whether or not a player is suffering from the effects of concussion.
According to The Times, there are around 200 concussions in the Premiership and Championship games throughout a season.
Led by the University of Birmingham and carried out in collaboration with the Rugby Football Union, Premiership Rugby and the Rugby Players’ Association, it is hoped the test could also be used to guide return-to-play decisions.
The study is the biggest of its kind to take place in British sport and it is envisaged that a successful outcome would have benefits for all sports and front-line medics in the NHS and military.
RFU chief medical officer Dr Simon Kemp said: “This is one of the holy grails in concussion management.
“We are testing a really novel and exciting hypothesis.
Doctors will be able to take players off and assess them on the pitchside to determine whether they can re-enter a game or not
George North’s career has been put under threat by multiple concussions for club and country
“There is currently no reliable or proven biomarker or objective test for the diagnosis of concussion.
“This lack of objectivity is the biggest challenge facing medical professionals in dealing with this type of injury.
“While very much an exploratory piece of research, this is a project that has the potential to make a very significant impact on the diagnosis and management of players following concussion.”
World Rugby’s Head Injury Assessment protocol was brought into the game and stressed the need for concussion to be screened carefully, immediately off the field after an incident, three hours later and then after two nights’ rest.
The NFL has also had controversy over concussions, with growing concern of the long-term health of players
George North has become one of the most high-profile victims of multiple concussion.
Northampton angered World Rugby when they allowed North to return to action after landing awkwardly on his head against Leicester on December 3 last year.
The Wales winger was allowed to return to play following a pitch-side HIA.
Findings from the experiment could also be used in other contact sports, such as rugby league, American football, ice hockey and even soccer.
George North hugged by his pitch invader dad