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Match Officials

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Match officials have an important role in the prevention and management of concussion. Through the correct and consistent application of the laws of the game they are able to influence players and their coaches' behaviour towards concussion. At certain games, there may not be a coach, so the match official’s role becomes more significant.

Referee awards a penalty try during an Aviva Premiership match

Photo: Getty Images

If you suspect concussion you should ask for the player to be assessed and/or removed from play right away. Continuing to play increases their risk of more severe, longer lasting concussion symptoms, as well as increasing their risk of other injury. Even if a player is cleared to play by a team doctor and you are concerned that they continue to show signs or symptoms of concussion you should remind the doctor of their responsibilities to the player and you are within your rights, under Law 3.9, to remove the player from the game.


Law 3.9: The referee's power to stop an injured player from continuing

If the referee decides – with or without the advice of a doctor or other medically qualified person – that a player is so injured that the player should stop playing, the referee may order that player to leave the playing area. The referee may also order an injured player to leave the field in order to be medically examined.

Remember the 4 Rs:

Recognise the signs and symptoms (PDF 859KB)

Remove the player from play (PDF 859KB)

Recover fully before returning to sport (PDF 859KB)

Return only after following a Graduated Return to Play (GRTP) (PDF 1.6MB)

Full information for match officials (PDF 76KB)

Download the concussion assessment tool – Pocket SCAT3 (PDF 128KB)

Take the HEADCASE test

The information contained in this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for appropriate medical advice or care. If you believe that you or someone under your care has sustained a concussion we strongly recommend that you contact a qualified health care professional for appropriate diagnosis and treatment. The authors have made responsible efforts to include accurate and timely information. However they make no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy of the information contained and specifically disclaim any liability in connection with the content on this site.


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