The risk of shock and rugby is often tried to counter its threat is evident in the first round of the Super Rugby season and the start of a World Cup year.
Wallabies star David Pocock only lasted five minutes in the opening match of Melbourne Rebels before ACT Brumbies being forced to leave the field with injury – a third time in just over 12 months.
The Brumbies said they would take a cautious approach to bringing Pocock back, that he would miss Saturday’s match with the Hamilton-based chiefs and possibly the next match with the storm based in Wellington.
But that, itself, shows that one of the rugby issues faced in the treatment and rehabilitation of shaken players. There is no uniform system to determine when a player affected should stop and when to be cautious again.
Rugby, along with many contact sports, is still finding its way in diagnosing and treating concussions and in dealing with personal injuries or multiple injuries. Scott Sio, Wallockies Wallabies and Brumbies’ teammates expressed confidence, Pocock is in good hands and his health will be at the center of any decision when he returns to Super Rugby.
Sio’s opinion touches an important point. After the injury is diagnosed through the protocol Evaluation of head injury of rugby and subsequent testing, casual injury may be asymptomatic. Players often recover quickly and do not feel or display ongoing problems.
That often leads to players feeling ready to return sooner rather than in their best interest. Teams also often rely on the player’s personal assessment of his recovery before deciding when to recover him.
In most cases tremors have no lasting effect but in a few cases the player has headaches, dementia or other cognitive impairments. It is difficult to determine whether it is due to the severity of the initial injury or the cumulative effect of multiple injuries.
In June, the New Zealand women’s rugby doctor, Mark Fulcher, told New Zealand’s Spinoff website: “I think for some patients, they seem to be able to maintain many tremors and seem to But it is hard to know because we usually do not follow these patients for 50 or 60 years, and if you look at research, there is no research that can do that”.
Besides diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation, rugby faces a problem with prevention and enforcement. Rules and sanctions around the settlement and other actions that threaten players have been hardened in recent years. Any solution to contact the player is likely to encounter a yellow or red card.
But in the first round of the current season, referee Glenn Jackson chased the center of the Highlanders Sio Tompkinson for a responsibility he believed contacted the head of the department Brodie Retallick. The punishment seemed serious and the red card was then flipped.