Collaboration is the key to World Rugby’s concussion research

Rugby is leading the way when it comes to world sport’s response to concussion and co-operative research programmes are a vital part of that success.

Leading brain injury researchers were joined by representatives of sporting bodies at the World Rugby-sponsored ‘Workshop on International Concussion Collaboration’ hosted by the University of Glasgow in Scotland to share knowledge and identify further areas of collaboration in the important area of concussion.
Co-ordinated by Dr Willie Stewart, member of World Rugby’s independent Concussion Advisory Group, the meeting was attended by invited academics from the Big 10/CIC-Ivy League Traumatic Brain Injury Research Collaboration and the universities of Cambridge, Bath, Manchester, Glasgow, Cardiff and Birmingham, Imperial and University College London and the Institute of Occupational Medicine. 
In addition, recognising the significance of concussion to all sports, these researchers were joined by leading representatives from the NFL, the Football Association, Scottish Football Association, the Rugby Football League and national rugby unions.
The productive forum provided another step towards a cross-sport and society approach to concussion to ensure consistency of research, education, prevention and management strategies to further protect athletes and members of the public. 
Key outcomes included:

  • Reinforcement of the need for coordinated, cross-sport and institution collaboration in concussion research
  • A commitment to sharing of best practices in concussion management and education between sports and institutions, including sharing World Rugby’s protocols and online educational material, which can be found here 
  • Recognition of the benefits of coordinated archiving of research data and samples creating a global legacy for future research in concussion

Dr Stewart said: “Organised sport plays an instrumental role in tackling obesity and inactivity-related issues, while building and shaping the character and life-skills of children across the globe.
“For those involved in the management of sport, there is a clear and collective commitment to putting athlete welfare first by striving to reduce the risk of injury. Concussion prevention, education, research and management continues to be a priority for rugby and, indeed, all sports and it was fantastic to see such strong cross-sport commitment to identifying further areas for collaboration.
“Consistency in approach is key and we are seeing significant steps towards a common approach across sport and society and this forum has also crystallised our commitment to shared and collaborative research that will further understanding and ultimately enhance protection for both elite and community level athletes.”