Blue Card

Counties Manukau Rugby Football Union gives concussion the Blue Card this season

Referees in all adult rugby matches in Counties Manukau Rugby Football Union can now issue a Blue Card to players suspected of receiving an on-field concussion, in a move to further enhance player welfare.

The Blue Card Concussion Initiative has been introduced by New Zealand Rugby (NZR) following a successful two-year trial at Northland Rugby.

Under the Initiative, if a referee issues a player the Blue Card, the player must leave the field of play and can’t return until they have completed a series of mandatory steps, including a three-week mandatory stand-down from play.

Counties Manukau Rugby Football Union Head of Community Rugby, Dameon Chaney said the introduction of the Blue Card Concussion Initiative sends a clear message about the importance of looking after players on and off the field.

Referees in all Senior & Secondary School rugby matches who’ve undergone training to recognise / identify symptoms in CMRFU can now issue a Blue Card to players suspected of receiving an on-field concussion, in a move to further enhance player welfare.

The Blue Card Concussion Initiative was first trialled by Northland Rugby in 2014.  The positive results and feedback from the rugby community in Northland encouraged New Zealand Rugby to extend the initiative throughout the country.

Under the Initiative, if a referee issues a player the Blue Card, the player must leave the field of play and can’t return until they have completed a series of mandatory steps, including a three-week mandatory stand-down from play.

CMRFU Head of Community Rugby, Dameon Chaney said the introduction of the Blue Card Concussion Initiative sends a clear message about the importance of looking after players on and off the field.

“Player welfare is everybody’s responsibility. While head knocks are relatively rare given the number of matches every weekend, it’s important everybody, including supporters, clubs, referees and the medical community understand how to manage them. We need to ensure all players don’t return to play until they are medically cleared and ready.

“We are very pleased at the response from our community. People understand why it’s important to put our players’ health first. Our referees have stepped up which is a reflection of their commitment too.”

Blues Doctor and Axis Sports Medicine Concussion Clinics Dr Steven Kara has delivered a presentation to referees on identifying symptoms and a clear process to recognise and then remove players from the field. Only those referees who have attended this presentation + are in their second year or above in officiating are able to give a player a Blue Card”

“CMRFU Rugby Development Officers through Rugby Smart Coaching Workshops are presenting the Blue Card Initiative to all senior and secondary school coaches and managers + presentations have been delivered to club and school delegates on the reasons behind the Blue Card initiative, the Graduated Return to Play Protocols and all were unanimous in ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our players”

About the Blue Card Concussion Initiative

The Blue Card Concussion Initiative extends NZR’s player welfare programmes which include compulsory RugbySmart safe technique training for all coaches and referees at all levels of rugby. This will also include players this year with the extension of the RugbySmart partnership with ACC.

When a player is issued with a Blue Card by the referee, they must leave the game, and can’t return to play in that match.

The player must then:

·        Rest until there are no on-going symptoms

·        Complete the minimum stand down period (21 days for adults, 23 days for under 19 players)

·        Undertake a Graduated Return to Play Protocol

·        Obtain medical clearance to return to play

Please note in all professional rugby in New Zealand a trained medical doctor is present during matches to assess head knocks and suspected concussion. Therefore, the Blue Card does not apply.

Please note in all professional rugby in New Zealand a trained medical doctor is present during matches to assess head knocks and suspected concussion. Therefore, the Blue Card does not apply.

Fequently Asked Questions - Blue Card

Concussion Graduated Return to Play

Blue card concussion initiative booklet

For more information please visit http://www.bluecard.co.nz/