Compliance with return-to-play regulations following concussion in Australian schoolboy and community rugby union players Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: There is a risk of concussion when playing rugby union. Appropriate management of concussion includes compliance with the return-to-play regulations of the sports body for reducing the likelihood of premature return-to-play by injured players. PURPOSE: To describe the proportion of rugby union players who comply with the sports body's regulations on returning to play postconcussion. STUDY DESIGN: Prospective cohort study. METHODS: 1958 community rugby union players (aged 15-48 years) in Sydney (Australia) were recruited from schoolboy, grade and suburban competitions and followed over ≥1 playing seasons. Club doctors/physiotherapists/coaches or trained injury recorders who attended the game reported players who sustained a concussion. Concussed players were followed up over a 3-month period and the dates when they returned to play (including either a game or training session) were recorded, as well as any return-to-play advice they received. RESULTS: 187 players sustained ≥1 concussion throughout the follow-up. The median number of days before players returned to play (competition game play or training) following concussion was 3 (range 1-84). Most players (78%) did not receive return-to-play advice postconcussion, and of those who received correct advice, all failed to comply with the 3-week stand-down regulation. CONCLUSIONS: The paucity of return-to-play advice received by community rugby union players postconcussion and the high level of non-compliance with return-to-play regulations highlight the need for better dissemination and implementation of the return-to-play regulations and improved understanding of the underlying causes of why players do not adhere to return-to-play practices.


  • Hollis, SJ
  • Stevenson, MR
  • McIntosh, AS
  • Shores, EA
  • Finch, CF

publication date

  • 2012