WRU launches 'zero tolerance' attitude to concussion

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Media captionWales centre Jamie Roberts has personal experience of concussion

A "zero tolerance" approach to rugby players with concussion must be adopted, the sport's governing body in Wales has said.

The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) wants players immediately taken off the pitch and medically examined if it is thought they have concussion.

The new guidance has been issued in the WRU's 'Concussion, Recognise and Remove' document.

It wants clubs nationwide to recognise the symptoms and myths of concussion.

The move comes nearly a year after the International Rugby Board's (IRB) former medical advisor said more should be done to protect players from the dangers of concussion.

Dr Barry O'Driscoll wants mandatory concussion awareness training for all grassroots rugby coaches and players, which Wales does not have.

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Media captionPrav Mathema, WRU national medical manager told BBC Radio Wales' Oliver Hides it was about removing players once a problem was spotted

The WRU said the document has been prepared in line with IRB guidelines and will be sent to clubs across the country.

High impact collision

It says if a player is diagnosed with concussion, a graduated return to playing programme is set out.

WRU national medical manager Prav Mathema said the guidance was a "big step forward" for the game.

"We want as many people as possible in every club to be aware of the guidance and advice so that it becomes a truly effective means of dealing with concussion," he said.

Image caption Ben Robinson died after collapsing during a game

WRU's head of rugby Josh Lewsey added: "We work hard to align our activities to the great work being achieved by the Welsh government on physical literacy, health and education so this is a great example of us joining up our priorities.

"A great deal of high quality work has gone into creating this programme and we can be rightly proud of the calibre of the outcome."

A call for concussion awareness in schools has also been made by the father of a 14-year-old boy from Northern Ireland who died two years ago after playing a match for his school team.

Ben Robinson was knocked unconscious and suffered from concussion after several high-impact collisions during the game but he was allowed to carry on playing.

He collapsed again just before the end of the game and later died in hospital.

His father Peter said he would still be alive if he had been taken off the pitch.

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