Strap- Specifically introduced to send off players who suffer from concussion - Dr. Sankalpana
By Asanka Gammanpila
Sri Lanka Rugby (SLR) has decided to introduce a Blue Card for the 2019-2020 Interclub Rugby season, in addition to the red and yellow cards, when the season kicks off this weekend with eight 'A' division clubs in action. Sri Lanka will become the third Asian country to introduce the Blue Card after Hong Kong and Malaysia.
The Blue Card has been specifically introduced to send off players who suffer from concussion during play. Concussion is now becoming a major problem, especially in schools rugby.
According to Dr. Namith Sankalpana, Medical Committee Chairman of Sri Lanka Rugby and World Rugby Medical Educator, who is instrumental in introducing the Blue Card system, the main reason for introducing the Blue Card is for players' awareness. "This will keep a player out of danger".
A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI). It can occur after an impact to your head or after a whiplash-type injury that causes your head and brain to shake quickly back and forth. A concussion results in an altered mental state that may include becoming unconscious.
"Earlier Sri Lanka had a protocol for concussion, but it didn't work properly. Sometimes a player did not take the injury seriously and returned to play with or without the knowledge of team officials. Also, sometimes when the match doctor orders a player to go out, some team officials and spectators respond in a negative way, because they don't know how dangerous it is."
"Introducing the Blue Card will keep everything official. After the match doctor informs the referee, he will be shown the Blue Card and the player will be sent off the field. We are following World Rugby medical guidelines," said Dr. Sankalpana.
Under World Rugby medical guidelines, Recognized and Removed Protocol for concussion is being used in Asia Rugby, referred to as 6R's.
6 Return to play
He further said a player who gets concussed and sent off with a Blue Card, will not be allowed to return to play until he gets the all clear from the SLR Medical Committee. When a player receives a Blue Card it will go into the SLR record books and official web sites, which means no one can utilise the player for a match without following the proper medical treatment and rest. After going through the medical reports the Tournament Medical Committee will give a clearance form to the player and he must show that to the Match Commissioner on match day before proceeding to the grounds.
Initially SLR will use the Blue Card system for A-division club matches, and according to Dr. Sankalpana, in future they plan to expand the system to the lower divisions as well.