Rugby players undergoing HIA will stay off for at least 10 minutes

World Rugby chief medical officer says amendment ‘will further promote a thorough and calm assessment’

Players undergoing a Head Injury Assessment (HIA) will not be allowed return to a game for 10 minutes under an amendment to the law announced by World Rugby.

At present there is no set time for players to undergo an an off-field screening for a HIA, with the latest data showing that a player is off the field “for a shade over seven minutes”.

The new amendment, which pertains to 22 “elite adult rugby competitions” will come into effect globally from Saturday August 26th. The Rugby Championship, which starts this weekend, will operate with the amendment in place.

World Rugby point out that “ currently, across 22 elite competitions, 92 per cent of players with concussion are accurately identified and permanently removed in-match”.


World Rugby chief medical officer, Dr Martin Raftery, said: "The HIA process is playing a major role in changing culture and promoting best practice as outlined by the data.

“However, we continue to strive for evidence-based improvements and the move from a maximum of 10 minutes off-field for the HIA screening to a fixed 10 minutes will further promote a thorough and calm assessment.”

World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont added: “Player welfare continues to be our priority at all levels of decision-making and there is no doubt that the HIA process, which operates in elite rugby only has had an overwhelmingly positive impact on the level of care for elite rugby players.

“This evidence-based enhancement to the management of players who are required to undertake an off-field screen as part of the HIA 1 process, is a positive move for players, medics and the game as a whole and comes with the full support of our unions. We also continue to focus on education at community level where ‘recognise and remove’ is the simple but crucial message when it comes to head impacts.”

Emmet Riordan

Emmet Riordan

Emmet Riordan is an Irish Times sports journalist