HOUSTON, Texas -- USA Rugby, in partnership with International Rugby Board, has chosen to use the new IRB Pitchside Suspected Concussion Assessment (PSCA) protocol during the upcoming Eagles matches against Ireland this Saturday, June 8, and Tonga Friday, June 14. This is the first time the PSCA has been utilized in North America for senior international rugby test matches.
In 2012, the IRB introduced the PSCA process into elite Rugby Union. This process was introduced to improve the pitch-side management of concussions and specifically to address the consistency with which concussed players were removed from the field of play at the time of a concussive injury. A preliminary trial has been undertaken since August 2012 and an analysis of coach, player and physician feedback regarding this preliminary trial suggests the introduction of the PSCA has improved initial concussion management. This is supported by data indicating that 17.5% more players are being removed from the field of play following a suspected head injury using this PSCA process, as compared with Rugby World Cup 2011 data.
“Along with the IRB, USA Rugby is committed to putting player welfare first,” USA Rugby Director of Medical Services Michael Keating said. “There has long been a need for the medical staff to effectively and efficiently evaluate players for a suspected concussion during a match and the PSCA protocol provides us with a tool to help accomplish this important task.”
The PSCA has been developed for the elite level of the game and is supported by experienced health care professionals. The IRB, recognizing the science around concussion is evolving, will be supporting continued research and the auditing of this PSCA tool and process to improve the validity and sensitivity of the new system.