Australian Rugby Union introduce a blue card
The card will be used where players suffer a concussion09:59 Thursday 23 March 2017, 9:59 23 Mar 2017
The Australian Rugby Union are to trial a blue card in the coming weeks, in a bid to improve the welfare of players on the field.
Announced on Thursday, the blue card will be trialled in club matches in Newcastle and in Canberra. If a referee feels a player is showing signs of a concussion, they can be sent off.
The trial will be used in club matches in the two areas, and if successful, the ARU hope it can be branched out to other areas of the domestic game.
"The blue card is a visual cue that a player has a suspected concussion and they will be removed from the field of play and won't be coming back that day", ARU Chief Medical Officer Warren McDonald said in a statement.
"It's about recognising and removing a player that is suffering the effects of a head knock." McDonald added that the idea follows "over two years of extensive research on concussion and concussion management from World Rugby down through each nation".
If a player is shown the blue card, they are not allowed to train or play for 19 days. That lessens to 12 days for players aged under 18.
All players must also be given medical clearance to return to training and playing, before being allowed to return to the field.
A 2014 study in Australia showed that one concussion takes place in every six games at the professional level. In amateur games, that reduces to one in every 21 matches.
Similar concussion protocols are in place in New Zealand. no player is allowed to play for three weeks, if they suffered a concussion.
The very best bits delivered every weekSubscribe now