LONDON – The British government published a 10-point action plan on Friday to tackle concussion in sport by developing new protocols alongside sporting bodies and introducing new technology by autumn next year to mitigate head injuries.
The plans also include asking sports governing bodies to discuss training protocols with player associations, commissioning new research into concussion and working with the Premier League on a pilot scheme to improve player welfare.
The recommendations are a response to the Digital, Culture, Media & Sport Committee’s (DCMS) inquiry earlier this year, which urged the government to adopt a “coherent approach” to look into head injuries in sport.
“Player safety must be absolutely paramount. Working with the sports industry, it is right that we do all we can to ensure that people are as protected as possible and the risk of head injuries are minimised,” sports minister Nigel Huddleston said.
“That’s why we’re taking steps to reduce this risk and developing new, gold-standard industry protocols and focusing on emerging tech that can help build a fuller picture of the risks involved.”
In July, the Premier League and other governing bodies said English football would limit the number of high-force headers in training to 10 per week from the 2021-22 season to protect players as part of new guidelines.
The league introduced permanent concussion substitutions trials in February after the game’s rule-making body IFAB gave the go-ahead for trials of additional “concussion subs”.
A group of former rugby players filed a class-action lawsuit against World Rugby and other governing bodies in December, alleging that their failure to protect them led to early onset of dementia.
The rugby governing body announced this year guidelines limiting full contact training to 15 minutes per week and launched a brain health education campaign for players in November.