Players in Australia’s National Rugby League (NRL) who suffer a concussion during a match or training will miss at least one match under new concussion rules coming into force today.
It comes amid an ongoing lawsuit against the AFL from some of its former players about the treatment of head injuries during their careers.
The new NRL concussion rules
The key change that will come into place from tonight – the start of Round Three of the competition – will be a mandatory 11-day ban from training or playing following a diagnosed concussion.
Australia’s rugby league governing body signed off on the changes on Tuesday. NRL CEO Andrew Abdo made the announcement yesterday.
Clubs will be able to apply for an exemption to the 11-day ban for a player who has suffered a concussion “in exceptional circumstances”.
To get an exemption, a player must prove they don’t have certain symptoms of the concussion, including a loss of consciousness or confusion and disorientation. They also must be asymptomatic the day after the concussion.
The player would also need to have little or no history of past concussions in their career, and not have suffered a concussion in the past three months.
What’s happening in the AFL?
At least seven former men’s and women’s players are suing the AFL over the long-term impacts of concussion injuries suffered during their careers.
They allege the AFL has been negligent by failing to add safeguards to prevent head injuries, and should have been more proactive in stopping continual head injuries.
The AFL announced additional precautionary measures as part of its updated concussion guidelines this week, ahead of its 2023 season beginning tonight.