In the South African rugby environment, the medical screening of players during the preseason is not standard and very rarely practiced.
In most club and school settings, the rugby coach may well be the person who has the most contact with players and therefore is also in the best position to conduct an initial screen. Coaches can therefore be seen as the first line of defence when trying to curb serious and/or catastrophic injuries from the game. It is for this reason that BokSmart has devised a pre-participation screening tool for coaches.
This is an easy to use questionnaire, which helps the coach to assess which players are at risk or require medical clearance or medical attention before participating in rugby training or in contact sessions. In rugby union, where the incidence of concussion, head, neck and spine injuries is higher than in other sports, an emphasis needs to be placed on screening for potential risk factors related to these conditions.
For every question answered with a “yes”, there is a directive to assist the coach in suitably referring the player to a medical professional for clearance. Appropriate guidelines are also provided on the BokSmart website for medical doctors and physiotherapists, on medical screening, and musculoskeletal screening.