The HIA is only applicable to World Rugby approved tournaments and only at elite professional level, in competitions such as Test matches, the Vodacom United Rugby Championship, Heineken Champions Cup and EPCR Challenge Cup, and the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series for men and women.
Locally, the HIA is not applicable at any other matches played, even at provincial level, where it is not a World Rugby approved tournament, and where the tournaments don’t meet the medical standards set for the HIA to be utilised.
For these and all other matches, Laws 3.24 and 3.22 (c) or the ‘Recognise and Remove’ Law will be in play, and this is where the Blue Card must be used.
In situations where the Blue Card is applied, the referee will be required to physically show the card and the injured player will be required to leave the field, after which the case must be logged onto SA Rugby’s online Blue Card portal.
“Reporting these incidents is very important and must be done so that we can monitor concussions recorded at these levels across South Africa,” said Clint Readhead, SA Rugby’s Senior Manager: Medical.
“If we don’t know the true picture, we cannot know the true risk. So, this process is critical for continually improving our understanding of concussion events in the amateur game within South Africa. It is also important for those concussed players and their close support network to gain access to the right return to play and player-management information.
Although this is applicable to all amateur rugby within South Africa, this is also important for ‘recognise and remove’ televised matches, where the HIA is not applied. By showing the blue cards on television, we will reinforce our message to the supporters watching the game that we take head injuries and concussion very seriously.”
Readhead also reiterated to provincial unions, clubs, schools, and any other teams that where necessary, rugby concussion specialists Sports Concussion SA’s medical professional network is always available should they be needed, at own cost.
Dr Wayne Vijoen, Senior Manager for Rugby Safety at SA Rugby, who heads up the BokSmart programme, said: “We now have the online MyBokSmart Learning Management System (LMS) within the BokSmart Certification Software Ecosystem, brought to you by SportsCap, our official software partner.
“The Blue Card System and its reporting is well described here on the Concussion Blue Card System Module, which is freely available on MyBokSmart Medical. “We call on all match officials, provincial referee societies, and team medical staff to go through and complete this module.”
All necessary concussion documents can be sourced from www.BokSmart.com/Concussion and https://my.boksmart.com/Documents/BokSmart#ConcussionManagement.
For more information, check out these links:
- The Blue Card Process Webpage: https://www.springboks.rugby/general/boksmart-medical-protocol-concussion-blue-card/
- The Blue Card online reporting page: https://bluecard.footprintapp.net/
- The Blue Card process explained Course module link: https://my.boksmart.com/Education/CourseContent?courseId=6
- The Blue Card process explained in an infographic: https://my.boksmart.com/_content/SARugby.CDS/Documents/Concussion%20Management/Concussion%20Blue%20Card%20infographic.pdf