JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

NRL ditches plan for independent doctors to assess concussion risk

Sickening: Chase Stanley after getting knocked out during the Dragons' Charity Shield match against Souths in 2012.

Sickening: Chase Stanley after getting knocked out during the Dragons' Charity Shield match against Souths in 2012. Photo: Anthony Johnson

The NRL has aborted plans to introduce independent doctors to monitor game-day concussions, believing club medicos are best qualified to determine player safety.

Club bosses discussed a range of player welfare issues with NRL officials prior to the inaugural Auckland Nines tournament, including the prospect of tests for prescription medications.

The other key aspect was the introduction of new protocols around the diagnosis of concussions, including sideline assessments of players. The meeting was addressed by Paul McCrory, a professor of neurology who helped the AFL form its concussion guidelines.

The issue has been cast into the spotlight after a number of prominent NRL doctors quit at the end of last season over concerns team success was placed before player welfare.

 Several incidents last season raised concerns, including allegations South Sydney halfback Adam Reynolds was given smelling salts by a trainer following a head knock. Former All Blacks doctor John Mayhew spoke out about the incident at the time, claiming ‘‘I believe he was knocked out’’.

Dangerous: Another Dragon, Cameron King, is taken from the field after a heavy head knock.

Dangerous: Another Dragon, Cameron King, is taken from the field after a heavy head knock. Photo: Mark Kolbe

Some club doctors, such as Canberra’s Wilson Lo, publicly backed the proposal to provide independent doctors. However, the NRL’s head of football, Todd Greenberg, said the governing body had opted not to go in that direction.

‘‘It’s not something we’re currently looking at, no,’’ Greenberg said. ‘‘There have been some governance changes where doctors now report directly to CEOs and boards rather than coaches. We need to empower club doctors to allow them to act appropriately and make good decision about their players.’’

 The NRL has already outlawed the shoulder charge to help protect players from head knocks and will outline new concussion guidelines ahead of round one.

 The concussion debate is topical given the NFL agreed last August to spend almost $US800 million to diagnose or compensate former players who have developed conditions such as brain injury and dementia as a result of heavy collisions.

One of the new NRL initiatives will revolve around how interchanges can be tweaked to allow a thorough concussion diagnosis without disadvantaging the affected team.

‘‘Simply, it’s looking at an opportunity where players who receive concussive injuries have the ability to come off the field and be treated by the doctor within a period of time that doesn’t negate the tactics of the team, so a coach won’t have to use an interchange,’’ Greenberg explained.

‘‘We’re working through that at the moment. We have spoken to both coaches and clubs and they have given strong support.’’

The abuse of prescription drugs is another issue the ARLC is tackling.

The league is working is working with the Rugby League Players’ Association to finalise plans for prescription-drug testing to obtain data and facilitate early intervention.

The NZRL is currently investigating the Kiwis’ World Cup campaign following claims some players had mixed sleeping tablets and energy drinks during the tournament.

Some clubs, including the Warriors, have already banned sleeping tablets.

 

8 comments so far

  • Good idea. Ban independent doctors. So someone cops a blow to head. Get the sooks back on the field. No need to worry until years later. Before the NRL makes such a stupid decision, I have three words for them - duty of care. In any case, wouldn't a football club with a multi-million dollar playing roster want to protect their investment?

    Commenter
    The Dog
    Location
    Haberfield
    Date and time
    February 20, 2014, 8:10AM
    • Trouble is these blokes always sound concussed so it would be difficult to diagnose!

      Commenter
      tahrahrah
      Location
      sydney
      Date and time
      February 20, 2014, 8:54AM
      • The NRL are not empowering doctors to make good decisions about concussions if those doctors report to club management and there is no allowance within the game to substitute a concussed player without penalty.

        The obvious solution it seems to me is independent doctors and if a player is ruled out they are out for the rest of the game (at least) and can be interchanged without penalty.

        Science is showing how damaging concussion injuries are for players especially later in life. The NRL know this as evidenced by the change to the shoulder charge rule which was all about reducing concussions.

        If the NRL fail to act with club doctors continuing to send back out players who have been concussed as we've seen many times over the years, expect lawsuits in the future as the NRL will have failed in it's duty of care.

        Commenter
        Seano
        Date and time
        February 20, 2014, 9:49AM
        • Intentions are good but like the old scrum rules the coaches, players and management will find a way to circumvent them i.e. the word of the law not the intention of the law.

          Commenter
          Watcher
          Location
          Brisbane
          Date and time
          February 20, 2014, 11:17AM
          • When I first read this article I couldn’t believe in this day and age the NRL would not put the safety of their players at the forefront of all decisions in regard to head injuries and allow independent assessments.

            Then I realised it’s an article about the NRL and brain damage players.

            Enough said.

            Commenter
            Downing Not Waving
            Date and time
            February 20, 2014, 12:34PM
            • mark this article and decision by the nrl in your diary because sometime in the future the lawyers will want to sue the nrl for not looking after the health and safety of the players.

              Commenter
              markymark
              Location
              sydney
              Date and time
              February 20, 2014, 12:38PM
              • The NRL have a real problem with concussion and this gives the impression that they are doing nothing - other codes have stepped up to the mark but NRL who have thrived on their toughness need a real rethink

                Commenter
                Jacko
                Location
                Canberra
                Date and time
                February 20, 2014, 2:29PM
                • This is a poor decision. I for one do not wish to see a repeat of the David Stagg incident in the SOO game - he left the field not knowing where he was or even what he was supposed to be doing. Yet Big Mal threw him back on to the field when he ran out of mentally and physically fit replacements.

                  How does this decision align with the standard OH&S requirements that other employees have to follow. Yes I know that the players are employed by their respective clubs but the NRL has to ratify each contract and also establishes the rules under which the players play.
                  If the US football experience is anything to go by we can expect to see similar cases here in the near future. So come on Smith/Greenberg employ whatever brains you still have and ensure that our players are able to keep theirs!!!

                  Commenter
                  saint mike II
                  Location
                  Kiama D.
                  Date and time
                  February 20, 2014, 4:50PM

                  Make a comment

                  You are logged in as [Logout]

                  All information entered below may be published.

                  Error: Please enter your screen name.

                  Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

                  Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

                  Error: Please enter your comment.

                  Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

                  Post to

                  You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

                  Thank you

                  Your comment has been submitted for approval.

                  Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

                  NRL Season 2014

                  Round 1
                  Thu, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
                  SOU 28 vs SYD 8 Report Stats
                  Fri, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
                  BUL 12 vs BRI 18 Stats
                  Sat, 08 MarTimes shown AEDT
                  PEN 30 vs NEW 8 Report Stats
                  MAN 22 vs MEL 23 Report Stats
                  NQL 28 vs CAN 22 Report Stats
                  Sun, 09 MarTimes shown AEDT
                  STG 44 vs WES 24 Report Stats
                  PAR 36 vs NZW 16 Report Stats
                  Mon, 10 MarTimes shown AEDT
                  CRO 12 vs GCT 18 Report Stats
                  View All Fixtures
                  Round 2
                  Fri, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
                  MAN 14 vs SOU 12 Report Stats
                  BRI 16 vs NQL 12 Report Stats
                  Sat, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
                  NZW 12 vs STG 31 Report Stats
                  MEL 18 vs PEN 17 Report Stats
                  SYD 56 vs PAR 4 Report Stats
                  Sun, 16 MarTimes shown AEDT
                  GCT 12 vs WES 42 Report Stats
                  NEW 20 vs CAN 26 Report Stats
                  Mon, 17 MarTimes shown AEDT
                  BUL 42 vs CRO 4 Report Stats
                  View All Fixtures
                  Round 3
                  Fri, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
                  WES 25 vs SOU 16 Report Stats
                  BRI 26 vs SYD 30 Report Stats
                  Sat, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
                  PEN 18 vs BUL 16 Report Stats
                  CRO 12 vs STG 14 Report Stats
                  NQL 16 vs NZW 20 Report Stats
                  Sun, 23 MarTimes shown AEDT
                  MAN 22 vs PAR 18 Report Stats
                  CAN 12 vs GCT 24 Stats
                  Mon, 24 MarTimes shown AEDT
                  MEL 28 vs NEW 20 Report Stats
                  View All Fixtures
                  Round 4
                  Fri, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
                  SYD vs MAN 8 Report Stats
                  STG 20 vs BRI 36 Report Stats
                  Sat, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
                  NZW 42 vs WES 18 Report Stats
                  PAR 32 vs PEN 16 Report Stats
                  BUL 40 vs MEL 12 Report Stats
                  Sun, 30 MarTimes shown AEDT
                  SOU 18 vs CAN 30 Report Stats
                  NEW 30 vs CRO Report Stats
                  Mon, 31 MarTimes shown AEDT
                  GCT 13 vs NQL 12 Report Stats
                  View All Fixtures
                  Round 5
                  Fri, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
                  SYD 8 vs BUL 9 Report Stats
                  BRI 18 vs PAR 25 Report Stats
                  Sat, 05 AprTimes shown AEDT
                  CRO 37 vs NZW 6 Report Stats
                  PEN 12 vs CAN 6 Report Stats
                  STG 6 vs SOU 26 Report Stats
                  Sun, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
                  MEL 26 vs GCT 28 Report Stats
                  WES 34 vs MAN 18 Report Stats
                  Mon, 07 AprTimes shown AEST
                  NQL 28 vs NEW 2 Report Stats
                  View All Fixtures
                  Round 6
                  Fri, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
                  PEN 2 vs SOU 18 Report Stats
                  GCT 12 vs BRI 8 Report Stats
                  Sat, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
                  CAN 12 vs NEW 26 Report Stats
                  PAR 14 vs SYD 12 Report Stats
                  WES 16 vs NQL 4 Report Stats
                  Sun, 13 AprTimes shown AEST
                  NZW 20 vs BUL 21 Report Stats
                  MAN 24 vs CRO 4 Report Stats
                  Mon, 14 AprTimes shown AEST
                  MEL 28 vs STG 24 Report Stats
                  View All Fixtures
                  Round 7
                  Fri, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
                  SOU 14 vs BUL 15 Report Stats
                  NEW 6 vs BRI 32 Report Stats
                  MAN 26 vs NQL 21 Report Stats
                  Sat, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
                  STG 20 vs NZW 10 Report Stats
                  CRO 18 vs SYD 24 Report Stats
                  Sun, 20 AprTimes shown AEST
                  CAN 24 vs MEL 22 Report Stats
                  Mon, 21 AprTimes shown AEST
                  PAR 18 vs WES 21 Report Stats
                  PEN 14 vs GCT 12 Report Stats
                  View All Fixtures
                  Round 8
                  Fri, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
                  STG 14 vs SYD 34 Report Stats
                  MEL 10 vs NZW 16 Report Stats
                  BRI 26 vs SOU 28 Report Stats
                  Sat, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
                  CRO 24 vs PEN 20 Report Stats
                  NQL 42 vs PAR 14 Report Stats
                  BUL 16 vs NEW 12 Report Stats
                  Sun, 27 AprTimes shown AEST
                  MAN 54 vs CAN 18 Report Report Stats
                  WES 6 vs GCT 22 Report Stats
                  View All Fixtures
                  Round 9
                  Fri, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
                  SYD 30 vs WES 6 Report Stats
                  NQL 27 vs BRI 14 Report Stats
                  Sat, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
                  NZW 54 vs CAN 12 Report Stats
                  GCT 18 vs SOU 40 Report Stats
                  MEL 22 vs MAN 19 Report Stats
                  Sun, 11 MayTimes shown AEST
                  NEW 10 vs PEN 32 Report Stats
                  STG 6 vs BUL 38 Report Stats
                  Mon, 12 MayTimes shown AEST
                  PAR 42 vs CRO 24 Report Stats
                  View All Fixtures
                  Round 10
                  Fri, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
                  SOU 14 vs MEL 27 Report Stats
                  BRI 22 vs GCT 8 Report Stats
                  Sat, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
                  PAR 36 vs STG Report Stats
                  CRO 20 vs WES 22 Report Stats
                  NQL 42 vs SYD 10 Report Stats
                  Sun, 18 MayTimes shown AEST
                  CAN 20 vs PEN 26 Report Stats
                  BUL 16 vs NZW 12 Report Stats
                  Mon, 19 MayTimes shown AEST
                  MAN 15 vs NEW 14 Report Stats
                  View All Fixtures
                  Round 11
                  Fri, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
                  BUL 12 vs SYD 32 Report Stats
                  Sat, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
                  GCT 16 vs NZW 24 Report Stats
                  WES 14 vs BRI 16 Report Stats
                  Sun, 25 MayTimes shown AEST
                  CAN 42 vs NQL 12 Report Stats
                  Mon, 26 MayTimes shown AEST
                  CRO vs SOU 18 Report Stats
                  View All Fixtures
                  Round 12
                  Fri, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
                  PEN 38 vs PAR 12 Report Stats
                  Sat, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
                  SYD 26 vs CAN 12 Report Stats
                  NQL 22 vs MEL Report Stats
                  Sun, 01 JunTimes shown AEST
                  NZW 38 vs NEW 18 Report Stats
                  BRI 36 vs MAN 10 Report Stats
                  Mon, 02 JunTimes shown AEST
                  SOU 29 vs STG 10 Report Stats
                  View All Fixtures
                  Round 13
                  Fri, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
                  MAN 32 vs BUL 10 Report Stats
                  PAR 18 vs NQL 16 Report Stats
                  Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
                  GCT 14 vs PEN 36 Report Stats
                  STG 30 vs CRO Report Stats
                  SOU 34 vs NZW 18 Report Stats
                  Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
                  NEW 20 vs WES 23 Report Stats
                  MEL 12 vs SYD 32 Report Stats
                  Mon, 09 JunTimes shown AEST
                  CAN 4 vs BRI 28 Stats
                  View All Fixtures
                  Round 14
                  Fri, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
                  SOU 32 vs WES 10 Report Stats
                  Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
                  PEN 18 vs STG 14 Report Stats
                  SYD 29 vs NEW 12 Report Stats
                  Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
                  BUL 12 vs PAR 22 Report Stats
                  Mon, 16 JunTimes shown AEST
                  GCT 20 vs MEL 24 Report Stats
                  View All Fixtures
                  Round 15
                  Fri, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
                  CAN 14 vs BUL 22 Report Stats
                  Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
                  NZW 19 vs BRI 10 Report Stats
                  CRO vs MAN 26 Report Stats
                  Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
                  MEL 46 vs PAR 20 Report Stats
                  GCT 18 vs STG 19 Report Stats
                  Mon, 23 JunTimes shown AEST
                  NEW 36 vs NQL 28 Report Stats
                  View All Fixtures
                  Round 16
                  Fri, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
                  MAN 24 vs SYD 16 Report Stats
                  BRI 22 vs CRO 24 Report Stats
                  Sat, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
                  WES 19 vs CAN 18 Report Report Stats
                  NQL 20 vs SOU 18 Report Stats
                  Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
                  NZW 30 vs PEN 20 Report Stats
                  PAR 10 vs NEW 16 Report Stats
                  Mon, 30 JunTimes shown AEST
                  STG 24 vs MEL 12 Report Stats
                  View All Fixtures
                  Round 17
                  Fri, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
                  BUL 23 vs MAN 16 Report Stats
                  Sat, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
                  STG 27 vs NQL 24 Report Stats
                  SYD 28 vs CRO 30 Report Stats
                  Sun, 06 JulTimes shown AEST
                  WES 10 vs PEN 26 Report Stats
                  Mon, 07 JulTimes shown AEST
                  SOU 10 vs GCT 14 Report Stats
                  View All Fixtures
                  Round 18
                  Fri, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
                  MAN 40 vs WES 8 Report Stats
                  Sat, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
                  NZW 48 vs PAR Report Stats
                  MEL 4 vs BUL 6 Report Stats
                  Sun, 13 JulTimes shown AEST
                  GCT 20 vs CAN 36 Report Stats
                  CRO 18 vs NEW 31 Report Stats
                  Mon, 14 JulTimes shown AEST
                  PEN 35 vs BRI 34 Report Stats
                  View All Fixtures
                  Round 19
                  Fri, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
                  CRO 18 vs NQL 36 Report Stats
                  PAR 12 vs SOU 32 Report Stats
                  Sat, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
                  SYD 32 vs PEN 12 Report Stats
                  MEL 28 vs CAN 14 Report Stats
                  BRI 28 vs NZW 22 Report Stats
                  Sun, 20 JulTimes shown AEST
                  NEW 8 vs GCT 22 Report Stats
                  WES 46 vs BUL 18 Report Stats
                  Mon, 21 JulTimes shown AEST
                  STG 12 vs MAN 21 Report Stats
                  View All Fixtures
                  Round 20
                  Fri, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
                  NEW 16 vs SYD 12 Report Stats
                  BRI 8 vs MEL 30 Stats
                  Sat, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
                  PEN 16 vs CRO 18 Report Stats
                  GCT 18 vs PAR 24 Stats
                  BUL 12 vs NQL 20 Report Stats
                  Sun, 27 JulTimes shown AEST
                  NZW 12 vs MAN 22 Report Stats
                  WES 12 vs STG 28 Stats
                  Mon, 28 JulTimes shown AEST
                  CAN 18 vs SOU 34 Stats
                  View All Fixtures
                  Round 21
                  Fri, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
                  MAN 16 vs BRI 4 Report Stats
                  BUL 16 vs PEN 22 Stats
                  Sat, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
                  CRO 12 vs PAR 32 Report Stats
                  NQL 28 vs GCT 8 Stats
                  SYD 30 vs STG 22 Stats
                  Sun, 03 AugTimes shown AEST
                  CAN 18 vs NZW 54 Stats
                  SOU 50 vs NEW 10 Stats
                  Mon, 04 AugTimes shown AEST
                  WES 6 vs MEL 28 Stats
                  View All Fixtures
                  Round 22
                  Fri, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
                  SOU 23 vs MAN 4 Report Stats
                  BRI 41 vs BUL 10 Report Stats
                  Sat, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
                  NEW 32 vs MEL 30 Report Stats
                  NQL 64 vs WES 6 Report Stats
                  PAR 18 vs CAN 10 Report Stats
                  Sun, 10 AugTimes shown AEST
                  NZW 16 vs CRO 12 Report Stats
                  STG 4 vs PEN 16 Stats
                  Mon, 11 AugTimes shown AEST
                  SYD 26 vs GCT 18 Report Stats
                  View All Fixtures
                  Round 23
                  Thu, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
                  SOU 42 vs BRI 16 Report Stats
                  Fri, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
                  PAR 16 vs BUL 18 Report Stats
                  Sat, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
                  CAN 16 vs STG 34 Report Stats
                  MEL 48 vs CRO 6 Report Stats
                  WES 4 vs SYD 48 Report Stats
                  Sun, 17 AugTimes shown AEST
                  NEW 28 vs NZW 22 Report Stats
                  GCT 12 vs MAN 15 Report Stats
                  Mon, 18 AugTimes shown AEST
                  PEN 23 vs NQL 22 Report Stats
                  View All Fixtures
                  Round 24
                  Thu, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
                  BUL 30 vs WES 10 Stats
                  Fri, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
                  PAR 22 vs MAN 12 Report Stats
                  Sat, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
                  BRI 48 vs NEW 6 Report Stats
                  SOU 10 vs NQL 22 Report Stats
                  Sun, 24 AugTimes shown AEST
                  NZW 12 vs SYD 46 Report Stats
                  CRO 12 vs CAN 22 Stats
                  STG 34 vs GCT 6 Stats
                  Mon, 25 AugTimes shown AEST
                  PEN 10 vs MEL 24 Stats
                  View All Fixtures
                  Round 25
                  Thu, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
                  BUL 14 vs SOU 21 Stats
                  Fri, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
                  BRI 30 vs STG 22 Stats
                  Sat, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
                  NEW 42 vs PAR 12 Stats
                  CAN 27 vs WES 12 Stats
                  SYD 24 vs MEL 12 Stats
                  Sun, 31 AugTimes shown AEST
                  NZW 42 vs GCT Stats
                  MAN 26 vs PEN 25 Stats
                  Mon, 01 SepTimes shown AEST
                  NQL 20 vs CRO 19 Stats
                  View All Fixtures
                  Round 26
                  Thu, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
                  SYD 22 vs SOU 18 Stats
                  Fri, 05 SepTimes shown AEST
                  MEL 22 vs BRI 12 Stats
                  Sat, 06 SepTimes shown AEST
                  WES 26 vs CRO 10 Stats
                  CAN 33 vs PAR 20 Stats
                  NQL 30 vs MAN 16 Stats
                  Sun, 07 SepTimes shown AEST
                  NEW 40 vs STG 10 Stats
                  GCT 19 vs BUL 18 Stats
                  PEN 22 vs NZW 6 Stats
                  View All Fixtures
                  Finals Week 1
                  Fri, 12 SepTimes shown AEST
                  MAN 24 vs SOU 40 Report Stats
                  Sat, 13 SepTimes shown AEST
                  SYD 18 vs PEN 19 Report Stats
                  NQL 32 vs BRI 20 Report Stats
                  Sun, 14 SepTimes shown AEST
                  MEL 4 vs BUL 28 Report Stats
                  View All Fixtures
                  Finals Week 2
                  Fri, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
                  SYD 31 vs NQL 30 Report Stats
                  Sat, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
                  MAN 17 vs BUL 18 Report Stats
                  View All Fixtures
                  Preliminary Finals
                  Fri, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
                  SOU 32 vs SYD 22 Report Stats
                  Sat, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
                  PEN 12 vs BUL 18 Report Stats
                  View All Fixtures
                  Grand Final
                  Sun, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
                  SOU 30 vs BUL 6 Report Stats
                  View All Fixtures
                  NRL Premiership - 2014 Ladder
                  Overall standings
                  Team P W L D +/- Pts
                  Sydney Roosters 24 16 8 0 230 36
                  Manly 24 16 8 0 103 36
                  South Sydney 24 15 9 0 224 34
                  Penrith 24 15 9 0 80 34
                  North Queensland 24 14 10 0 190 32
                  Melbourne 24 14 10 0 76 32
                  Canterbury-Bankstown 24 13 11 0 7 30
                  Brisbane 24 12 12 0 93 28
                  View all
                   
                  Win an iPad mini by entering our Sport survey
                  Featured advertisers