Stretchered off:  Alistair Hargreaves of Saracens leaves the pitch concussed a second time in a match between Saracens and London Wasps in 2012.

Stretchered off: Alistair Hargreaves of Saracens leaves the pitch concussed a second time in a match between Saracens and London Wasps in 2012. Photo: Getty Images

LONDON: The fight to raise awareness of concussions in English rugby has moved forward with the announcement of a compulsory education program for all professional players and coaches.

The Rugby Football Union, England's national governing body, says players and coaches from the country's top two leagues must complete an online concussion education module before the start of next season, while further resources will be extended to professional referees.

RFU chief medical Officer Simon Kemp says "concussion is acknowledged to be one of the most challenging sports injuries to diagnose, assess and rehabilitate but we continue to make significant progress in this area".

It has also been recommended that there should be more support for studies looking into the "prevalence of neurodegenerative disease among retired players."

AP