Japan committed to highest standards of player welfare ahead of Rugby World Cup 2019

Dublin, July 12, 2016: Following World Rugby’s ground-breaking week of rugby medical courses in Japan, which was committed to maintaining medical management best practice within the sport, the Top League in Japan has confirmed that the head injury assessment (HIA) will be made standard throughout the competition from the start of next season.

As Japan prepares to host the first Rugby World Cup in Asia, 24 match-day medics and team doctors from Japan and across the Asia region, undertook the World Rugby Level Two Immediate Care in Rugby course – essential preparation for the rigorous minimum standards that will operate at Japan 2019.

Participants, including Japan Rugby Football Union medics, Top League medics and independent medics undertook modules in immediate pitch-side care, including important concussion management training to promote consistency and best-practice at the elite and community levels.

Underpinning the programme is a dedicated ‘Recognize and Remove’ concussion education module that will be rolled out across the elite and community game in Japan and wider Asia to enhance awareness, education and understanding within the world’s most populous region.

Rugby World Cup 2015 set new standards of medical care on and off the field and with player welfare being World Rugby’s number-one priority, all team doctors and match-day doctors participating at Japan 2019 will be expected to undertake, pass and comply with robust and leading medical standards in this critical area.

World Rugby Head of Technical Services Mark Harington, who ran the programme in Tokyo, said: “World Rugby’s number-one priority is player welfare and this important course highlights our commitment to ensuring that the best-possible standards of player welfare and medical care are universally applied in the sport.

“It was great to see such enthusiasm and commitment from the JRFU, Top League clubs and medical community. This is essentially capacity building along the road to Rugby World Cup 2019 to ensure that minimum standards are applied in Japan as we look to develop a team of medics who could operate at Japan 2019.

“The participation of Top League medics also demonstrates the commitment to change cultural attitudes towards concussion reporting, management and compliance in the game in Japan and we look forward to further supporting this important programme in the coming months and years. The fact that the HIA will be used in the Top League from now on is another positive step forward for player welfare in Japanese rugby.”

Headline achievements:

– 24 new level two immediate pitch-side care-qualified medical personnel (20 from JRFU and four from Asia Rugby)
– One new medical trainer, which helps move JRFU towards self-sufficiency to deliver more courses
– World Rugby Immediate Pitch-Side Care Management Group met
– Successful meeting with JRFU and Top League management regarding HIA. Outline plan:
• HIA runs in Top League from August 2016
• World Rugby provide two-day HIA and concussion recognition training in August
• All Top League medical staff have Level Two ICIR by September 2018
– Successful meeting with JRFU coaching and referee departments identifying outline plans to:
• Increase workforce to deliver Rugby Ready (need 48)
• Identify high-profile individuals who can lead on delivery of Level Three
• Level Three becomes a prerequisite for coaching in the Top League
• Increase the delivery of Levels One and Two coaching
• Referee pathway and alignment discussed
• Referee education material prioritized for translation. —- World Rugby

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