Enhancing player safety and welfare is a primary concern and responsibility of Rugby Ontario. Consequently, all matches played under the jurisdiction of Rugby Ontario must comply with World Rugby Concussion Guidelines. To assist in player safety and welfare, in 2020 Rugby Ontario will be piloting the introduction of the Blue Card at all age groups in which there is an appointed Match Official.
WHAT IS A BLUE CARD?
The Blue Card is a process initiated on field by a Match Official when a player has been identified on the field with a suspected concussion in accordance with Law 3.22 or Law 3.24. The Match Official will show the Blue Card to the athlete with a suspected concussion in the same manner as holding up a yellow or red card, if appropriate. The Match Official will submit a ‘Blue Card Report’ in SportLomo which will trigger a process to ensure the correct return to play protocols are followed. The Blue Card has been already successfully introduced in Australia, New Zealand and France.
WHAT IS A CONCUSSION?
A concussion is a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). It can’t be seen on X-rays, CT scans or MRIs. It may affect the way a person thinks, feels and acts. All concussions should be taken seriously. While the effects are typically short-term, a concussion can lead to long-lasting symptoms and even long-term effects.
The Blue Card pilot was conducted in all Marshall, OWL, McCormick Cup and OWL Cup 1stteam matches during the 2019 season. There were seven players issued a Blue Card in the 2019 season. Those seven individuals were removed from the game and were unable to participate in another game until they were medically assessed and cleared by a medical professional. Due to the successful implementation of the Blue Card Pilot and the requirements of Rowan’s Law, the Blue Card will be introduced throughout all junior and senior competitions conducted under the jurisdiction of Rugby Ontario in the 2020 season.
- When a player is removed from the field of play for a suspected concussion, the match official will issue that player with a “Blue Card”, in a similar manner to which a red or yellow card is issued. Note, depending on circumstances, the referee may not physically show the blue card. In such cases the referee will communicate with the coach of the player.
- The player suspected of a concussion is required to leave the field of play immediately and cannot return and play in that match.
- Please note, there is no sideline Head Injury Assessment (HIA) process at any level of Club rugby in Canada.
- The match official includes the issuing of the Blue Card in their match report.
- The player and their club receive an email notification from Rugby Ontario of the issuing of the Blue Card and the required process to be followed
- The player issued with the Blue Card cannot return to play in any future match without receiving a written medical clearance, meeting the requirements of the World Rugby Return to Play Protocols and receiving a written clearance from Rugby Ontario to return to play.