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NZ rugby players to join concussion study

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 17/06/2017

New Zealand Rugby is teaming up with the US National Football League in a major concussion research project.

The $US2.6 ($NZ3.5) million study will involve 180 players from the five Super Rugby franchises as well as professional athletes from the Canadian Football League, and amateur athletes from American and Canadian universities and high schools.

The three-year study will cover a variety of sports, including football, rugby, soccer, lacrosse, basketball and ice hockey and will enrol more than 200 concussed athletes.

NZR medical director Dr Ian Murphy said there was still much to learn about managing and treating concussion, which was a significant issue in rugby.

"It's great to be working alongside the NFL and including our top players in this study," he said.

"There are currently so many unknowns with concussion rehabilitation, and world leading research like this is going to be critical to learning more and developing better systems for treating concussion."

Currently professional rugby players rest until they are symptom free and then undertake gradual physical activity until they can perform at full exertion with no symptoms.

The new protocol being studied would start testing for balance and visual disturbance after 48 hours and work in conjunction with the current system.

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