'Everyone should watch out for concussion signs' - Dr Rod McLoughlin
THE IRFU are hopeful that the IRB's concussion protocols will be in place for the upcoming Six Nations as well as the Pro12 and the Heineken Cup in the near future.
The tournament is one of the few remaining that don't yet operate with the pitchside concussion assessment (PCSA) protocols.
The union's head of medical services Dr Rod McLoughlin confirmed that despite resistance from one of the six nations, there was hope that the 2014 edition would allow for a player to be removed from the field of play temporarily if a head injury was suspected.
McLoughlin was speaking at the launch of the IRFU's 'Guide to Concussion in Rugby Union', a programme designed to educate players, coaches, officials and parents on the dangers of head injuries.
The issue has been a hot topic in professional rugby due to a number of high-profile incidents including the cases of Brian O'Driscoll and Luke Marshall during last year's Six Nations.
"We may be going ahead for the next Six Nations even if some nations do not agree," McLoughlin said. "I am not exactly clear about the process but it is highly likely that the Pitchside Concussion Assessment (PSCA) tool and all the other assessment tools will be in place for the next Six Nations.
"We are also looking to propose these things for the Pro12 and the Heineken Cup because they don't exist in those competitions either.
"I'm expecting everybody within the game to watch out for signs of concern that somebody may have a concussion and then you just sit somebody out and seek medical advice. I'm expecting a much lower bar."