RFU to trial pitch-side saliva test to diagnose concussion
Players from the top two divisions of English club rugby are to take part in a major study throughout the coming season that has the aim of developing a pitch-side saliva test to diagnose concussion.
Led by the University of Birmingham and carried out in collaboration with the Rugby Football Union, Premiership Rugby and the Rugby Players' Association, it is hoped the test could also be used to guide return-to-play decisions.
The study is the biggest of its kind to take place in British sport and it is envisaged that a successful outcome would have benefits for all sports and front-line medics in the NHS and military.
"There is currently no reliable or proven biomarker or objective test for the diagnosis of concussion," RFU chief medical officer Dr Simon Kemp said.
"This lack of objectivity is the biggest challenge facing medical professionals in dealing with this type of injury.
"While very much an exploratory piece of research, this is a project that has the potential to make a very significant impact on the diagnosis and management of players following concussion."