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NRL rules out independent doctors to assess concussion

The NRL has ruled out employing independent doctors to assess players with head injuries, despite fears an NFL-style lawsuit could be launched in Australia.

General Manager of Elite Competitions Jason King told Macquarie Sports Radio replacing club medics with independent medical staff on match day would be a greater risk to players’ health.

“Because it’s a clinical decision, it’s the view of the NRL that the best people to make the decisions are the people that intimately understand the medical backgrounds of each and every player,” King told Macquarie Sports Radio‘s Cam Reddin.

“The best person is the physician that is at the club day-in, day-out and speaking with these players on a continual basis as opposed to somebody who doesn’t necessarily understand the background of each player. We think that’s the best way to provide the level of care to players,” King said.

NRL officials are in regular contact with other major sporting bodies to discuss research and developments in best practice in relation to concussion prevention and treatment.

“We’ve all seen the events over in the NFL,” King said. “Safety is paramount in everything we do”.

“We continually review our concussion protocol to make sure we have it spot on”.

King said the NRL is determined to make the game “as safe as possible”.

Despite running trials of the Brain Bunker during the 2018 season, an off-site analysis centre that would watch every game and notify medical staff at the ground if a player was showing signs of concussion, there are currently no plans to implement it permanently for Round One next year.

“It’s really important to make sure if we do introduce this piece of technology that we introduce it right and the processes we have in place are really robust and that it continues to support our doctors,” King said.

Click below to hear the interview and listen to the Weekend Warm-Up with Cam Reddin 4.00am-7.00am Saturday and Sunday mornings

Cam Reddin