You may have seen recent media coverage relating to a study by the University of Dundee looking at rugby headgear and concussion.
World Rugby is leading on responses to media for this and below is a copy of their statement, which the RFU supports, for reference.
A World Rugby spokesperson said: “World Rugby and its unions are committed to an evidence-based approach to injury-prevention and while welcoming the study, caution should be exercised when linking the outcomes to a possible reduction in concussion risk as this is yet to be confirmed in extensive peer-reviewed and published research.
“Padded headgear is approved in rugby as a preventative measure for cuts and abrasions only and the most effective way to prevent injury is through the promotion of correct technique, particularly in the tackle, and strict on and off-field sanctions.”
We know that you may receive enquiries from clubs, schools or parents and so please find below our recommended advice for you to share.
Headguards (sometimes called scrum caps) can help to protect the head from cuts and abrasions, and prevent the development of cauliflower ears. Wearing headguards is permitted on the basis that they should not cause harm or injury to any player and meet World Rugby standards (see World Rugby Regulation 12: http://playerwelfare.worldrugby.org/reg12). However, padded headgear has never been approved or marketed by World Rugby or the RFU to reduce the risk of concussion and there continues to be no conclusive evidence that wearing headguards reduces the chances of sustaining a concussion while playing or training.
Wearing a headguard should be the personal choice of the player/parent. While a headguard can provide some protection (e.g. covering the ears) and confidence (e.g. when introducing players to contact); there is a possibility that wearing protective equipment could potentially change a player’s behaviour. So we would encourage players and coaches not to neglect correct technique, particularly in the tackle and ensure that players are aware of the purpose of headguards and their limitations.