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Concussions remain English rugby's most prevalent injury

Concussions remain the most prevalent injury in English rugby, making up almost 20 percent of all reported match injuries according to figures published by the Rugby Football Union. 

Although there was a small reduction in reported incidents during the 2017-18 season, it is the third year in a row that concussions have led English rugby's injury tables.

The RFU has previously pushed for changes to the tackle law in order to reduce concussions, which account for 18 percent of all injuries to the ball carrier and 37 percent of all injuries to the tackler. Overall, more than half -- 52 percent -- of all match injuries are sustained in the tackle. 

A lower tackle law is being trialed in the second-tier of English Rugby while protocols are in place to prevent players from returning to play less than six days after suffering a concussion. 

However, RFU medical services director Simon Kemp believes "significant changes" to the game are needed to reverse the trend of concussions in English rugby.  

"Concussion remains a priority for us all and we are now looking at concussion prevention with the trial of a reduced tackle height in the 2018/19 Championship Cup," Kemp said, following the publication of the Professional Rugby Injury Surveillance Project's annual report.

"It is critical that all stakeholders -- medics, coaches, officials and players -- work together on possible solutions."

16 percent of recorded players suffered a concussion during the 2017-18 season and were sidelined for an average of 19 days after being diagnosed. Of the 96 players who had suffered a concussion, 22 sustained more than one during the season. The RFU said it seeks specialist neurological opinion for players following a second diagnosed concussion during a 12-month period. 

Nigel Melville, acting chief executive of the RFU, added: "The annual PRISP data is critical to helping us understand trends in professional rugby. Mitigating injury risk in a contact sport is a complex area and requires everyone involved in rugby globally to work together if we are to truly address this."

Hamstring and MCL injuries were the second and third most common injuries, according to the report, while the average severity of all match injuries was 37 days, an increase on the previous year.  

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