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Blog » News » What is a HIA? The new protocol aimed at identifying concussion explained

What is a HIA? The new protocol aimed at identifying concussion explained

Throughout the Rugby World Cup, several players will be ordered off the field for a HIA, this is the new Head Injury Assessment which is being implemented in the World Cup to help tackle the issue of concussion in the sport. The Head Injury Assessment (HIA) is a new concept designed to spearhead the issue of concussion in rugby, it is a series of checks which is now being used to help doctors identify a suspected concussion. A HIA will take place after a match official, team doctor or the referee sees a player receive impact to the head which may have caused a concussion, even if no symptoms are immediately clear. The player will be issued to the leave the field by the referee for a HIA, the checks last 10 minutes in attempt to identify any potential concussion. If the doctor believes an incident may have occurred then the player must be removed, either permanently or for further assessment. While a player is off the field for a HIA they can be replaced by a temporary substitute, which would become a permanent substitution if the doctor or referee suspects the player has suffered a concussion.

A HIA will not be used if a player is showing obvious on-pitch signs of concussion as they will be immediately and permanently removed from play, without any further assessment. In addition to the HIA during the game any players who undertake a HIA must undergo another evaluation within three hours of the match ending. As well as this, players who are entered the HIA protocol, irrespective or the result, will be monitored for a 36-48-hour period after the game. It is important to remember that a HIA does not diagnose a concussion, it is a tool being utilised to help doctors identify a suspected concussion. If you want to read more about concussion in sport check out our previous blog in which Lincoln City Head of Sports Science and Medicine Mike Hine gives his view on the issue and how the Lincoln City medical team deal with concussion. Any equipment needed for treating injuries in sport can be found on our website, here.