Australian Rugby Union tests "blue card" for concussed players

The Australian Rugby Union has introduced an innovative device to prevent players from playing through concussions – the blue card.


Red and yellow penalty cards are familiar, of course; they’re used by referees across a wide variety of sports to indicate a player has committed an infraction. Other colors as well have been used in various sports to signal different levels of unacceptable behavior.



This blue card, though, isn’t used to indicate a breach of rules. Rather, it’s used to point out a player who, in the referee’s estimation, needs to be checked for a concussion. If a player is showing concussion symptoms, the referee can show him the blue card, and the player is automatically out for the rest of the match. He cannot play in any future matches until cleared by the union’s concussion protocol. The Australian Rugby Union is testing the blue cards, and if they’re successful, they could spread across rugby and then to other sports.


This move gives the only impartial parties on the field the ability to take a concussed player out of the game. The referees have no dogs in the fight and nothing at stake (theoretically anyway). Instead of a team employee (player, coach or trainer) or a distant analyst making the call to remove a player, a neutral person who sees the injury and the player’s symptoms live and in-person can make the decision. And that could make all the difference.


*Scientists have no conclusive evidence as to whether or how the reduction of g-forces during impacts reduces the number or degree of concussions and head injuries. GelDefender products provide supplemental padding as well as cooling and comfort benefits when used with helmets and caps. Participants in activities in which head impacts can occur should always use tested and approved helmets for protection. However, no helmet or supplemental padding can protect the user from all serious head or neck injuries that can result from impacts.