11 May 2009

New Northland rugby rules on player injury

3:28 pm on 11 May 2009

The Northland Rugby Union is drafting a new policy to protect players who have suffered head injuries, after an 18-year-old was seriously injured during a match.

Earlier this month the union was unable to prevent Far North player Darryl Sabin from taking to the field, despite his father's efforts to stop him.

The teenager, who had suffered concussion on five previous occasions, hit his head in the match and is still in a coma.

Northland Rugby Union manager Greg Shipton says it is likely that, in future, players who have suffered a head injury will need a doctor's certificate to play again, and their names may be put on a register.

Mr Shipton says the case of Darryl Sabin demonstrated a gap in the International Rugby Board rules, which require a three-week stand-down after each injury, but do not take into account possible cumulative damage.