ARU Concussion Guidance (Rugby Public – Standard Care Pathway)


The Australian Rugby Union provides guidance regarding concussion which applies to everyone involved in Rugby across Australia.

At all times, players, parents, coaches and officials need to act in the best interest of player safety and welfare by taking responsibility for the recognition, removal and referral of players to a medical doctor and then ensuring concussion is appropriately managed according to the guidelines.

Under the guidelines:

  • Recognise and Remove – Any player suspected or recognised with concussion must be removed from training and playing and not return to Rugby or other sport or physical activity on the same day.
  • Refer – Any player with signs or symptoms of a potential head injury or concussion must see a medical doctor as soon as possible. This doctor should have experience in the management of concussion and should be aware of this ARU Concussion guidance, World Rugby Concussion Guidance and World Rugby’s Operational Definition of Concussion.
  • Rest – Players diagnosed with concussion must rest completely until all signs and symptoms of concussion have disappeared. 

    World Rugby has defined minimum rest periods for adults and children and adolescents.

  • Recover – The concussed player must first recover from all concussion signs and symptoms at rest and return to activities of normal daily living before starting hard physical exercise.
  • Return – Follow the graduated return to play (GRTP) protocol after being able to participate in activities of normal daily life, and after the minimum rest and recovery periods as defined by World Rugby:


    • Start light exercise (Stage 2) when appropriate.
    • Progress through the GRTP without any symptoms or signs recurring.
    • Start contact training (Stage 5) after receiving a medical certificate from a medical doctor.
    • Medical clearance should be accordance with the ARU Concussion Guidance around return to contact training when applying the standard care pathway.

People involved in Rugby should familiarise themselves with the full guidelines outlined in:

  • Australian Rugby Union Concussion Guidance (Rugby Public - Standard Care Pathway) – this document provides guidance on concussion to those involved in rugby union in Australia. This document incorporates  the recent changes to the World Rugby Concussion Laws (Regulation 10, Law 3.11 - Implementation August 1, 2015), and World Rugby’s Operational Definition of Concussion (British Journal of Sports Medicine, March 2016)

This summary is prepared specifically for the Rugby public and is not a medical document. 

Pocket Concussion Recognition Tool (pdf - 526kb) – The PocketCRT can be utilised on-field or on the sideline to aid in recognising the visible clues, and signs and symptoms of concussion. Players suspected of having concussion must be removed from play or training and should be referred to Medical Practitioner or Emergency Department for further assessment and diagnosis.

Sport Concussion Assessment Tool (SCAT3) (pdf - 907kb) – The SCAT3 is a standardized tool for evaluating injured athletes for concussion and can be used in athletes aged from 13 years and older. For use by medical professionals only.

Child Sport Concussion Assessment Tool (ChildSCAT3) (pdf - 442kb) – Sport Concussion Assessment Tool for children ages 5 to12 years. The ChildSCAT3 is a standardized tool for evaluating injured children for concussion. For use by medical professionals only.