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What is HIA? Rugby’s Head Injury Assessment explained

Referee's view: Match official JP Doyle signals for a Head Injury Assessment - Rugby World
Referee's view: Match official JP Doyle signals for a Head Injury Assessment Rugby World

We explain the series of checks used in professional and Test rugby to determine whether or not a player is suffering from concussion – the Head Injury Assessment process


What is HIA? Rugby’s Head Injury Assessment explained

Throughout the Rugby Championship and the upcoming season, players will be sent from the field for what is known as a Head Injury Assessment, or HIA. This is a series of checks used in elite rugby (at both professional and Test level) to determine whether or not an athlete is suffering from concussion and may or may not return to the field of play.

In the Round One clash between France and Ireland during the most recent Six Nations, many questions arose from two incidents where French players were sent from the field for HIAs, when it appeared both players had suffered leg injuries. An investigation into the incidents has been launched by tournament organisers.

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Taken off: Matthieu Jalibert of France mistakenly got the HIA v Ireland - Rugby World
Taken off: Matthieu Jalibert of France mistakenly got the HIA v Ireland Rugby World

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So how does the HIA system work? Here are the key points:

Medic's call: Ireland's Rob Kearney leaves the field for a head injury assessment - Rugby World
Medic's call: Ireland's Rob Kearney leaves the field for a head injury assessment Rugby World