Managing return-to-play decisions following Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI)

This cohort study following 3,500 rugby players aged 16 to 35 years through one to three football seasons aims to o estimate the incidence of sport-related mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) in non-elite rugby players, assess the risk and protective factors for injury and recovery and develop recommendations for managing return-to-play following mTBI.


mTBI is a cohort study following 3,500 rugby players aged 16 to 35 years through one to three football seasons. Data collected will include:

  • Demographic information
  • Recent past history of head injury
  • Information on potential risk and protective factors, and
  • A normative sample of baseline neuropsychological test results

The study process will be

  1. Baseline recruitment of players from various clubs and schools
  2. Injury reporting from participating clubs after the Saturday game
  3. Invitation to participate for recently concussed players
  4. Consenting players participate in a neuro-psychological computer test completed at five time intervals (less than 72 hours, seven days, 14 days, 21 days and three months) post head injury

Outcomes of interest will be the incidence of mTBI (as defined by the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine), measure of time until intact cognitive functioning is achieved, and time to return-to-play. Based on the findings from the study, recommendations for returning players to the game following mTBI will be developed.


Cognitive recovery will be measured using repeated testing using a sophisticated computer test that measures neurocognitive functioning including memory, brain processing speed, reaction time, and post-concussive symptoms.

Baseline data collection and follow-up of concussed players for the 2005, 2006 and 2007 seasons has been completed with over 3,500 rugby players recruited. Data is currently being analysed with the first set of results being presented at the 2nd World Congress for Sports Injury Prevention, Norway, in June 2008.

Related People