Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
In recent years the NRL has made an effort to implement rules and regulations to protect players and ensure they are not doing long-term damage to their heads.
The most significant rule that has been introduced is the head injury assessment which requires a player to leave the field to partake in a 15-minute test to determine whether or not they can return to the game.
When a player fails their HIA they are unable to return to the game and if the damage to their head is significant enough they will then not be available for selection the following week and sometimes even longer.
Head knocks became so prevalent for Sydney Roosters co-captains Boyd Cordner and Jake Friend that they were both forced to retire with Cordner’s retirement a display of how serious the NRL is about protecting the head as he was also the New South Wales and Australian captain at the time.
Wests Tigers forward Alex Twal was ruled out for the rest of the season earlier this year because of concussion and is now being joined by Queensland State of Origin fullback Kalyn Ponga.
The Daily Telegraph’s Paul Kent spoke about the NRL’s efforts to protect the head and how he believes more needs to be done on NRL 360.
Bully coaches are the real ones to blame for Sunday's penalty farce, writes Paul Kent.
— Telegraph Sport (@telegraph_sport) July 25, 2022
“(Ponga) needs rest and I’ll tell you something else the NRL needs to start looking at and this is not going to be popular – is how long the stand down is after concussion,” Kent said.
“In boxing you get knocked out then you’re not allowed to fight again for three months, they do sneak back in the gym and do a little bit of sparring but there is certainly an awareness now about concussions and they stay in your body.
“The fact he’s had five concussions this year and failed three of them suggests he’s not recovering from the earlier ones.
“Particularly when you look at, respectfully, how soft that one was on Friday night.”
Stephen Crichton also sustained a serious head knock last weekend when he clashed with Cronulla’s Dale Finucane and also lost part of his ear.