HEAD INJURY ASSESSMENT PROTOCOL
Major League Rugby (MLR) announced today that they have secured approval for the use of World Rugby’s Head Injury Assessment protocol (HIA) for the 2022 season. This approval is a significant step forward, from the previous World Rugby protocol of Recognize & Remove, in dealing with head injuries. This will allow players with suspected concussions to come off the field to be assessed and return only if cleared to do so. The video infrastructure required for these protocols will be provided by Mobii Systems real time for every game.
“It has taken a lot of hard work from various stakeholders and serious financial commitment from our ownership to reach this stage. Not least, the help of our ad-hoc Concussion Safety Committee which included player representatives and expertise in concussion management. We are thrilled to be using the best possible protocol for our athletes for the 2022 season onwards,” said Commissioner George Killebrew.
Alongside HIA, the 2022 season will see improvements to the competition, including the use of a Television Match Official (TMO), a new data and analytics provider, the continuation of law variations, and a public trade tracker.
TMO & DATA
With the help of Mobii Systems, MLR will have a TMO for every game this season to help ensure the referees have the requisite support to make the correct decisions. Mobii will also be providing live stats and video feeds and an analytics platform for all teams. The synergy between the video and data will result in a richer experience for MLR fans in the future.
“We are excited to be working with Major League Rugby across all of our core services – data, video, and fan engagement – and look forward to showcasing our products to the North American rugby audience,” said Greg Schultz, CEO Mobii Systems.
MLR law variation trials were a success over the 2021 season, resulting in increased action time during broadcast and more continuity during scrums. The 2022 season will see all law variations continue as well as the implementation of World Rugby’s current global law trials.
- Kickers will have 60 seconds as opposed 90 seconds for any kick (conversion/penalty) and will have a kick clock to help guide them.
- Seven points will be automatically awarded for any try scored directly under the posts and no conversion will be necessary.
- Referees will work with stricter protocols that will limit the number of scrums to two per incident – the original plus one reset for a collapse, penalty, or freekick.
- The offside line will be the feed line/channel of the scrum to allow for unimpeded access to the ball at the back of the scrum for the attacking team.
- No longer will a red card mean a team plays a man down for the remainder of the match. Under the new law a red card would lead to a player being sent off and the team goes down to 14 players for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, the player can be replaced with another player on the bench. The red carded players cannot return to the field in any event and will go through subsequent disciplinary procedures.
Finally, Major League Rugby has launched a Trade Tracker to help fans monitor their favorite teams and players. Teams are allowed to trade:
- Player Rights
- International Player Roster Spots (each team is allocated 10 on their match day roster)
- Collegiate Draft Picks
- Salary Cap