The Blue Card protocol was introduced to domestic amateur rugby competitions to bring Rugby Canada into compliance with provincial concussion legislation. The Blue Card protocol formalizes how match officials can remove an athlete with a suspected concussion from play and prevents athletes from returning to sport without medical clearance. This study explores the experiences of Canadian rugby match officials with the novel Blue Card process. Semi-structured interviews conducted with six Canadian rugby match officials were subjected to Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis. Findings revealed interpersonal and intrapersonal factors related to the successful implementation of concussion management protocols. Match officials distinguished engagement from community members as being in support of the Blue Card or actively resisting efforts to implement the novel concussion protocol. Those who had personal experience removing an athlete from play due to a suspected concussion or who had administered a Blue Card during the pilot reported feeling more comfortable with the process than less experienced peers. Participants had concerns about the personal liability associated with the Blue Card process. Implications for the design and implementation of sport-related concussion research and policy at the amateur level are discussed.
Student, PhD, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Sport-Related Concussion, Injury Management, Sport Policy. Return-To-Play, Community Sport