Club rugby to trial concussion 'blue card'

Matt Coughlan
AAP

Rugby referees will issue blue cards to force concussed players from the field in a trial being rolled out in ACT and Newcastle club competitions.

The ARU will give referees the authority to issue the cards from this weekend to any player with signs of concussion, meaning they must stay off the field for the remainder of the match.

Adults will not be allowed to train for 12 days afterwards, while players under 18 will spend a mandatory 19 days on the sidelines.

They will then have to obtain a medical clearance to return to competition.

"Our concussion guidelines are there to ensure everyone in our game is educated on how to manage concussion," ARU chief medical officer Warren McDonald said in a statement on Thursday.

"Ultimately the aim is to gather feedback from the upcoming trials and work towards rolling out the blue card system nationally across our grassroots competitions at both junior and senior level."

The blue card was trialled in New Zealand last year and is being extended to all senior games in the largest 14 provincial unions this season.

Concussion has emerged as a serious issue in sport, with a major lawsuit in the NFL and research showing the damaging effects of head knocks sparking concerns in other football codes.

The NRL handed out $350,000 in fines to three clubs who breached concussion rules during matches last weekend, while former Newcastle player James McManus is taking legal action against the club over their handling of his head knocks.