A scheme to reduce the impact of head injuries amongst young rugby players should be rolled out in Perth and Kinross schools, it has been said.
Willie Robertson, a Kinross-shire Liberal Democrat councillor, called for “if in doubt, sit them out” guidelines to be brought in, which would see players immediately removed from the pitch in the event of a suspected concussion.
It comes after Dollar Academy became one of the first schools in Scotland to support the guidelines by Sport Scotland.
First XV players at the independent school bear the slogan on the sleeve of their strip.
Scotland was the first country in the world to introduce uniform head injury guidelines to cover a wide range of sports.
The “if in doubt, sit them out” approach, which is supported by the Scottish FA, Scottish Rugby and Scottish Hockey, states that anyone with a suspected concussion should be immediately removed from play.
Mr Robertson, himself a former rugby player, said he would investigate the possibility of introducing the guidelines in Perth and Kinross schools.
He said: “I think this is an excellent initiative by Dollar Academy.
“There is much more awareness of the consequences of receiving a concussion.
“I think the practice adopted by Dollar Academy should be adopted by every school and sports club.
“As someone who played rugby at school and as an adult I know that I have often played while nursing an injury, which in retrospect was not a sensible thing to do. Playing following a head injury is even more serious and that is why this initiative is very welcome.”
Mr Robertson plans to contact the council’s education convener and Perth and Kinross Sports Council to suggest adopting the guidelines.
Jonathan Hanson, sports physician at Sport Scotland, said young players are especially at risk of head injuries.
He said: “We still know relatively little about concussion so, whilst research is ongoing, it is so important that organisations such as Dollar Academy take up this initiative. It promotes accurate, early management of head injuries.
“This is especially important in school environments because young adults with concussion need to be handled more conservatively than adults as their brains are still developing.”
A Perth and Kinross Council spokeswoman said: “The health and safety of our pupils is paramount and as such, all schools in Perth and Kinross currently follow national guidance on the safe teaching of sports during PE lessons and at schools sports clubs.
“Staff are alert to the risk of injury during sporting activities, and know the steps to be taken to ensure pupil safety should an injury occur.”