World Rugby’s chief medical officer has told the BBC the sport’s rules may have to change to reduce concussions.

As the 2015 Rugby World Cup continues, Martin Raftery said the tackle would be the most likely focus of any changes.

Reported concussions in rugby have doubled in five years and a UK expert said on average one player at every Six Nations match suffered a brain injury.

English and Scottish rugby unions said they were trying to make the game safer and increase awareness of concussion.

The number of reported concussions in English rugby rose by 59% in 2013-14. In Scotland, the number of cases being reported has also nearly doubled in the past two years, after the SRU called for incidents to be flagged up.

The investigation, by BBC Panorama, is presented by John Beattie, a former British Lion and Scotland international.


Concussion facts

  • Only one in 10 concussions result in a loss of consciousness.
  • Concussion can cause dizziness, nausea, memory loss and personality change.
  • Symptoms can persist, causing post-concussion syndrome.
  • Post-concussion syndrome can cause depression and personality changes and may last days, weeks or months.

Beattie has pledged to donate his brain to scientists studying the potential impact of head knocks.

He spoke to Dr Raftery, World Rugby’s most senior medical figure, about what the sport could do to reduce the number of brain injuries.

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