One in five professional rugby union players in England had a concussion during the 2018-19 season
20.4 per cent of professional players suffered at least one concussion during the 2018-19 campaign; it represents an increase from the 16 per cent who sustained one in 2017-18; concussions are under close scrutiny after player testimony
Last Updated: 22/12/20 1:27pm
Approximately 20 per cent of professional rugby union players in England sustained a concussion during the 2018-19 season, the latest Rugby Football Union (RFU) medical figures have revealed.
The 20.4 per cent total, one in five of professional players who played in that campaign, is an increase from 16 per cent in the 2017-18 season.
The prevalence of concussions has been under sharp scrutiny in recent months with a number of former players launching a legal case against the sport's authorities.
England World Cup winner Steve Thompson is among those to have revealed he has been diagnosed with early onset dementia thought to be linked to excessive head trauma.
There will be concern at the frequency with which concussion-related injuries are occurring as the report showed that it was the most reported match injury for the eighth successive season.
Medical staff were able to spot more head injuries in the 2018-19 Premiership season following the introduction of a real-time pitch-side video system, according to the report.
"Improving the detection of these complex injuries to ensure safe removal of concussed players remains a priority, as is developing and evaluating strategies to reduce concussion incidence," the report stated.
However, the number and pattern of concussions - measured by the number of incidents per 1000 hours of playing time - is the second highest on record. The highest recorded occurrence was 20.9 per 1000 hours in 2016-17.
The report analysed 407 games and 763 players from 12 Gallagher Premiership clubs and discovered there were 166 concussions sustained in matches and 38 from training situations.
The RFU and Premiership Rugby's recommendation is that players should seek specialist neurological opinion if they are diagnosed with a second concussion during the same 12-month span.
Global governing body World Rugby and the RFU have previously reiterated they take "player safety very seriously".
The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) has since added it "supported and endorsed the World Rugby comment on the subject."