Jocelyn Gaynor, Head of Foundation for The Disabilities Trust, said: "The Disabilities Trust continues to urge all sporting bodies to get serious on the short - and long-term impacts of brain injuries. The moving stories shared by ex-international rugby players yesterday, up the ante on this issue. We not only need to safeguard players following these blows to the head that lead to a loss of consciousness, but also the repetitive sub-concussive injuries which can have a significant cumulative impact.

"As a leading provider of neuro-rehabilitative services for people who have endured a brain injury, we urge all sports to ensure that any player who appears concussed should be subject to an assessment by a health professional using the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool 3 (SCAT 3) or equivalent. Furthermore, that once diagnosed with concussion they should not be allowed to return to play in that game. It is well established that concussion symptoms do not always show up immediately after a head impact and that playing on can damage recovery.

"The Rugby Football Union (RFU) must act immediately as it is critical that we learn from the progress the National Football League (NFL) has made to reduce the potential for blows to the head by making significant changes to the professional and amateur game.

"It is critical to act now to ensure another generation of players do not face the prospect of significant neurological conditions after hanging up their boots.”