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Doctors urge schools to ban tackling in rugby

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Doctors urge schools to ban tackling in rugby Empty Doctors urge schools to ban tackling in rugby

Post by RDW Wed Mar 02, 2016 7:22 am

At a time when unions are desperately trying to increase player numbers and grow the game, a body blow has been dealt from 70 doctors and academics

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-35696238

This will no doubt lead to parents questioning whether their child should play rugby.

It is obviously a serious issue - one close to my experience - but is this letter just unhelpful scare mongering or do they have a valid point?

What's next - banning kids from climbing trees, going out on their bikes or crossing the road?

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Post by rapidsnowman Wed Mar 02, 2016 7:47 am

One thing I have noticed in northern Ireland.
When I played schools rugby in the 1980's most of us were normal kids (skinny backs, chubby forwards). Playing 1st XV schools rugby as a centre I was 6 feet tall but only about 10.5 stone.

What I see now is the kids are a lot more likely to be heavier through working out etc. Meaning collisions are more severe. Don't know if that is making the sport more dangerous, but it may be a factor.

Is there more emphasis on making the kids bigger and more physical now?
You can see the progression in size and weight at international and club level over the last 30 years. Everything filters down.

It is easy to say nanny state etc, but very hard to have a child with life changing injuries.

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Post by RDW Wed Mar 02, 2016 7:52 am

I'd be surprised if the average school would put a strength and conditioning programme in place for kids! Especially state schools.

You're not really meant to have kids doing serious weight training until they are at least 16 as far as I know, and by then it is moving away from kids rugby to colts/junior rugby.

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Post by HammerofThunor Wed Mar 02, 2016 7:58 am

The idea of climbing trees is not to fall out of them. If the repeated tackling in rugby fundamentally damages a child (who is still developing), either through concussion or in their joints, then I DO think they should consider banning it at some levels.

But this should be based on proper science, which may exist but I haven't seen it. I feel it is a personal/emotional thing for some people. Where it should be about risk management.

Just a few little pointless anecdotes, only injury I ever sustained in school was breaking my arm playing volley ball. I also torn my ankle ligaments at dinner time playing football. Am I remember a guy breaking his arm because he trod on a football (that one was hilarious). But we never really played rugby at school.

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Post by RDW Wed Mar 02, 2016 8:07 am

HammerofThunor wrote:The idea of climbing trees is not to fall out of them. If the repeated tackling in rugby fundamentally damages a child (who is still developing), either through concussion or in their joints, then I DO think they should consider banning it at some levels.

But this should be based on proper science, which may exist but I haven't seen it. I feel it is a personal/emotional thing for some people. Where it should be about risk management.

Just a few little pointless anecdotes, only injury I ever sustained in school was breaking my arm playing volley ball. I also torn my ankle ligaments at dinner time playing football. Am I remember a guy breaking his arm because he trod on a football (that one was hilarious). But we never really played rugby at school.

The tree climbing comment was mainly tongue in cheek but my point still stands - the world is a dangerous place and there are many ways kids hurt themselves. You just need to look up accident statistics in children and sports injuries' hardly feature - car accidents and asphyxiation are by far the biggest causes of children being sent to A&E.

And as you say yourself - kids hurt themselves playing all sorts of sports!

There's no denying though that head injuries are a bigger risk in rugby than most other sports. In my mind the answer to this is better education and a low risk attitude to a kid who has received a diagnosed concussion - a minimum stand down period, and only to return to playing when a doctor is happy they are symptom free for instance. I know that is not an exact science, but if people are sensible and cautious about it it is a reasonable way of doing things IMO.

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Post by RDW Wed Mar 02, 2016 8:16 am

I've had a look and the car crash and asphyxiation statistics are for child deaths. I have managed to find some stats of A&E admission stats and, excluding car crashes which there wasn't data on, falls and burns are by far the biggest cause of kids going to A&E according to Google.

Part of the problem here is that we just don't know the numbers - do the RFU know how many child concussions there were last season? I know the Sru are doing a lot to gain better accident statistics but it is still early days.


Last edited by RDW_Scotland on Wed Mar 02, 2016 8:18 am; edited 2 times in total

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Post by Shifty Wed Mar 02, 2016 8:16 am

Provided the child is taught to tackle with a good technique, then I see no reason to ban it. Arms around the knees, and head away from the knee and you'll be fine. The game is safer now that ever, players have to roll away when tackled, in my day we tried to kill the ball and got trampled with boots everywhere.

My grand father gave me my first pair of rugby boots and they were his ones, steel toe caps and 6 studs (my uncle had them before me), he was a hooker and in his day the props would hold you in the air and your try and swing your boots or knees into the other hookers face in a scrum. The steel toe caps were actually used to kick people out of the way in rucks. He explained to me how to play that way and that's what I did, anyone on the opposition or anyone I didn't like in my own team got a a "capping" shall we say. I was gutted when I out grew those boots!

But it shows how the game has become safer, you can never take risk away from a contact sport.
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Post by RuggerRadge2611 Wed Mar 02, 2016 8:34 am

My left knee is an absolute shambles thanks to rugby. Broken cartilage, a torn ACL and my kneecap was dislocated in a perfectly fair but hard tackle.

My shoulder dislocated when a scrum collapsed.

I also had a couple of ribs cracked when I was cleared out of a ruck.

I haven't played for going on 7 years now and now at 31 I would have been I'm my prime for a prop.

However despite the injuries, and the dull aches on the cold Scottish mornings, there isn't a Saturday that goes by that I don't miss getting the gear on and running out with my mates.

It's a hard game, so if you are still playing, enjoy it and play every game like it's your last. You never know, it just might be.

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Post by funnyExiledScot Wed Mar 02, 2016 8:50 am

RuggerRadge2611 wrote:My left knee is an absolute shambles thanks to rugby. Broken cartilage, a torn ACL and my kneecap was dislocated in a perfectly fair but hard tackle.

My shoulder dislocated when a scrum collapsed.

I also had a couple of ribs cracked when I was cleared out of a ruck.

I haven't played for going on 7 years now and now at 31 I would have been I'm my prime for a prop.

However despite the injuries,  and the dull aches on the cold Scottish mornings,  there isn't a Saturday that goes by that I don't miss getting the gear on and running out with my mates.

It's a hard game, so if you are still playing, enjoy it and play every game like it's your last. You never know, it just might be.


This reflects my opinion as well.

I was a terrible rugby player at school. What I had in size I lacked in courage. Still loved it though, and in my completely unprofessional opinion and based on no science whatsoever, I believe it should remain.

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Post by RDW Wed Mar 02, 2016 8:53 am

One thing I’d like to ask these doctors and academics is what would they rather – kids playing regular team sport and keeping fit, albeit with a heightened risk of injury, or kids sitting in front of the PlayStation becoming obese and getting the long term health problems associated with that?  And that's not even considering the vast social and personal development that goes on playing rugby.

Childhood obesity is regularly in the news, with people saying that kids need more exercise. The thing about rugby is, it really does take all shapes and sizes.  Overweight kids are drawn to rugby because it is a sport where they can not only take part in with confidence, but it is tailor made for their physical attributes (props!). You generally don’t see many overweight kids playing football, hockey, basketball, athletics etc because they don’t enjoy it because they are not made for it.  If you make rugby non-contact (i.e. touch rugby) then it is highly likely that the young props of the world will be turned off the sport, because it then becomes all about running and speed – negating any need for size and power which is what they would normally provide.

So they go back to the Playstations and childhood obesity continues to be a problem!

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Post by Pete330v2 Wed Mar 02, 2016 9:09 am

70 doctors and academics?
Really?

GPs? The lowest level of the medical ladder.
Academics? What exactly are academics anyway? Are any of these wise sages involved in Rugby or are they all ballroom dancing fans?

I think these people should stick to what little they know and leave the physical stuff to those who choose to do it including the kids. Where would we be in 10 years if anyone were to listen to these all knowing 'experts'? Even further behind the SH nations than we currently are.

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Post by FerN Wed Mar 02, 2016 9:17 am

RDW_Scotland wrote:I'd be surprised if the average school would put a strength and conditioning programme in place for kids! Especially state schools.

You're not really meant to have kids doing serious weight training until they are at least 16 as far as I know, and by then it is moving away from kids rugby to colts/junior rugby.

I am not from a big rugby school in South Africa, but we have produced a Springbok or two.  We had a gym for our first team at school though and for the teams leading up to first team.  So I think it is common practice for us to try and bulk up. And this was 15 years ago, can only imagine now.

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Post by RDW Wed Mar 02, 2016 9:19 am

Pete330v2 wrote:70 doctors and academics?
Really?

GPs? The lowest level of the medical ladder.
Academics? What exactly are academics anyway? Are any of these wise sages involved in Rugby or are they all ballroom dancing fans?

I think these people should stick to what little they know and leave the physical stuff to those who choose to do it including the kids. Where would we be in 10 years if anyone were to listen to these all knowing 'experts'? Even further behind the SH nations than we currently are.

I don't think that is an overly accurate or fair comment! Especially given it is GPs that rugby needs to rely on if they are wanting to introduce measures for gradual return to play protocols to kids, with GP consent.

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Post by RDW Wed Mar 02, 2016 9:21 am

FerN wrote:
RDW_Scotland wrote:I'd be surprised if the average school would put a strength and conditioning programme in place for kids! Especially state schools.

You're not really meant to have kids doing serious weight training until they are at least 16 as far as I know, and by then it is moving away from kids rugby to colts/junior rugby.

I am not from a big rugby school in South Africa, but we have produced a Springbok or two.  We had a gym for our first team at school though and for the teams leading up to first team.  So I think it is common practice for us to try and bulk up.  And this was 15 years ago, can only imagine now.

Are kids up to the age of 14 regularly doing weight training though? That's the point i'm disputing. In the UK you will certainly get schools where at least the top players from 16 upwards will be doing strength training.

Plus this is in reference to schools in the UK, where physical activity in state schools is a real problem for them to deal with.

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Post by funnyExiledScot Wed Mar 02, 2016 9:29 am

RDW_Scotland wrote:
Pete330v2 wrote:70 doctors and academics?
Really?

GPs? The lowest level of the medical ladder.
Academics? What exactly are academics anyway? Are any of these wise sages involved in Rugby or are they all ballroom dancing fans?

I think these people should stick to what little they know and leave the physical stuff to those who choose to do it including the kids. Where would we be in 10 years if anyone were to listen to these all knowing 'experts'? Even further behind the SH nations than we currently are.

I don't think that is an overly accurate or fair comment! Especially given it is GPs that rugby needs to rely on if they are wanting to introduce measures for gradual return to play protocols to kids, with GP consent.

It's a completely moronic comment that suggests to me that the author doesn't have the faintest idea what he's talking about. Then again my father was a GP so what would I know.

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Post by FerN Wed Mar 02, 2016 9:30 am

RDW_Scotland wrote:
FerN wrote:
RDW_Scotland wrote:I'd be surprised if the average school would put a strength and conditioning programme in place for kids! Especially state schools.

You're not really meant to have kids doing serious weight training until they are at least 16 as far as I know, and by then it is moving away from kids rugby to colts/junior rugby.

I am not from a big rugby school in South Africa, but we have produced a Springbok or two.  We had a gym for our first team at school though and for the teams leading up to first team.  So I think it is common practice for us to try and bulk up.  And this was 15 years ago, can only imagine now.

Are kids up to the age of 14 regularly doing weight training though? That's the point i'm disputing.  In the UK you will certainly get schools where at least the top players from 16 upwards will be doing strength training.

Plus this is in reference to schools in the UK, where physical activity in state schools is a real problem for them to deal with.

No they normally start at age 16, but I think all schools participating in rugby has gyms or gym access. I know of "bursary players" (schools are not allowed to buy players) that used Creatine from age 16 onwards, and some of them wouldn't have been able to afford it even with the "pocket money" they got.

This is one reason I am for a weight category competition instead of an age competition, because it just promotes getting bigger where we don't need much skill we just need to overpower our opposition.

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Post by Notch Wed Mar 02, 2016 9:30 am

Pete330v2 wrote:GPs? The lowest level of the medical ladder.
Academics? What exactly are academics anyway? Are any of these wise sages involved in Rugby or are they all ballroom dancing fans?

Yeah, what would Doctors and researchers in medicine know about head injuries? chin

Personally favour the streaming of kids by weight not age, but Rugby authorities would be foolish to ignore the dangers of the sport at every level. Injury rate at professional level is out of control and its only a matter of time until we reach a tipping point, and are forced to change the rules of the game at a a fundamental level to protect players.
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Post by Duty281 Wed Mar 02, 2016 9:35 am

"70 doctors and academics" - Puritanical bunch of w**kers.

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Post by Hazel Sapling Wed Mar 02, 2016 9:42 am

Everyone is getting bigger. Nature of our diet and improved health. I am not sure if I am going back after an acl tear and cartilage damage (I was 22 now 23). I have other sports I have played (tennis, basketball, heck even football) that I may go for instead.

Thing is, my mate did his acl playing ultimate frisbee. My physio did hers skiing. There is always going to be risk no matter what sport you do. Concussion protocols should be strengthened at that level (i.e. minimum of 4 weeks off when diagnosed), but some kids need the outlet. It is a bit like boxing. For some that is what gets them through the day yet brain damage is more likely than rugby. There are kids who join gangs or become bullys to try and demonstrate their toughness or become Xbox obsessives (like my 2nd cousin who plays 4+ hours a day). Rugby, martial arts, boxing creates an environment where this energy can be harnessed for something more constructive. For some kids, cycling is not going to cut it.

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Post by hugehandoff Wed Mar 02, 2016 9:52 am

The school game I watch now (I have sons aged 15 and 13) bears no resemblence to when I was at school. They are seriously well coached now (my boys are at a private school who take rugby seriously - Dulwich) and this also includes many state and grammar schools as well as all the private schools. The schools actively recruit rugby players in a way which never happened before. Therefore the rugby talent is pulled into a set number of schools who then have very strong teams. This raises the bar for all the schools who play rugby. They have great coaches, ex-professional players, and they do run weights and conditioning programmes. Mostly this is done responsibly and is appropriate for their age, but you cannot stop groups of boys taking it too far on their own. The result is teams of bigger and more powerful boys than in my day. Big hits and more injuries. When you get away from the A teams you see lots of fun rugby being played by the Bs, Cs, Ds etc and that is far more how I remember school rugby.

Add in the Nat West and Daily Mail schools cups and having a national competition with semis at Allianz Park and finals at Twickenham and lots of coverage in the papers you can see why schools are investing so much in their rugby. It is great PR.  

As ever the first aid facilities and service always seem very good and everyone is very aware of the concussion protocols. My son was knocked out in a U15 match when he got his tackle technique wrong and his head in the wrong position receiving a knee to his temple. Simple learning process and time for him to reflect during his 3 weeks out of the game.

For the amount of boys playing the game I think this recommendation to remove tackling is rubbish. But there may be an argument for the NZ approach of having some weight restrictions? The disparity in size between so many of the boys probably does lead to many injuries.

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Post by RDW Wed Mar 02, 2016 9:55 am

How do the size categories work in NZ?

Surely it isn't a one size fits all - i.e. props being the same size as wingers??

Is it done by position?

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Post by lostinwales Wed Mar 02, 2016 9:57 am

I did vote for the nanny state option but should probably have gone for the middle one. Its important to be vigilant about the damage that kids can do to each other but better it takes place in a controlled environment than 'on the street' or wherever. There is a lot of aggression going around in teenagers in particular with all the testosterone starting to fly around and much better they get to learn to deal with it in a more controlled environment in rugby than elsewhere.

Serious things can happen in rugby but serious things can happen outside it too. A risk free upbringing doesn't teach kids how to deal with risks. And there are real benefits to playing rugby too

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Post by Pete330v2 Wed Mar 02, 2016 9:58 am

Notch wrote:
Pete330v2 wrote:GPs? The lowest level of the medical ladder.
Academics? What exactly are academics anyway? Are any of these wise sages involved in Rugby or are they all ballroom dancing fans?

Yeah, what would Doctors and researchers in medicine know about head injuries? chin


Personally favour the streaming of kids by weight not age, but Rugby authorities would be foolish to ignore the dangers of the sport at every level. Injury rate at professional level is out of control and its only a matter of time until we reach a tipping point, and are forced to change the rules of the game at a a fundamental level to protect players.

"chief medical officers and children's commissioners "
The article says nothing about head trauma specialists Notch let alone anyone specializing in sports injuries. Should we bow down to everything these experts tell us. I think not.

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Post by lostinwales Wed Mar 02, 2016 10:07 am

Pete330v2 wrote:70 doctors and academics?
Really?

GPs? The lowest level of the medical ladder.
Academics? What exactly are academics anyway? Are any of these wise sages involved in Rugby or are they all ballroom dancing fans?

I think these people should stick to what little they know and leave the physical stuff to those who choose to do it including the kids. Where would we be in 10 years if anyone were to listen to these all knowing 'experts'? Even further behind the SH nations than we currently are.

Its mostly unfair as these are the people who study the results of the damage. What I do think is that they will be naturally very focused on the results of the injuries and won't see the benefits of training for and playing the game.

After all - if say one player in a thousand gets a serious injury then many schoolkids won't see any and the rest very few. The doctor just sees all the ones in thousands and over time that can add up to a lot.

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Post by BigGee Wed Mar 02, 2016 10:09 am

You just can't take all risk out of life. I had my fair share of injuries in my playing days including getting knocked out cold on more than one occasion. It was not then that stopped me playing though, it was work committments and given the chance I would still be playing today as I loved it, some of the best experiences of my life, on and off the pitch. I feel sorry for the kids that don't get the chance to experience it.

I have had just as many bad injuries from cycling, which became my fall back excercise once i stopped playing and I would say am much more likely to get a life changing or ending injury form that. I would still encourage people to cycle though, the risks from both sports are still very very small. Probably more chance of falling down the stairs.

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Post by rapidsnowman Wed Mar 02, 2016 10:43 am

It would be interesting to see statistics for school age rugby injuries alongside the same statistics for soccer, hockey, and other sports.


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Post by Pete330v2 Wed Mar 02, 2016 10:44 am

As a parent I would have no reservations about allowing my child to play rugby. The benefits outweigh any risks by a large margin so I think it's very unfair for these wonderful experts to voice their scaremongering views. Next they'll be recommending that punching is taken out of boxing.

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Post by RDW Wed Mar 02, 2016 10:47 am

rapidsnowman wrote:It would be interesting to see statistics for school age rugby injuries alongside the same statistics for soccer, hockey, and other sports.


I suspect they would be much higher given the number of kids playing those sports is also probably higher.

And that is where I see these 70 doctors and academics have missed the point really - if they had made it purely about concussions then fair enough. To pick on rugby alone as a cause of broken bones and ligament damage etc then they really are wide off the mark in what they are trying to say.

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Post by doctor_grey Wed Mar 02, 2016 10:47 am

RDW_Scotland wrote:At a time when unions are desperately trying to increase player numbers and grow the game, a body blow has been dealt from 70 doctors and academics

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-35696238

This will no doubt lead to parents questioning whether their child should play rugby.

It is obviously a serious issue - one close to my experience - but is this letter just unhelpful scare mongering or do they have a valid point?

What's next - banning kids from climbing trees, going out on their bikes or crossing the road?
This is such a complex issue, it is hard to know where to begin - and don't forget there is a huge dose of politics in the mix as well:

As you know I am an Orthopaedist working in a practice which has specialists in most orthopaedist fields.  We provide care to many people in all walks of life, and provide the medical support to many local professional sports teams, schools and universities, and clubs.  Over the years we have discussed the relevance and appropriateness of various sports in today's society.  We all believe professional sport, as well as the lower levels, have been negligent in aspects of medical care.  Concussion is clearly one, though there are many others.  Also, they have missed the boat regarding other forms of teamsmanship.

But to eliminate contact sport as a solution for failures of coaches and leadership organisations?  Ridiculous.  

Team sport builds so many positive individual and group oriented characteristics, and is usually so much fun, as to make the argument specious at best, suspicious at worst.  The answer is not to ban contact sport, but to make the sports safer, without losing their unique personalities, and improve the medical care.  

Part of what makes Rugby a great sport is the contact.  I wouldn't have it any other way.

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Post by Pete330v2 Wed Mar 02, 2016 10:53 am

Where are the kids going to learn how to tackle if they're banned from it. What we'd have in a few years would be kids becoming grown men, playing rugby without any tackle technique which in itself would lead to injuries especially concussions.
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Doctors urge schools to ban tackling in rugby Empty Re: Doctors urge schools to ban tackling in rugby

Post by Poorfour Wed Mar 02, 2016 10:54 am

The driving force behind this is Prof Allyson Pollock, a public health academic whose son was injured playing rugby and who tried to work with the SRU to analyse injury statistics for young players - and appears to have been stonewalled around it.

She's highlighted an important issue that rugby genuinely does need to address: we do not have sound, publicly available data on injury rates among children.

She's gone on to analyse what data is available and published a book about it Tackling Rugby: What every parent should know. It's a thorough analysis of the limited fact base that exists in the public domain, and the use of statistics is sound, but I have serious methodological concerns about it.

It was originally going to be called Should we ban rugby? which gives you an idea of how neutral Prof Pollock is on the subject. I have some sympathy for her - her son was injured and the SRU seems to have been less than helpful in her initial attempt to understand if this was an isolated case or a regular occurrence.

However, her approach isn't the neutral evaluation of the facts that an academic should produce; it verges on being an anti-rugby polemic. Three examples (of many):

1) She says that the chance of a child receiving a "serious injury" over the course of a season is around 20%. The statistical analysis is impeccable. The definition of "serious injury" is not, as it includes anything that causes a child to miss training for (from memory) more than a week. From my own personal and family experience, that would class ALL of the following as "serious injuries" to rank alongside ruptured ACLs, dislocations, broken bones and spinal injuries. All of these have caused me or my children to miss more than a week of rugby:
- Badly bruised fingers
- Sprained knuckle
- Black eye (which we decided to treat as concussion)
- An infected cut
- A torn thumb adductor
- A medial meniscus tear.
None of these needed more than ice and rest to clear up, but they all took more than a week so they are all "serious".

2) She cites a number of scrum injury statistics, but barely acknowledges the two rounds of changes that the IRB have made to scrum engagement and does not caveat her analysis with a note that scrums are now very different and injury rates have reduced. She also doesn't acknowledge any of the changes made over the last few years under the New Rules of Play for children.

3) Her only proposed remedy is to ban rugby for schoolchildren. There's no consideration of whether other changes might work and should be trialled. Given the paucity of actual injury data, it's hard to see how banning the sport is a proportionate response, because we can't see what the actual injury rates are.

The open letter itself is 4 pages long, one of which is addressees and 2 of which are signatories. The signatories include 2 GPs and one NHS Trust representative; the rest appear to be medical academics from institutions ranging from the Royal Collage of Medicine to community colleges. Many of them are from the University of Winchester, which is where Eric Anderson, her co-signatory, is a Professor.

Rugby needs to take this seriously. I don't think we can dismiss it and risk being on the receiving end of pressure from ill-informed but worried public opinion without the facts to fight back. The only effective long-term response is likely to be to compile comprehensive injury statistics and make them public, in which the respective unions need to take a lead.
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Doctors urge schools to ban tackling in rugby Empty Re: Doctors urge schools to ban tackling in rugby

Post by GeordieFalcon Wed Mar 02, 2016 11:00 am

I think this is too far...HOWEVER

Maybe this brings in to context what they do in NZ schools.

The have size brackets through the age groups. So they play against players of the same size. This also affects their skill...as size doesn't matter any more...you need to have better skills.

Bath Academy are using this process now.

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Post by RDW Wed Mar 02, 2016 11:07 am

Poorfour wrote:The driving force behind this is Prof Allyson Pollock, a public health academic whose son was injured playing rugby and who tried to work with the SRU to analyse injury statistics for young players - and appears to have been stonewalled around it.

I have great sympathy with that woman and it is a tragedy what happened, but her crusade against rugby really is misguided and not helpful in the way she is doing it IMO. Thankfully the number of deaths and life-changing injuries from rugby are very low (I can't back this up with stats, other than the fact that we only very rarely hear of these incidents), especially compered to many other walks of life.

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Doctors urge schools to ban tackling in rugby Empty Re: Doctors urge schools to ban tackling in rugby

Post by Shifty Wed Mar 02, 2016 11:08 am

I think with children it's fair to say the play rugby to keep fit, wheres as adults get fit to play rugby.
Once the game finished after school, if it was home, it was likely you'd play football or rugby with your friends. Certainly in away games the bus would drop you near to your house, but home games the group would largely stay together and keep playing some form of sport. Children have much more energy than adults.
Even during break times for 15 minutes in the morning, and an hour for dinner we'd play rugby or football, then possibly do games (rugby) on some days, then possibly play rugby or train after school, before going out after school to play football or rugby. On average we'd play 2 games a week, one for the school, one for the club. Typically playing 2 games a week, I'd train once with the school team after school, one afternoon with the rugby club, one afternoon with the football club, then have scouts on a Friday, which was normally down the field to play rugby or football. Even after training I sometimes went down to Karate or Judo. Any of that could be considered dangerous in these doctors eyes. Yet at the same time these people will slam a fat kid as unhealthy!

People got the odd bump or bruise during games don't get me wrong, but certainly at school boy level I can't think of many people who sustained really bad life changing injuries from school sport.
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Doctors urge schools to ban tackling in rugby Empty Re: Doctors urge schools to ban tackling in rugby

Post by MonkeyOwain12 Wed Mar 02, 2016 11:15 am

First of all, when it comes to rugby in school, there has to be a differentiation between rugby in lessons and rugby as a sport.

Rugby in lessons, I believe that you could argue for a little less contact and more of a skills approach, purely down to the huge differentiation in abilities and confidence in pupils.
I am still and always will be a huge believer in the benefits of rugby and believe that it should be a major part of all school's curriculum.

As for rugby as a sport, contact needs to coached and understood on both sides. Thankfully, there is a lot more knowledge on head injuries (though we are still scratching the surface).

However, my biggest issue is the win at all costs attitudes that some coaches still have with our younger players. The sooner ALL coaches (and parents) realise that we're there to predominantly develop rather than win, the better.
I've witnessed some awful looking concussions on players, only to be sent back out there because of the need to win.

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Doctors urge schools to ban tackling in rugby Empty Re: Doctors urge schools to ban tackling in rugby

Post by dummy_half Wed Mar 02, 2016 11:56 am

I played full contact rugby league both at school and local club level from age 8 to 16, and also played through an extended University career (plus a smattering of union). I cannot remember any significant injuries during my school matches, although there were a few during my University games - a teammate had to stop playing owing to repeated concussions, and an opponent sustained a badly broken leg (playing career ending).

Personally, I broke my nose at school playing basketball (a guy catching the ball above me and pulling his elbow down as he recovered, straight into my face), and the worst school sport injury I've heard of (at the school of a student housemate) was a fatal head injury to a hockey player when he stopped a penalty corner shot with the side of his head.

My point is that there are risks, and kids will inevitably be exposed to these. Injuries in school rugby, perhaps other than at the absolute top end (Millfield, Dulwich etc) and at the older age groups, are not a huge issue by comparison with other children's play activities. Yes, it is sensible to keep aware of the risks, in particular of concussion.

Also, banning tackling in school rugby is only going to meant that when kids leave school and start playing student or adult rugby, they are not going to have learnt the proper technique and are going to be at much greater levels of injury as they learn by trying to tackle adult players who are bigger, stronger and have much more experience of the full contact game, rather than being a bunch of 11 year olds all learning together.

By the way, on the radio this morning there was an RFU development officer who said that in England, schools don't play full contact 15 a side matches until the kids are 12, with tackling/full contact play being added progressively between ages 9 and 12.

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Doctors urge schools to ban tackling in rugby Empty Re: Doctors urge schools to ban tackling in rugby

Post by Rowanbi Wed Mar 02, 2016 12:08 pm

I've often wondered whether rugby will even be around next century. It's made vast inroads in terms of international popularity since turning pro, but it's also becoming a lot more brutal. I'm a big fan of rugby and it's the only sport I choose to watch regularly. However, I'd rather see my own kids play football (soccer) and would push them in that direction.
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Doctors urge schools to ban tackling in rugby Empty Re: Doctors urge schools to ban tackling in rugby

Post by Poorfour Wed Mar 02, 2016 12:56 pm

dummy_half wrote:Also, banning tackling in school rugby is only going to meant that when kids leave school and start playing student or adult rugby, they are not going to have learnt the proper technique and are going to be at much greater levels of injury as they learn by trying to tackle adult players who are bigger, stronger and have much more experience of the full contact game, rather than being a bunch of 11 year olds all learning together.

By the way, on the radio this morning there was an RFU development officer who said that in England, schools don't play full contact 15 a side matches until the kids are 12, with tackling/full contact play being added progressively between ages 9 and 12.

Both valid points, and the New Rules of Play do phase in contact gradually between U9 and U12 - though the RFU has recently rejected calls to move to weight grade rugby (per NZ) because "the players tell us they want to play with their friends" ... and what do the ones who stop after being smashed once too often by a kid with a September birthday tell you, RFU? However, some schools and clubs are starting to adopt it and with a bit of luck it will become a de facto standard.

One thing we've got to be careful of here is arguing from our own experience to make general statements about a game that has changed radically at school level since most of us learned it. (I know I'm partly guilty here, but I was trying to use real examples to illustrate the flaws in Pollock's definition of a "serious" injury). She's right about one very big thing: we don't have good data, and until we do neither side can make a convincing case. But without it, scaremongering is more likely to win out.
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Doctors urge schools to ban tackling in rugby Empty Re: Doctors urge schools to ban tackling in rugby

Post by Knowsit17 Wed Mar 02, 2016 1:11 pm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlv6BrrxD_4

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Doctors urge schools to ban tackling in rugby Empty Re: Doctors urge schools to ban tackling in rugby

Post by marty2086 Wed Mar 02, 2016 1:26 pm

I saw tweet this morning on it, can't remember who it was maybe Matt Dawson. That if kids can't tackle when are players going to learn? If they are going in to full blown games lacking an important skill it makes the whole thing more dangerous rather than less

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Post by LordDowlais Wed Mar 02, 2016 1:38 pm

ridiculous, I remember playing for Merthyr youth, I went to tackle a bigger lad, I got it all wrong and I was rolling on the floor in agony, I came off in tears and my father gave me a rollicking for injuring myself. 

What we need to be doing is, to teach tackling, not ban it, tackling should be the first thing a kid learns when he is starting to play rugby, techniques and composure's, this is what we should be perfecting at a young age, as soon as a kid has learned how to tackle properly, the sooner he can keep himself safe.

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Doctors urge schools to ban tackling in rugby Empty Re: Doctors urge schools to ban tackling in rugby

Post by aucklandlaurie Wed Mar 02, 2016 1:49 pm

Guess it 'll be only a matter of time before they ban punching in boxing, or ban speeding in Formula 1.

When I read this sort of alarmist publicity, I really worry about you people in the UK and the direction your society is taking you.

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Post by dummy_half Wed Mar 02, 2016 1:58 pm

Poorfour

With regard to your list of 'serious' injuries, you can add a dead leg - I missed two weeks of training and a match after taking a well-placed knee to the thigh. Even worse, it happened in a training game of touch rugby...

LordD
Agree with your point. My sister and kid brother both did judo, and the first thing taught there is how to fall so as not to injure yourself. In rugby the first skills should be how to tackle and how to fall, followed by learning how to avoid contact as a ball carrier.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Wed Mar 02, 2016 2:10 pm

aucklandlaurie wrote:Guess it 'll be only a matter of time before they ban punching in boxing, or ban speeding in Formula 1.

When I read this sort of alarmist publicity, I really worry about you people in the UK and the direction your society is taking you.

Its not our society in general, its a handful of do gooders and human rights Bull Sh*t followers. The problem we have is the majority of UK people are the silent majority so we only hear the ones who talk sh$te!

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Doctors urge schools to ban tackling in rugby Empty Re: Doctors urge schools to ban tackling in rugby

Post by Pete330v2 Wed Mar 02, 2016 2:26 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:
aucklandlaurie wrote:Guess it 'll be only a matter of time before they ban punching in boxing, or ban speeding in Formula 1.

When I read this sort of alarmist publicity, I really worry about you people in the UK and the direction your society is taking you.

Its not our society in general, its a handful of do gooders and human rights Bull Sh*t followers. The problem we have is the majority of UK people are the silent majority so we only hear the ones who talk sh$te!

Sadly too true. The populace tend to take what's claimed by 'medical experts' as gospel without question, regardless as to the actual field of expertise the BS has come from. Of course player welfare must be a priority at all levels but from what I've seen it already is in this country.

Also LD, I agree with your post, if the kids don't learn to tackle the adults they become will be at increased risk of serious injury.

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Post by aucklandlaurie Wed Mar 02, 2016 2:30 pm

GeordieFalcon wrote:
aucklandlaurie wrote:Guess it 'll be only a matter of time before they ban punching in boxing, or ban speeding in Formula 1.

When I read this sort of alarmist publicity, I really worry about you people in the UK and the direction your society is taking you.

Its not our society in general, its a handful of do gooders and human rights Bull Sh*t followers. The problem we have is the majority of UK people are the silent majority so we only hear the ones who talk sh$te!


Thats a relief Geordie, Im much happier to know theres blokes like you still about.

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Post by GeordieFalcon Wed Mar 02, 2016 2:39 pm

Very Happy

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Doctors urge schools to ban tackling in rugby Empty Re: Doctors urge schools to ban tackling in rugby

Post by Notch Wed Mar 02, 2016 2:45 pm

Pete330v2 wrote:
Notch wrote:
Pete330v2 wrote:GPs? The lowest level of the medical ladder.
Academics? What exactly are academics anyway? Are any of these wise sages involved in Rugby or are they all ballroom dancing fans?

Yeah, what would Doctors and researchers in medicine know about head injuries? chin


Personally favour the streaming of kids by weight not age, but Rugby authorities would be foolish to ignore the dangers of the sport at every level. Injury rate at professional level is out of control and its only a matter of time until we reach a tipping point, and are forced to change the rules of the game at a a fundamental level to protect players.

"chief medical officers and children's commissioners "
The article says nothing about head trauma specialists Notch let alone anyone specializing in sports injuries. Should we bow down to everything these experts tell us. I think not.

That's who they were writing the letter to, not who was writing.

You have a fair point in that the signatories are drawn from a broad background; bringing together medics with those studying the sociology of sport, and sports scientists. At least a few of those i've googled have a coaching background, others interest in sport is purely academic (I'm not going to google all 70 names, I'm already wasting my time).

Should we bow down? No, of course not. You are free to disagree with them. If you want to investigate further you should treat their opinions with a mix of respect and scepticism. But I would say there is a good chance they have valuable perspectives, and there are more valuable for appearing to be impartial. I may be wrong about that, they may be partial- again, I'm not going to investigate in any more depth than I already have done. But more generally I would not be inclined to listen to what people who are directly involved in rugby want as much as an impartial outsider because the love of something can blind you to it's flaws and dangers. You'll get ex-internationals and so on coming out and rubbishing this because they, like all of us, want to see more and better young players coming through the system and feeding into the national side. But putting aside our obvious desire to see rugby thrive as a sport, the main determinant of public policy should be public safety.

At the very least if rugby is taught in schools, and I still think it should be, my opinion is that it should be up to the parents to opt-in. Impact sport and developing brains is not a combination a lot of people will be comfortable with and I can appreciate why.
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Doctors urge schools to ban tackling in rugby Empty Re: Doctors urge schools to ban tackling in rugby

Post by RDW Wed Mar 02, 2016 2:53 pm

aucklandlaurie wrote:
GeordieFalcon wrote:
aucklandlaurie wrote:Guess it 'll be only a matter of time before they ban punching in boxing, or ban speeding in Formula 1.

When I read this sort of alarmist publicity, I really worry about you people in the UK and the direction your society is taking you.

Its not our society in general, its a handful of do gooders and human rights Bull Sh*t followers. The problem we have is the majority of UK people are the silent majority so we only hear the ones who talk sh$te!


Thats a relief Geordie, Im much happier to know theres blokes like you still about.

I think a middle ground is needed, as if we all had the ‘the old ways are the best ways’ philosophy then we’d still see construction workers sitting on beams high up in the air with nothing stopping them falling, cars with no seatbelts or airbags and planes where you could smoke as much as you want and go and have a chat with the pilot.

Times change and people need to as well.

Of course, that is not saying that we go too far the other way – as the authors of this open letter have done.

If they had come out and said “Rugby concussions in children are a big concern for us and we think more should be done about it. This means starting with gathering much more data on how many concussions happen, then rolling out education and guidelines for how parents and coaches should deal with concussions.”

Then I think they would have had much more credibility.

It wouldn't have got as much publicity though!

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Post by Knowsit17 Wed Mar 02, 2016 2:58 pm

I take it the same group of medical officers will be writing a separate letter petitioning the government to shut down the UK's industrial production sector. After all, it has long been established beyond reasonable doubt that such jobs have a serious impact on people's long-term health and are a prominent cause of all kinds of cancers along with heart and respiratory diseases. I imagine health figures in Wales would benefit greatly if places like the Port Talbot steelworks and Uskmouth power station were shut down, so why not?

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