They may have to change the game

Rugby players’ health is at stake.

They may have to change the game
Foto: World Rugby

A new report shows that the effect of concussion has a much higher impact on rugby players’ health than previously imagined. The report demonstrates clearly that the scientific understanding and treatment of concussion is inadequate.
According to the report, commissioned by Britain’s RFU and Premiership Rugby, rugby players have a 60 per cent greater chance of sustaining an injury when they return to play the game after having been passed fit. The rugby game has in the last years build a greater awareness of concussion, and players and coaches are better educated on the risks of it, but this is apparently not enough. According to Damian Hopley, the chief executive of Britain’s Rugby Players Association, the report could force the world governing of rugby, World Rugby, to review the laws of the game.
“Clearly, this data is of considerable concern. We have to be broad in our thinking. This may well have an impact on the way we play the game. It may be that in the longer term there is an impact on the laws of the game,” Damian Hopley says.
The most obvious impact would be to change the tackle law and lower the height of a legal tackle. The report found that more than 50 per cent of concussions occurred in the tackle.
The finding echoes the results in previous studies conducted in football, in college sports in the USA, American football in NFL, hockey in NHL and in the Australian Football League.
The study will be passed on to the Concussion in Sport Concensus Group. Rugby World. The Group will meet in Berlin this year, and it is possible the group will change the Graduated Return to Play Protocol, the applicable rules on concussions in rugby and players return to the game after a concussion.