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Time to tackle rugby safety issues

Leo – Time to tackle rugby safety issues

A physical, contact sport rugby sees injuries that range from grazes to broken bones to serious head trauma. It is a sport that is seemingly on the rise with both codes – league and union – growing across the globe. Different rules but the boom and competitiveness mean that injuries are becoming a concern among many players and parents of children who are taking up the game.

Sports are good for your health, your mind and socially while for children they are positive learning experiences that develop sportsmanship, teamwork and self-confidence. In fact, this post showed how rugby can even help in parenthood. But, with injuries a major concern on the rugby field, should we be thinking first before playing rugby?

Current safety measures

In American Football they wear padding and metal helmets in an attempt to reduce injuries – and, yet, quarterbacks still often have mental problems following retirement. This means that the nature of the game may make this a thankless task but more and more players are using things like head guards to protect themselves. Here are some safety measures:

  • Gum shields – With a lot of shoulder contact, you need to be ready for big hits. The gum shield protects your teeth and gums but it doesn’t stop there. While this is a great help, the individual moulds often go to reduce the chances of concussion and any damage to your jaw during contact.
  • Head guards – Known as the scrum cap, this is a soft and thin piece of headgear that helps to protect ears – especially in the scrum. While it is not known to protect against concussion it stops injuries and cauliflower ears amongst players.
  • Padded posts – Serious injuries have happened simply due to players colliding with the posts either defending or attacking the line. These injuries led to compensation payouts and as such clubs will always have padded posts in the interest of player safety. In one case, a former rugby league player got compensation for a freak accident that ruined his career.

In a tough game like rugby, injuries are going to happen. Preparation is imperative in reducing the risk but it is the long term damage of things like concussion that worries most people in the sport. The preventative measures at a young age are first tag rugby and then a variation of the rules as they get older.

too many have acquired brain injuries and other serious problems from the game and that needs to stop.

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