Rugby injuries: Safety first for children

Research published in the British Medical Journal on 21 April has suggested that the government's drive to increase youth participation in Rugby may be ill-conceived, owing to the overtly dangerous nature of the sport.

Allyson Pollock, one of the authors of the report, stated, "Children are more susceptible to injuries such as concussion and often take longer to recover fully."

She added, "Only by collecting injury data and by providing feedback to individuals and organisations working on safety initiatives will the short and long term effects of injury prevention programmes, whether for rugby or any other sport, be known."

Whilst there are numerous benefits to getting children involved in team sports, stronger safeguards, she argues, need to be developed before any such large scale drive to increase participation.

With its high impact tackles and scrums, rugby is clearly a sport which carries a significant risk of injury. Recently rugby's reputation has been undermined by a series of high-profile injuries. Northampton and Wales' George North has spent most of the season confined to the side-lines due to a head injury.

Clearly the priority is the long-term health of players, and whilst a concussion may seem like a short-term injury, it is important to take the necessary precautions in order to prevent more serious injuries occurring, particularly amongst school children.

Rugby can be fun, build discipline, team spirit, health and fitness which are all valuable lessons for children to learn, but this recent medical research reminds us that rugby related accidents can have wide-reaching, even life-changing consequences for young players.

If you have any concerns about an accident or injury your child may have suffered whilst playing rugby or any other sport, please contact Flora Wood for a free, no-obligation chat. 

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