Calls to ban tackling in school rugby

A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine is calling for tackling and other forms of harmful contact to be removed from school rugby. The study from Newcastle University has revealed that serious injuries, including concussion, are most likely to be caused by rugby tacking.

The study re-examined existing evidence after an article in the same journal was published by World Rugby employees against the call to ban tackling in school rugby in the UK and Ireland. They believe that rugby players are at no greater risk of injury than other sports people and that removing the opportunity to learn the tackle from school pupils might increase rates of injuries. A summary published in The Northern Echo explains that in the updated review, the Newcastle University study found further evidence in support of the call to remove tackling and other forms of harmful contact from school rugby. Lead author Professor Allyson Pollock, director of the university’s Institute of Health and Society, said: “We need to act now to protect our children from injuries from collision sports. “Our evidence shows the high injury rate in rugby for children across all age groups. “There is also a consensus that collision sports including rugby have higher rates of injury than non-collision contact sports, such as football. “Rugby has the highest rate of concussion out of any youth sport. “We know other countries are taking this issue seriously and leading the way.” Pollock said rule changes, such as removing the body-check in youth ice-hockey in Canada, were the only proven way of quickly reducing high injury rates. The Rugby Football Union (RFU) currently runs RugbySafe, a player safety and wellbeing programme to support clubs, schools, colleges, universities and participants at all levels of the game. This includes a health advice line suitable for coaches, players and parents and clubs can also host a RugbyAware session between August and October this year. The study comes after 14-year-old Evan Hawksworth died last week after he suffered a head injury in a youth rugby league game on Sunday. Evan was playing for Stanley Rangers Club.
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