Concussion in rugby – a player’s view

Former Welsh Rugby player, Adam Hughes, has spoken about concussion and rugby since he was forced to retire from the game in April.

In a BBC interview, Adam, former Dragons centre, said that rugby has not “gone soft” following rule changes that have seen more red cards handed out for contact with the head. In the film Adam talks about his symptoms caused by repeated concussions from the game. These include:
  • bad memory loss;
  • sensitivity to light and noise; and
  • his threshold to exercise had to be ‘build up from scratch’.
Adam said: “I suffered multiple concussions throughout my career, about eight overall. It gradually got worse every concussion, the snowball effect with it, and I just found my threshold to taking contact within the game got worse and worse with each one.” Adam was asked about the laws of the game and his view on some saying too many red cards were being given out. He said: “This game, contrary to what people some people say, has not gone soft. The contacts in it are absolutely huge and I think rugby has been good and proactive trying to help and look after players in the game.” Adam continued: “It’s quite clear the law is if you go towards the head with force it’s a red card. The way I look at it is for the future of the game. What’s going to affect it more – fewer red cards or a few very serious life changing injuries and that’s the way we need to look at it.” Earlier this year the Rugby Football Union introduced a trial aimed at making rugby union safer by lowering the definition of a high tackle from above the line of the shoulders to above the line of the armpit. The tackle rule change is only being tested in the Championship Cup and not the Championship league season but it followed RFU research that showed concussion had risen for the seventh year in a row and led to 22% of all injuries. At the time, the RFU said it would analyse whether the decision can have a wider impact on the game and that it would share its research with World Rugby.
Adam Hughes playing rugby
Credit: Huw Evans PA
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