Rugby's top medic calls for rule change to make game safer

He has told the BBC the sport's rules may have to change to reduce concussions and brain injury.

As the 2015 Rugby World Cup continues, Martin Raftery said the tackle would be the most likely focus of any changes. Reported concussions in rugby have doubled in five years and a UK expert said on average one player at every Six Nations match suffered a brain injury. English and Scottish rugby unions said they were trying to make the game safer and increase awareness of concussion. The number of reported concussions in English rugby rose by 59% in 2013-14 and in Scotland, the figure has also nearly doubled in the past two years. The investigation, by BBC Panorama, is presented by John Beattie, a former British Lion and Scotland international. Panorama: Rugby and the Brain - Tackling the Truth - will be broadcast on BBC One on Monday 21 September, at 20:30, and afterwards on the BBC iPlayer. Rafferty said: "Player welfare is about identifying what the risk is and then bringing about change. There's no doubt that the biggest area that we know where concussion is going to occur is in the tackle, so that will help us to look at the tackle and see what we can do to make it safer. My job is to identify risk and then look for solutions and then present those solutions to the law-makers to make the changes that will bring about protection of the athlete."
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