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    Doctor calls for ban on Under 18s playing rugby

    Under 18s should not play rugby, says ‘concussion’ doctor

    Leading neuropathologist calls for contact sport with risk of head blows to be limited to adults
    http://www.irishtimes.com/sport/rugb...ctor-1.3105970

    Dr Bennet Omalu, the neuropathologist renowned for his work on chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the brain disease caused by concussion, has called for a global ban of contact sports at underage level.

    “The fundamental problem here is the risk of exposure to repetitive blows or hits to the head with or without concussions,” Dr Omalu told The Irish Times. “If you look at all the protocols that have been established by sports leagues across the world they are making it about concussions.

    “What we need to let people know, especially parents, because children are my focus, is: when you play high impact sports, and by that I mean American Football, ice hockey, boxing, mixed martial arts, wrestling and rugby, your head is exposed to repeated blows and you may not suffer a documented concussion. All it takes is one season, one concussion and your child’s brain is permanently damaged.

    “The brain has no capacity to regenerate itself,” Dr Omalu, who was played by Will Smith in the film Concussion, said.

    Symptoms of CTE initially include a range of ailments such as dizziness and headaches, but these issues may not manifest themselves until a number of years after the trauma occurs. As the condition deteriorates, patients can experience memory loss and progressive dementia among other things.

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    “These games, you can never make them safe. You can never take away the head from rugby or boxing or American Football. We need to let people know that.

    “That is why potentially dangerous games should only be for adults. Just like the rules we have for sky diving, for car racing. Only adults should be allowed play dangerous games.

    “The same should apply, based on what we know today, for these other sports.”

    Head injury assessment

    Regarding World Rugby’s continued advocacy of the head injury assessment process, Dr Omalu said: “To subject a player to a neuropsychiatric test and tell him you have not suffered brain damage is malpractice.

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    “But we continue to let it happen because we have some type of infatuational bond to these games, where we allow these games to take over our lives and our way of thinking.

    “So, the player suspected brain damage, you do a neuropsychiatric test, he passes, you send him back to the field, he receives 10, 20 more hits to his head. It is causing irreversible damage to his brain.

    “I guarantee you five, ten years later he begins to have problems. Who is at a loss? Society, his family.

    “That’s why I have taken this stance, as a physician; I swore to the Hippocratic Oath: First, do no harm. In 2017 there is no justifiable reason why a child under the age of 18 must continue to play rugby.”

    Dr Omalu, after giving the keynote address at MyHealth public lecture Knocking Out Concussion in Sport this Tuesday in Dublin, will receive an honorary doctorate from the Royal College of Surgeons.

    The talk will be streamed live at rcsi.ie/myhealth.

    #2
    thats a tough read for anyone with kids in the sport i wonder will we look back in ten years time with a different out look. My youngfella boxed for years before rugby took over fully, i remember he fought a lad in the counties and we heard after that the kid had a headache for 3 days after we thought it was funny at the time now i'm horrified at the thought of it

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      #3
      Or reduce the contact untill a later age

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        #4
        Soccer should be listed as well due to heading the ball.
        What's worse a small risk of concussion or a generation of obese kids who have never experienced the joy and team building skills of competitive team sports?
        I'd rather my children rode bikes, climbed trees, played rugby, soccer, gaa, surfed, rick climbed etc than spend their life in a safety bubble.
        We should do all we can to make sports safe of course but banning seems insane

        Sent from my SM-N9005 using Tapatalk
        The only difference between me and a madman is that I'm not mad.
        - Salvador Dali (1904-1989)

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          #5
          The man is obviously very very learned and is portrayed as something of an eccentric genius in the movie about him......

          But it's hard to agree with that.

          Most sports carry risks and dangers. Risks obviously need to be managed.

          To ban U18's from playing Rugby you would effectively ban the sport as taking up the sport fresh at 18 would destroy skill levels and ability.

          Its a pity in a way because any good in his comments could be lost in the extreme tone of his overall statement.

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            #6
            I agree banning it is sillt but we could reduce the chance of brain injuries

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              #7
              But he's not talking about rugby alone, he includes a huge number of sports. And I'm sure if he was aware of hurling, he'd mention that too, cricket etc I suppose there is a balance to be achieved, between reducing the sports that he might recommend for kids - tennis, athletics etc vs discouraging kids from being involved in sports. In my opinion team sports are particularly beneficial for children but most of them would carry the risk of potential bangs to the head.

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                #8
                Originally posted by Munstersrebel View Post
                Or reduce the contact untill a later age
                How do you do that? What do you change in the game to do that?

                Originally posted by Corcíoch View Post
                The man is obviously very very learned and is portrayed as something of an eccentric genius in the movie about him......

                But it's hard to agree with that.

                Most sports carry risks and dangers. Risks obviously need to be managed.

                To ban U18's from playing Rugby you would effectively ban the sport as taking up the sport fresh at 18 would destroy skill levels and ability.

                Its a pity in a way because any good in his comments could be lost in the extreme tone of his overall statement.
                Yeah. You're spot on with a lot of that

                Originally posted by Munstersrebel View Post
                I agree banning it is sillt but we could reduce the chance of brain injuries
                How?

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                  #9
                  @ormond no scrummaging till 17 or 18. Less bodies on the pitch. Tip top tackles etc immediately red if done on purpose

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                    #10
                    Originally posted by Munstersrebel View Post
                    @ormond no scrummaging till 17 or 18. Less bodies on the pitch. Tip top tackles etc immediately red if done on purpose
                    A tackle where ball carrier lifted above horizontal generally is a red.
                    Why have no scrummaging until people in their late teens? What does that actually do? Most injuries are in the tackle/ruck and not through scrummaging and tackle/ruck is most penalised area of the game as it takes up the biggest portion of a game.

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                      #11
                      Less bodies in the u18 and lower

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                        #12
                        Originally posted by Munstersrebel View Post
                        Less bodies in the u18 and lower
                        Play how many then? That may see less able to play in games in some clubs as they'd have enough for 1 squad in 15 man game but not enough for 2 squads in 10s/12 a side
                        Do you just play 10 a side then?
                        You could just introduce more 10 a side competitions and 7s to fit alongside the 15 a side game. Like in some areas of england, and it happens in many of the public schools. Some schools only play 1 term of 15 a side rugby and then they have a full on proper 7s and 10s season with several big competitions.
                        The Rosslyn Park Schools 7s competition is the biggest schools rugby competition in the world. 7000 or so kids involved across u14, 16 and 18 with there also being girls competitions played across 24 pitches in 4 venues. Something like that on a smaller scale would be fantastic.
                        Play it in a club or university setting somewhere like UL with the university and UL Bohs used which would surely have enough pitches for a large scale tournament

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Corcíoch View Post

                          To ban U18's from playing Rugby you would effectively ban the sport as taking up the sport fresh at 18 would destroy skill levels and ability.
                          As well as this, I think it would actually be more of a danger to learn the ropes when you're 18 or over. If men are still in the learning process it only increases the level of risk imo.

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                            #14
                            Have to admit I'm sceptical. Rugby has had a massive under age player base for decades. If the risks are as claimed , the epidemiology should be cut and dried.
                            "We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven into an age of unreason if we dig deep into our history and remember we are not descended from fearful men" Edward R Murrow

                            "Little by little, we have been brought into the present condition in which we are able neither to tolerate the evils from which we suffer, nor the remedies we need to cure them." - Livy


                            "I think that progress has been made by two flames that have always been burning in the human heart. The flame of anger against injustice and the flame of hope that you can build a better world" - Tony Benn

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                              #15
                              Originally posted by Upfront_1979 View Post
                              Soccer should be listed as well due to heading the ball.
                              The difference here is that the technology of soccer has changed quite dramatically over the decades where the effects of heading the ball have been diminished, even if there is a small data set to suggest there is short-term damage.

                              The technology of every sport listed by Dr Omalu has moved quite dramatically in the opposite direction towards more sustained and severe head trauma.

                              It's quite clear where the concern needs to be, and also quite clear that replacing rugby and American football with soccer would be to substantially lessen the danger.

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