Concussion in rugby

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kend
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Re: Concussion in rugby

Post by kend » Sun Apr 23, 2017 8:11 pm

I think it's actually a bit more nuanced than just applying the laws. IMHO a level 1 to 3 match run to the letter of the ruck laws would be practically unwatchable. For example; the 'shoulders above hips' free kick would preclude the jackal position. Given the power of the players and the intensity of the collisions, there would be constant stoppages for 'off your feet' penalties.

The 'game-management' processes at the higher levels of the game (so 1 to 3, maybe 4 & 5 as well?) work pretty well. The question 'was that non-foul play offence material to the outcome of that ruck' is important if the game is to flow?

The 5 metre offside would be interesting to trial as a means to create more space, but I wonder if it would practically do anything to limit collisions at the tackle?

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Re: Concussion in rugby

Post by BFG » Sun Apr 23, 2017 10:13 pm

kend wrote:I think it's actually a bit more nuanced than just applying the laws. IMHO a level 1 to 3 match run to the letter of the ruck laws would be practically unwatchable. For example; the 'shoulders above hips' free kick would preclude the jackal position. Given the power of the players and the intensity of the collisions, there would be constant stoppages for 'off your feet' penalties.

The 'game-management' processes at the higher levels of the game (so 1 to 3, maybe 4 & 5 as well?) work pretty well. The question 'was that non-foul play offence material to the outcome of that ruck' is important if the game is to flow?

The 5 metre offside would be interesting to trial as a means to create more space, but I wonder if it would practically do anything to limit collisions at the tackle?
Fair points but IMO the laws are designed to be played within and not outside of it's parameters.
If players can't stay on their feet totally legally then don't do it, and rather than a contest of superior force at the cost of technique we create a contest of superior technique at the cost of force.
Beyond the ruck area itself would be of the greatest benefit of cleaning up the breakdown IMO in equalising quick attacking ball and defence which at the moment is too much in favour of defence.
A union pitch has become too congested, it's like a rugby league pitch set up but there is one massive difference that hinders union's ability to play freely as in rugby league and that is breakdown support at the next phase, as long as defences have the upper hand in numbers and there remains a fear of turnover ball at next phase then the game is much tighter which means more physicality, more collisions and IMO more injuries.
It just needs tweaking slightly in mentality IMO and is well within reach even under the current laws if they applied strictly, if we are to stop the criticism of the sport in general!

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Re: Concussion in rugby

Post by drc_007 » Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:33 am

This latest study looking at American Football must raise some question in the minds of rugby players.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-40718990

A study of deceased American football players' brains has found that 99% of professional NFL athletes tested have chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

The actual publication can be found here http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fu ... le/2645104 and they careful to point out the limitations of the study.

" a major limitation is ascertainment bias associated with participation in this brain donation program. Although the criteria for participation were based on exposure to repetitive head trauma rather than on clinical signs of brain trauma, public awareness of a possible link between repetitive head trauma and CTE may have motivated players and their families with symptoms and signs of brain injury to participate in this research."

However there is clearly cause for concern, I'm just surprised that larger studies have taken so long to be conducted.

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Re: Concussion in rugby

Post by fleabane » Wed Jul 26, 2017 11:56 am

"A neuropathologist has examined the brains of 111 N.F.L. players — and all but one were found to have C.T.E., the degenerative disease linked to repeated blows to the head.
C.T.E. causes myriad symptoms, including memory loss, confusion, depression and dementia. The problems can arise years after the blows to the head have stopped. The brains were from players of all ages and all positions on the field.
“It is no longer debatable whether or not there is a problem in football — there is a problem,” said the pathologist, Dr. Ann McKee, whose findings were published in The Journal of the American Medical Association."

This is from a summary in the New York Times, which also publishes the full, illustrated report. Although the report is of NFL players, the extreme likelihood is that a not insignificant numbers of rugby players with multiple concussions (George North for example?) will be similarly affected.

It seems that any HIA assessment will be largely irrelevant unless players are removed from the game altogether.
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Re: Concussion in rugby

Post by jgriffin » Wed Jul 26, 2017 1:14 pm

Two comments:
1 NFL have a long history of head-on collisions that is not mirrored in rugby, except........
2 The current and previous ruck practice has created IMO (I have moaned ad infinitum in the past) an injury zone where heads are vulnerable. You cannot entirely take heads out of collisions (viz poor tackle technique or mad behaviour) but to abandon a situation that emphasises active engagement over the ball (foot ruck) and substitute one that involves sticking your head and neck in a vulnerable position, while allowing all sorts of flop/charge antics to occur, is to create a danger that should not be there.
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cheltexile
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Re: Concussion in rugby

Post by cheltexile » Wed Jul 26, 2017 10:17 pm

Perversely I think the NFL protocol of wearing helmets makes things worse in a way - it just gives a false sense of security that its ok to smash into someone head first for 3 hours every weekend (mainly running backs and linebackers, who probably do this for 20-30 plays a game). Even with the best helmet in the world, deliberately taking direct blows to the head is going to leave you with some serious issues in late life.

That's not to say rugby is somehow exempt from this as its clearly a serious issue, but at least there is enough potential flexibility in the rules of the game to minimise it, if managed and enforced correctly. The key is treading the fine line between player safety and letting players exploit their abilities to maximum effect.

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Re: Concussion in rugby

Post by mj2012 » Fri Aug 11, 2017 3:40 pm

cheltexile wrote:
Wed Jul 26, 2017 10:17 pm
Perversely I think the NFL protocol of wearing helmets makes things worse in a way - it just gives a false sense of security that its ok to smash into someone head first for 3 hours every weekend (mainly running backs and linebackers, who probably do this for 20-30 plays a game). Even with the best helmet in the world, deliberately taking direct blows to the head is going to leave you with some serious issues in late life.

That's not to say rugby is somehow exempt from this as its clearly a serious issue, but at least there is enough potential flexibility in the rules of the game to minimise it, if managed and enforced correctly. The key is treading the fine line between player safety and letting players exploit their abilities to maximum effect.
Kind of agree with you here. Feel there's a mentality that's developed in the early stages of players' games. Helmets encourage big, reckless hits. Head injuries are so important to protect against, but there are better ways.
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