Belfast Telegraph

Biting Back: Scare tactics over injuries not a solution

By Ali Gordon

Injuries occur in all sports, we know that.

But new research conducted by Professor Alyson Pollock could be particularly damaging to the future of rugby.

In a new book, 'Tackling Rugby, What Every Parent Should Know About Injuries', Professor Pollock addresses the growing number of injuries faced by rugby players.

She draws from her experiences as a rugby mum, called to hospital when her 14-year-old son shattered his cheekbone after a bad tackle.

The Professor of Public Health Research and Policy at Queen Mary, University of London excluded both her children from rugby after that phone call - and I'm sure other mums would have tried to do the same.

There is no denying the injury issues surrounding rugby must be re-evaluated, but scare tactics don't seem to be the right solution.

Surely it needs to be about promoting safe practice, not discouraging participation with a book tag-lined 'Why NO mother should let her son play rugby'.

Carrickfergus Grammar School pupil Benjamin Robinson tragically died in 2011 after suffering 'second impact syndrome', the result of two heavy tackles within four minutes of each other, and the focus should be on making sure that no family has to endure that pain again.

All involved in the sport need to be aware of the risks and of double tackles in particular, and with 50% of injuries now occurring within the tackle zone, the IRFU, along with other associations, must address the issue and try to reduce the potential for harm. But practical solutions are the answer, not scaremongering.

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