Rugby players are taught to never use their head in making the tackle, and without a helmet to protect them, the logic is pretty clear. Any player leading with the head is almost certain to get hurt as badly as the person he’s trying to hit.
The injury rate in rugby varies, however the most recent study suggests concussions account for 19% of all head injuries reported.
A study done by the B.C. Injury Research in Canada says rugby injuries come at almost three times the rate as those in football and soccer. But another study performed by the Eastern Suburbs Sports Medicine Centre in Sydney and the Australian Rugby Union found that while head injuries were most common in the collection of games they studied — adding up to 25 percent of all injuries — three–quarters of those injuries were lacerations, while only 19 percent were concussions.
Meanwhile, both sports struggle to keep accurate concussion statistics.
Finally, rugby may have more of a problem of players failing to report concussion symptoms.
Last season, the NFL mandated that any player who gets a concussion should not return to action on the same day if he shows certain signs or symptoms. The International Rugby Board has a rule that calls for players to take a three–week break after being diagnosed with a concussion.
That three-week break may make some competitors more reluctant to report head injuries. Obviously there needs to be a balance, and playing without a helmet may not be the answer either.
AP Article via TMCnet.com (link not working for AP story).