A “man’s” game. A game of violence with little to no protection. A game prided on tradition and a bit of European stubbornness. The game is rugby; with positions like props, hookers, flankers, and locks, who would expect anything but a bunch of strange individuals?
Of course, that is the perspective of the general American public, as rugby is not a popular sport on this side of the pond. However, there is a common link with “our” favorite sport and rugby – concussions. Although that is the tie that binds the two and all the fans, the approach about tackling this subject has been polar opposites.
While the NFL has made a bold move (and the correct move in my opinion) to address the issue with as much force as a James Harrison helmet-to-helmet hit, rugby and its international sanctioning body has merely tried to put a band-aid on a hemorrhage. Maybe window dressing would be a better description.
A quick search of what rugby has done for concussions seems on the surface to be a huge step, and more conservative than other sports, but when you really look at the effects of its suggestions, it makes the situation worse. The rugby community has said that any player with a concussion must sit out three weeks. Awesome, right? No, because players will not report the problem since they will be forced to sit out that long. Granted, that time would be sufficient for a majority of concussions in the sport, but with no compromise in the amount of time on the sidelines, it’s either you have a major problem, or no problem at all. The issue with that, is every concussion is a major problem, not only for the individual, but for the sport.
Taking rugby to task about concussions, in the places where it is a major sport, has been limited until now. The Irish Times has published a story about the growing concern in this sport, albeit a quiet groundswell.
IT HAS been described variously in recent times as a time bomb and the elephant in the room. The issue of concussion Continue reading