Fairfax Media is reporting that 70 doctors and health experts are calling for a ban on tackling in school “Rugby” games.
The Association for Physical Education noted that tackling is where most injuries occur.
“The majority of all injuries occur during contact or collision, such as the tackle and the scrum,” they said in their open letter.
“These injuries, which include fractures, ligamentous tears, dislocated shoulders, spinal injuries and head injuries can have short-term, lifelong and life-ending consequences for children.”
They have urged schools to play Touch Rugby (Or as we know it, touch football), or to play “Non-Contact” Rugby…what ever that is!
The concerns seem to be focused on Rugby Union at this stage, but it would be interesting to know their stance on Rugby League.
The Association for Physical Education report states that Rugby Union is a compulsory sport at some schools. This no doubt leads to some kids who are not suited to the sport, or who simply don’t want to play it, to be involved in the sport who might not know what they are doing in a tackle. This surely would lead to a higher rate of injury compared to kids who know what the sport is all about and how to play it.
I wonder how long it will be before we see something similar being pushed in Australia.
I’ve written before that Rugby League is not a sport that everyone is suitable to play. Most normal people don’t want to grab a footy and then try to avoid 13 other people who want to tackle them to the ground. I don’t think it should ever be compulsory to play for that very reason.
There will be ramifications from this report. I’d suggest that Rugby Union authorities in the UK will be forced into making a few changes to the sport in schools.