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Concussion and head injury deaths in union


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#1 ckn

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Posted 14 December 2013 - 01:33 AM

I'm moving this to the main rugby forum as a one-off exception on the request of four rugby league members of the forum.

 

This is clearly not a rugby union only point, it's just as likely to be prevalent in rugby league where there are, for example, far too many people who think it's "weak" to come off after a head injury.  As such, I'll take an extremely dim view of anyone who tries to make this a points-scoring exercise against union or pretend it doesn't happen in rugby league.

 

Guardian story, part 1 of 3, the other parts will be out tomorrow and Sunday.

 

The story is a serious one but I think that the Guardian is covering some parts of it unfairly.  I've just had a search of my emails and every year for the last three years I've received an official notice reminding match officials about their duties on concussion, the RFU's website has the newer concussion guidelines on there but, to be bluntly honest, I know the concussion guidelines to a good level of detail but I've never heard them called "Scat".  I think it's a bit disingenuous to be targeting the IRB website when it's a rare time that refs go to there for their resources, it's usually responsibility of the national governing bodies to provide this level of detail, that said the IRB really shouldn't have out of date information.

 

I do think that referees should be given clear and very blunt instructions on this that are not "should" and "could" but "will" and "must", e.g. if a player hits one of the concussion flags and there's no medical professional in sight then the player goes off, if he or the coach refuses then the player gets red carded.  There should also be disciplinary action, excessively punitive disciplinary action, against coaches who encourage players to keep playing when they're clearly concussed.

 

A difficult subject ...


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#2 Bedford Roughyed

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Posted 14 December 2013 - 02:10 AM

It is difficult, especially as players and coaches ignore it.

 

Jarryd Hayne in the world cup final is a recent obvious example.  If we cared about medical advice he would of been taken off.


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With the best, thats a good bit of PR, though I would say the Bedford team, theres, like, you know, 13 blokes who can get together at the weekend to have a game together, which doesnt point to expansion of the game. Point, yeah go on!

#3 ehbandit

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Posted 14 December 2013 - 08:21 AM

This is clearly not a rugby union only point, it's just as likely to be prevalent in rugby league where there are, for example, far too many people who think it's "weak" to come off after a head injury.  As such, I'll take an extremely dim view of anyone who tries to make this a points-scoring exercise against union.
 
Guardian story, part 1 of 3, the other parts will be out tomorrow and Sunday.
 
The story is a serious one but I think that the Guardian is covering some parts of it unfairly.  I've just had a search of my emails and every year for the last three years I've received an official notice reminding match officials about their duties on concussion, the RFU's website has the newer concussion guidelines on there but, to be bluntly honest, I know the concussion guidelines to a good level of detail but I've never heard them called "Scat".  I think it's a bit disingenuous to be targeting the IRB website when it's a rare time that refs go to there for their resources, it's usually responsibility of the national governing bodies to provide this level of detail, that said the IRB really shouldn't have out of date information.
 
I do think that referees should be given clear and very blunt instructions on this that are not "should" and "could" but "will" and "must", e.g. if a player hits one of the concussion flags and there's no medical professional in sight then the player goes off, if he or the coach refuses then the player gets red carded.  There should also be disciplinary action, excessively punitive disciplinary action, against coaches who encourage players to keep playing when they're clearly concussed.
 
A difficult subject ...

good post

#4 faithfulbyname

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Posted 14 December 2013 - 04:32 PM

Just don't put "scat" into google when you do a search for the IRB stuff.... ;)



#5 WelshpoolMarauder

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Posted 14 December 2013 - 06:44 PM

Thank you so much for alerting me to this.

 

I spent the first article alternating between feeling horrified and on the verge of tears at times, but I'm glad I read it..

 

We've probably all seen players carry on when they shouldn't have, and most of us have probably done it ourselves - after all, you're a hero if you gut it out when you're injured, and you've let the side down if you go off.

 

I'm a level 1 ref, dual code coach and qualified teacher who runs a junior section of around 150 kids from 4 to 16. I've done all sorts of courses to try and make sure I do the best job I can, and do my best to keep up with safety issues, and I'd never heard of Scat either. It wasn't once mentioned in the Rugby Ready part of my coaching courses, because I'm pretty sure I'd have remembered something that scared the living daylights out of me so comprehensively.

 

Now I have heard of it, I'll be getting as much information out to the coaches at my club as I can find, and we'll be taking a tougher line on concussion in the juniors at the very least (I'll encourage the seniors to take it on board too, but they beat to their own drum) - if there is a suspicion, the player comes off. I'll also give the information to other clubs we play against, and I intend to write about it for the magazine that I contribute to.

 

I would urge anyone who is involved with a rugby club, of either code, to try and get this information out to everyone you can at your club - it may just save a life.

 

Could I also suggest, ckn, that it would be appropriate to create a thread in the main section of this forum to help the topic reach a wider audience on here. Obviously, it's your call, but I personally feel this is an issue that affects us all, regardless of what code is being played or any other consideration.



#6 ckn

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Posted 14 December 2013 - 07:55 PM

Part 2 of the Guardian's series, this time on people within the game.  Also, a commentary by Dean Ryan on how concussion was the cause of his epilepsy.

 

I'll have a think about how to get this onto the main rugby forum.


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#7 markleeds

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Posted 14 December 2013 - 09:29 PM

There are NFL players who are killing themselves by shooting themselves in the chest in order to preserve their brain for testing.

The rule in RL should be after any head clash, compulsory replacement (not counted as an actual replacement) and automatic medical suspension for the next game.

#8 OMEGA

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Posted 14 December 2013 - 10:50 PM

This post is rightly on here so very well done for allowing it.

Tragic, Moving and Frightening!

If you Coach Rugby of either code at any level you should read this.

If after reading it you don't go out of your way to educate yourself more and enforce new codes of practice then you're priorities and suitabilities as a Coach are questionable!

Edited by OMEGA, 14 December 2013 - 10:51 PM.


#9 gogledd

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 01:34 PM

A very tragic, distressing story.

 

Not a rugby injury, but my daughter fell from a tree house when she was 10 or 11 and luckily we spotted the signs of concussion and rushed her to hospital. Very fortunately a trauma consultant who I knew was still on duty and insisted on taking her immediately to intensive care.  I can vividly remember how worried we were about her lying in hospital covered in tubes and wires; but fortunately we had done the right thing and got her to the care she needed.

 

I have passed the article on to our junior teams coaches but will also pass it to as many people I know involved with sport where there is a likelihood of head injury.

 

Many thanks for posting the article.



#10 Lounge Room Lizard

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 02:22 PM

Remember getting knocked out against Elland a few years back and to this day I have no idea of the game and what happened after. I allegedly carried on and then collapased at the end of the game. I remember waking up in Hospital. I know people who have suffered epilepsy from concussion though it was not from Rugby. I would say that Concussion is something ignored in all sports, not just Union or League. I would hope that Coaches and Physios work together on informing not just all the coaching staff, but all players at all ages as well about the dangers of head injuries and how the players will be treated ( for me they will be  subbed off and sent to hospital for a check up with somebody from the club) if it does occur. Good article and have passed it on to other coaches in League and Union that I know



#11 Wakefield Ram

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 06:52 PM

As a junior rugby union coach and referee, it is often the parents who want to keep their sons on the field.
Sad but true.

#12 tw15

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 07:03 PM

Does play the ball make it safer? The Guardian article talked about the boy who died hitting a ruck at full pelt.

 

High tackles, spear tackles, plus falling to the ground must be other situations where concussion can occur. 



#13 tw15

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 07:13 PM

There was a US TV programme that took a scientific comparison between American Football and rugby ("sports science rugby vs american football"). The keynote was that the tackling differed, which is why helmets are needed in one sport and not in the other. The impact is more intensified in American Football. 

 

A certain video streaming site might be worth searching, if you'd like to see it.  



#14 Ant

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 10:08 PM

Is the tackling different because of the helmets though?

#15 Northern Sol

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 01:20 AM

Is the tackling different because of the helmets though?

Yes, they can go in harder because their head is "protected" (though clearly it isn't really).

 

But it's also that the nature of the game is different. In both codes of rugby unless you are right on the goal line, the main thing is to bring down your man, if they slide for an extra metre its not that big a deal. In American football where you get a fresh set of downs / tackles for gaining 10 yards, an extra yard could be the difference between a repeat set and a handover. Hence they tackle higher and harder, the point being to flatten the opponent not just to bring them down. This is one reason why quarterbacks usually "slide" (kind of like a voluntary tackle) - they are deemed to valuable to be risked.

 

Helmets came in because there were so many fatalities in American football that the government talked seriously about banning the sport outright (around 1905 IIRC). This led to a resurgence of the safer sport of rugby union.


Edited by Northern Sol, 16 December 2013 - 01:22 AM.


#16 Lounge Room Lizard

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 04:11 PM

http://www.thinkfirs...nition-tool.pdf



#17 Six to Go

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 05:16 PM

It didn't make for comfortable reading that is for sure.The part that i found interesting was that there had been an international conference on concussion at which major sports were present but no mention of RL.Now it may be that they were but the article didn't mention it but as a practicing coach , we get no end of info on child protection , diversity and safeguarding as well as the in house coaching e zine but i have never seen any mention of concussion.

 

The pro clubs have a well defined protocol with Cognitive tests taken out of competition and when a player has a head injury the player  is retested against the out of competition score to see the extent of the injury but as far as i am aware the community game doesn't have this and this , as Union point out , is where the biggest dangers lie with no physio/doctor at pitch side.

 

We could all name pro players we have seen sparked out on a fairly regular basis and does the RFL monitor their health during and after their career?

 

Why hasn't the RFL /IRFL adopted the warning card system as per the IRB and FIFA amongst others?

 

Players hate being taken off the field and i have had instances where they have pestered me to get back on the field but i have always taken the view that if they have been knocked unconscious , they have concussion and go to hospital for a check and are stood down as per the medics advice.

 

The RFL should be issuing advice now to all coaches/managers/referees based on the card system adopted by other major sports.

 

In the US there are massive lawsuits taking place against clubs by former NFL players who are suffering from the after effects of too many concussions and there is for the first time ever a drop in player numbers at junior and high school level for Gridiron.If that starts to happen in League , you could see clubs and their medical staff in trouble.

 

League 13 should be taking the RFL to task on this as well and i assume that behind the scenes they are.

 

Mrs Robinson certainly had a mother's instinct for her son not being well but others chose to ignore or were ignorant of what was in front of them.



#18 Bigal02

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 05:39 PM

Players with head injuries should be mandatorily substituted.  In the event of all replacements  been used up, a extra sub should be allowed.  compulsory substitution may even stop players pretending to be hurt more than they are? 



#19 tigersfan

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 11:39 AM

Also as a junior coach and ref, I am unhappy with the way some coaches (and schoolteachers) prepare and motivate players. I have heard coaches exhorting players to smash the opposition, kill the opposition, put their bodies on the line, die for the shirt (the worst by far) and so on. I know it is a physical sport but there is a line. Adults can make their own decisions about risking their health and life, children cannot.



#20 marklaspalmas

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 12:24 PM

A sobering article.

The images conjured of the events as they unfolded on the day that lad died are very distressing.

Unfortunately for all of us who've watched any amount of RL and RU, such scenes (with thankfully different consequences) will be all too familiar.

The pro' game needs to take the lead on this, so that juniors and amateurs follow.


 

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