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Stevie Ward


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4 minutes ago, Jinking Jimmy said:

He did appear to be in a bad way but it’s hard to believe that given the current attitude to head injuries he would have been sent back on.

Indeed - he did look in a bad way when he went off, and I was surprised to see him appear after HT, but obviously the Dr was happy that he passed his HIA, and I like to put trust in the medical opinion. 

I could may be understand the viewpoint of Saints pressuring the Dr to clear him if the game was close, but it wasn't, so I don't see the gain from bringing him back if he had failed.

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18 minutes ago, Click said:

Indeed - he did look in a bad way when he went off, and I was surprised to see him appear after HT, but obviously the Dr was happy that he passed his HIA, and I like to put trust in the medical opinion. 

I could may be understand the viewpoint of Saints pressuring the Dr to clear him if the game was close, but it wasn't, so I don't see the gain from bringing him back if he had failed.

And also if that was the case, why would we not do the same for Graham? He's a more influential player, a better leader and also to untrained eyes appeared less concussed so would have been less controversial. Did the medical staff just choose not to be incompetent/corrupt for Graham? 

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31 minutes ago, Tommygilf said:

I posted in another thread that we in RL seem to not be taking the Union route of banning anything over the shoulder or the NFL route of burying our head in the sand. It means we are recognising there is a problem, but not doing much about it.

There's so much going into this it really is a whole game issue. Coaches, referees, the player, other players, club doctors, directors, match commissioners - so much goes into these decisions and there is interrelated responsibility.

The lever that will drive this, unfortunately, is financial. In the beginning of SL, we were the gold standard for head injury prevention, management and research in contact sports. Everyone has now passed us over the last 10years. RU is banning anything over the shoulder and enforcing it, with red cards. Do they have an independent Dr as well now at games? I think so.  And of course they will be following post-concussion protocols like we do, getting neurology opinions/head scans if a player has 2 concussions within the same 1 year period.

Where the money comes in now, is insurance. They won't differentiate much between the 2 codes, they'll just see RU doing more to prevent head injuries than RL and adjust premiums accordingly.

Where the money comes in later, will be a successful claim by an ex-player. The sport/club will have to be perfect with following current guidance, documentation to minimise this.

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Punishment for players making contact with the head of a ball carrier may well reduce instances and it may even reduce any liability the sport has as it is being seen to be doing the right thing.

But it won't eliminate head injury. So many head injuries are suffered by the tackling player... either head clashes with a fellow tackler or contact with a hip/shoulder/elbow of the ball carrier. It is worth taking a note next year how many instances of head injury are incurred through 'normal' legal play. There are many and any change to mitigate this simply changes the nature of the sport at its core.

In fact a trial of a new rule with players not allowed to tackle above the armpit in Union was abandoned as instances of concussion rose among players tackling opponents who were bent at the waist carrying the ball.

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7 minutes ago, Dunbar said:

Punishment for players making contact with the head of a ball carrier may well reduce instances and it may even reduce any liability the sport has as it is being seen to be doing the right thing.

But it won't eliminate head injury. So many head injuries are suffered by the tackling player... either head clashes with a fellow tackler or contact with a hip/shoulder/elbow of the ball carrier. It is worth taking a note next year how many instances of head injury are incurred through 'normal' legal play. There are many and any change to mitigate this simply changes the nature of the sport at its core.

In fact a trial of a new rule with players not allowed to tackle above the armpit in Union was abandoned as instances of concussion rose among players tackling opponents who were bent at the waist carrying the ball.

This.

Also there is a difference in high tackles. It is possible to connect with the head with your arm waist high. Should you be carded?

Awful news about Stevie Ward, hope he will be able to lead a near normal life

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21 minutes ago, TrueBull said:

The lever that will drive this, unfortunately, is financial. In the beginning of SL, we were the gold standard for head injury prevention, management and research in contact sports. Everyone has now passed us over the last 10years. RU is banning anything over the shoulder and enforcing it, with red cards. Do they have an independent Dr as well now at games? I think so.  And of course they will be following post-concussion protocols like we do, getting neurology opinions/head scans if a player has 2 concussions within the same 1 year period.

Where the money comes in now, is insurance. They won't differentiate much between the 2 codes, they'll just see RU doing more to prevent head injuries than RL and adjust premiums accordingly.

Where the money comes in later, will be a successful claim by an ex-player. The sport/club will have to be perfect with following current guidance, documentation to minimise this.

I think that standing still is going backwards analogy is true of the sport in general and clearly applicable here.

Without wanting to take this cross code, RU is really weird at times in that in so many ways it is still ran with an amateur mentality. Especially with injuries, training regimes, recovery etc. Yet they recognise the wider importance of this issue far more.

Whilst I think finance is a crucial factor, I think the ultimate problem here is responsibility. There are too many competing interests and levels of responsibility with ultimate responsibility being opaque to discern. It shouldn't relate to personal relationships but often it does. Coaches, referees, the player, other players, club doctors, directors, match commissioners, the management of the whole game, all with varying interests, levels of expertise, levels of responsibility and motivations contribute to this issue. If you're a relatively new club doctor and one of the best players on your team has just come off for a HIA in a tightly poised game, would you feel empowered to say he's not coming back on if the coach, assistant coaches, player and in a wider sense the game (including spectators and broadcasters) from an entertainment perspective want that player to be given the OK?

I think in this case prevention is the first avenue we should go down. Any contact with the head by an opponents arm, whether intentional or reckless, must be penalised. I think the referee should be left to decide if further punishment is necessary, as for example a falling player into an arm that would otherwise have been a fine chest high tackle isn't a yellow card but a deliberate swinging arm/punch to the face is worth further action.

After prevention, I think club doctors need to effectively be given status as high or indeed possibly higher as the head coach in the club's off field structure. They need to be empowered and independent of outside influence as much as possible. As I said though my preference is for it just to not reach that stage in the first place.

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1 hour ago, Dunbar said:

Punishment for players making contact with the head of a ball carrier may well reduce instances and it may even reduce any liability the sport has as it is being seen to be doing the right thing.

But it won't eliminate head injury. So many head injuries are suffered by the tackling player... either head clashes with a fellow tackler or contact with a hip/shoulder/elbow of the ball carrier. It is worth taking a note next year how many instances of head injury are incurred through 'normal' legal play. There are many and any change to mitigate this simply changes the nature of the sport at its core.

In fact a trial of a new rule with players not allowed to tackle above the armpit in Union was abandoned as instances of concussion rose among players tackling opponents who were bent at the waist carrying the ball.

I would be interested to see the trial statistics, particularly around the tackling players positioning and what type of tackle (passive or aggressive).

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3 hours ago, Tommygilf said:

I posted in another thread that we in RL seem to not be taking the Union route of banning anything over the shoulder or the NFL route of burying our head in the sand. It means we are recognising there is a problem, but not doing much about it.

There's so much going into this it really is a whole game issue. Coaches, referees, the player, other players, club doctors, directors, match commissioners - so much goes into these decisions and there is interrelated responsibility.

I would have thought it was the sole responsibility of the Club Doctor.  Any decision made by any others after that would negate the Doctors responsibility and put the mens rea on those persons who made the secondary decision.

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Just now, Lowdesert said:

I would be interested to see the trial statistics, particularly around the tackling players positioning and what type of tackle (passive or aggressive).

I don't have that but I am sure it is available.

The body position of a ball carrier in Union is very difficult to League as a Union ball carrier (forwards anyway) tend to run bent at the waist as a priority is to find the floor in order to recycle the ball. This results in more front on head clashes. A League ball carrier runs more upright as breaking a tackle, making ground or offloading is the priority. 

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Just now, Lowdesert said:

I would have thought it was the sole responsibility of the Club Doctor.  Any decision made by any others after that would negate the Doctors responsibility and put the mens rea on those persons who made the secondary decision.

I think the point is that though we would like to think it is that, it isn't always so.

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1 minute ago, Dunbar said:

I don't have that but I am sure it is available.

The body position of a ball carrier in Union is very difficult to League as a Union ball carrier (forwards anyway) tend to run bent at the waist as a priority is to find the floor in order to recycle the ball. This results in more front on head clashes. A League ball carrier runs more upright as breaking a tackle, making ground or offloading is the priority. 

I would want to see if that was factored in then.  I would have thought the ‘bent at the waist’ would mostly depend on the playing position of the ball carrier as well as other factors (where on the pitch, height/size of players etc etc etc).

a few statistics do not tell the full story.  Detailed one would be better.

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7 minutes ago, Tommygilf said:

I think the point is that though we would like to think it is that, it isn't always so.

I agree Tom and if I was a doctor, I would be keeping good records if the decision makers or even the players were being reckless.

BTW i say this as someone who has gone back on part concussed a few times, which you’ll have probably guessed from my posting record.

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2 hours ago, Scotchy1 said:

5mins in the bin, minimum, for any contact with the Head and it will be, by and large, out of the game within a year or two. 

People get hit in the head so often in RL because we make excuses for people hitting others in the head. 

Why reduce the sin bin length by 50%? We already have a 10 minute sin bin, just use that.

I can’t remember the last punch thrown in a game when it used to be fairly common, the way the game is played can certainly be changed.

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38 minutes ago, Lowdesert said:

I would want to see if that was factored in then.  I would have thought the ‘bent at the waist’ would mostly depend on the playing position of the ball carrier as well as other factors (where on the pitch, height/size of players etc etc etc).

a few statistics do not tell the full story.  Detailed one would be better.

There is a little more detail in this article but I am not sure if the full trial results were posted.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/47000468

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15 minutes ago, Sir Kevin Sinfield said:

Why reduce the sin bin length by 50%? We already have a 10 minute sin bin, just use that.

I can’t remember the last punch thrown in a game when it used to be fairly common, the way the game is played can certainly be changed.

Because there has to be a balance between the offence and the punishment. 

One of the reasons we see so few red cards is that it is the size of that as a punishment.

By reducing the punishment we can use it more frequently creating a lesser impact on the game. 

We would still have 10mins and a red card for particularly egregious examples.

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Seen a few suggestions on here that Saints sent LMS back on the field having failed a HIA.

The club doctor is Simon Perritt, who as well as serving as the Saints club doctor, has a leading role in the local clinical commissioning group, is an NHS practitioner and has worked closely with the RFL, including being the chief medic at RLWC 2013.

He is vastly experienced and to suggest, implicitly or explicitly, that he breached protocols without evidence, is dangerous to say the least.

To do that, he would risk not just his sports career, but his professional career.

Now, it cannot be ruled out that clubs may directly or indirectly add pressure. And certainly, some doctors (like in every profession) are not 'clean'.

But I think we need to be very careful when making statements questioning competence and ethicacy without evidence.

Back to the main point of the thread, very sad to read of Stevie Ward's injuries. It shows the need to take head injuries seriously and ensure greater punishments for offenders to dissuade recklessness.

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Just now, Lowdesert said:

I agree Tom and if I was a doctor, I would be keeping good records if the decision makers or even the players were being reckless.

BTW i say this as someone who has gone back on part concussed a few times, which you’ll have probably guessed from my posting record.

Yeah 100% I'd keep detailed records to cover my own back in future. 

And I couldn't tell!

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5 minutes ago, Lowdesert said:

He isn’t accusing medical professionals at all.  The statement was one of ‘beggars belief’ meaning ‘unbelievable’, or similar.

I agree.  It is possible to say how surprising it was that LMS passed the test without it being seen as an accusation of misconduct on the part of the individual administering the test.

One of the things I have noticed (particularly watching the NRL) is that players who seem ok leaving the pitch sometimes fail the HIA while others who looked more dazed actually pass and return to the field.

I cannot comment on the test itself as I am nowhere near qualified but I think we have to trust it is checking correctly and doing what we want of if (not to say we won't evolve and improve the protocols as we learn more).

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12 minutes ago, Lowdesert said:

He isn’t accusing medical professionals at all.  The statement was one of ‘beggars belief’ meaning ‘unbelievable’, or similar.

Yes, unbelievable meaning “unlikely to be true”, which would bring accusations that people are questioning the integrity of medical professionals. 

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