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Concussion decision time


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NRL (Annesley) concern that despite concussion fears rife throughout both codes, the early rounds have seen plenty of head shots.  https://www.smh.com.au/sport/nrl/nrl-worried-about-unacceptable-number-of-high-shots-in-brutal-start-to-season-20210321-p57cod.html

Today I’ve watched the BBC showing RU forwards flying into rucks deliberately aiming at opposition, with some contacts being blatant flying headbutts plus another of Farrell getting his tackle positioning all wrong.  Sorry bunch and words fail me.

The link below will help but things will definitely change for coaches and players that are prepared to (currently) take risks.

https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/rugby/rugby-union/saliva-test-concussion-symptoms-b1821545.html

This concussion focus will affect recruitment and new blood at grass roots levels in my opinion.  

Accidental head clashes/contacts are always going to be possible in team sports but RL has to change the approach from a coaching level (open age, right through to youth).  

We have to get on with this as a matter of urgency and task a diligent individual (I.e  Phil Larder or similar) to lead it with the games full backing.  

Edited by Lowdesert
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Of everything, this is the single biggest threat to the sport's continued existence.

It is imperative the sport decides what its approach will be and comes round to that decision sooner rather than later.

I've said before that RL isn't doing the head in the sand (or helmet) approach of the NFL on this issue, but it certainly isn't as strict on contact with the head as RU is.

Fwiw, I also don't have a problem with a "we will try our best to prevent head injury, but ultimately you play at your own risk" policy.

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It's pretty clear which way the wind is blowing on the issue of head injuries and concussions, and it suprises me how many people still want to pee in the other direction. 

Yes, contact sports have risk and as a player you can accept the known risks, but there's something rather unsettling about trying to make the players carry the burden for all risks, both known and unknown - especially when we know that we put professional players through such intense workloads. As a player I understood that rugby could give me a broken leg or a dicky knee, but did I understand that it could give me dementia in my 40s?  

But I also think that, knowing what we know now, do we really want to be "entertained" by, or do we really want to accept people trying to profit from, people performing in a way that gives them life-limiting injuries for often very little reward, as if they're some sort of circus freaks? There's something quite uncomfortable about all of that. 

There's a real opportunity to reshape the sport around speed and skill, rather than strength and big hits. This is a brilliant time to embrace that, before the inevitable happens and the game is forced to. 

I'm sure the comments will be along in due course about "sanitising the game" but making the game safer for the players won't "kill the sport". What will kill the sport is parents not letting their kids play, insurance companies refusing to insure and litigation from ex-professionals. 

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I must admit I applaud what RU are doing - there was a lot of controversy in the 6N around the red cards, but when you watch them, I think it was very hard to argue against any of them, and impossible to argue that the actions where necessary. They then followed up with 3 and 4 week bans. I know they have also clamped down on height of tackles. 

I think RL has to make some drastic changes. There is literally no reason why tackling around the shoulder level should be allowed. None at all. If we enforce a lower line for high tackles and that leads to things like more offloads, then so be it, but we can't keep ignoring the amount of head contact. 

The challenge we then start to have is tacklers starting to put their heads into more tackles could be an issue, but I think ultimately we are far too lax around high tackles and head contact at the moment. 

I don't know the best approach, but carrying on regardless is definitely not the answer.

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Head shots need to be clamped down on 100% red cards and suspensions will do this. 

However, one fly in the ointment that i bring up everytime we talk about this is that head shots are not the only thing causing concussions and these "minor drips" that Alex Popham talked about. Its also good solid legal contact that causes the head to jerk around. Its hitting the floor and your head bouncing but its also constant hard drills in training, full contact so that all these are happening over and over and over again some of which you only know you are suffering from when tests are done. 

Clamping down on high tackles in a match, from what i have read, looks good (and will do something of course) but what they really need to do is look at someone like the NFL where they have limited how many full contact training sessions you are allowed. 

You cannot easily lesson the force of impact which leads to a lot of the minor concussions but the key is to lesson the number of them which means less impact work. When we look back to pre full time pros it was 2-3 times a week training for a couple of hours.. now its 5 days a week all day. something needs to give as that is a huge change and a huge increase in contact and impact. 

I'm no medic but i do tend to read a lot of the articles about this and from what you read that is where the most impact can be made. 

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17 minutes ago, Dave T said:

I must admit I applaud what RU are doing - there was a lot of controversy in the 6N around the red cards, but when you watch them, I think it was very hard to argue against any of them, and impossible to argue that the actions where necessary. They then followed up with 3 and 4 week bans. I know they have also clamped down on height of tackles. 

I think RL has to make some drastic changes. There is literally no reason why tackling around the shoulder level should be allowed. None at all. If we enforce a lower line for high tackles and that leads to things like more offloads, then so be it, but we can't keep ignoring the amount of head contact. 

The challenge we then start to have is tacklers starting to put their heads into more tackles could be an issue, but I think ultimately we are far too lax around high tackles and head contact at the moment. 

I don't know the best approach, but carrying on regardless is definitely not the answer.

There's some good points there and the bit in bold especially is something I haven't really considered. At the moment the level seems to be literally the neck and there is certainly no reason this cant come down to the chest/arm pit level without any real affect on the game. It may not seem much but would reduce the level by around 6 inches.

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41 minutes ago, Damien said:

There's some good points there and the bit in bold especially is something I haven't really considered. At the moment the level seems to be literally the neck and there is certainly no reason this cant come down to the chest/arm pit level without any real affect on the game. It may not seem much but would reduce the level by around 6 inches.

Quite, and as it is nearly the neck that means the soft boundary enables more of those to happen. Moving it to the shoulder won't eradicate it, but will make it less likely

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1 hour ago, Dave T said:

I must admit I applaud what RU are doing - there was a lot of controversy in the 6N around the red cards, but when you watch them, I think it was very hard to argue against any of them, and impossible to argue that the actions where necessary. They then followed up with 3 and 4 week bans. I know they have also clamped down on height of tackles. 

I think RL has to make some drastic changes. There is literally no reason why tackling around the shoulder level should be allowed. None at all. If we enforce a lower line for high tackles and that leads to things like more offloads, then so be it, but we can't keep ignoring the amount of head contact. 

The challenge we then start to have is tacklers starting to put their heads into more tackles could be an issue, but I think ultimately we are far too lax around high tackles and head contact at the moment. 

I don't know the best approach, but carrying on regardless is definitely not the answer.

I see it the other way, regarding drastic changes Dave.  The open maul (and most areas where there is the pile on, is the essence of the RU game continuance.  That area and the lunging during yardage are major works whereas correct tackle technique (as you rightly say, below shoulder level) is pretty basic.

In focussing on correct tackle technique more we have an opportunity to make our game even more free flowing but the approach from CIA he’s and pro Refs has to be the same across the board.

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56 minutes ago, Damien said:

There's some good points there and the bit in bold especially is something I haven't really considered. At the moment the level seems to be literally the neck and there is certainly no reason this cant come down to the chest/arm pit level without any real affect on the game. It may not seem much but would reduce the level by around 6 inches.

Err...not in Kev Browns case 😉

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4 hours ago, whatmichaelsays said:

knowing what we know now, do we really want to be "entertained" by, or do we really want to accept people trying to profit from, people performing in a way that gives them life-limiting injuries for often very little reward, as if they're some sort of circus freaks? 

There's a real opportunity to reshape the sport around speed and skill, rather than strength and big hits. This is a brilliant time to embrace that, before the inevitable happens and the game is forced to. 

I'm sure the comments will be along in due course about "sanitising the game" but making the game safer for the players won't "kill the sport". What will kill the sport is parents not letting their kids play, insurance companies refusing to insure and litigation from ex-professionals. 

I know I’m speaking from a non RL devotee point of view here so it may be polar opposite in regards to those who are devotees, but the collisions don’t do much for me. The skilful, talented players who make the eye catching plays, it’s them who generate most interest and become stars. The bigger guys who do the donkey work who also inflict the most damage, I wouldn’t watch if only they were involved. There will always be collisions as it’s a collision based sport, but focusing more on what you have stated in the bolded paragraph I think would be a huge step forward for the game.

4 hours ago, Dave T said:

I must admit I applaud what RU are doing - there was a lot of controversy in the 6N around the red cards, but when you watch them, I think it was very hard to argue against any of them, and impossible to argue that the actions where necessary. They then followed up with 3 and 4 week bans. I know they have also clamped down on height of tackles. 

I think RL has to make some drastic changes. There is literally no reason why tackling around the shoulder level should be allowed. None at all. If we enforce a lower line for high tackles and that leads to things like more offloads, then so be it, but we can't keep ignoring the amount of head contact. 

The challenge we then start to have is tacklers starting to put their heads into more tackles could be an issue, but I think ultimately we are far too lax around high tackles and head contact at the moment. 

I don't know the best approach, but carrying on regardless is definitely not the answer.

What RU is doing is window dressing. The high tackles/head collision is a red herring. You don’t need to inflict damage on the brain through that. Body collisions have shown to do that. The sudden jolt of the head moving forward as the body takes a hit causing whiplash, and over a career this will have an impact. And with the size those players are now the hits are brutal. It’s like being in a car crash every week with the brain being tossed around the skull. 

 

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11 hours ago, DC77 said:

I know I’m speaking from a non RL devotee point of view here so it may be polar opposite in regards to those who are devotees, but the collisions don’t do much for me. The skilful, talented players who make the eye catching plays, it’s them who generate most interest and become stars. The bigger guys who do the donkey work who also inflict the most damage, I wouldn’t watch if only they were involved. There will always be collisions as it’s a collision based sport, but focusing more on what you have stated in the bolded paragraph I think would be a huge step forward for the game.

What RU is doing is window dressing. The high tackles/head collision is a red herring. You don’t need to inflict damage on the brain through that. Body collisions have shown to do that. The sudden jolt of the head moving forward as the body takes a hit causing whiplash, and over a career this will have an impact. And with the size those players are now the hits are brutal. It’s like being in a car crash every week with the brain being tossed around the skull. 

 

If there are instances of things that are illegal happening that lead to contact to the head, these should be focused on straight away. We are far too relaxed about head contact and accept it is pert of the game, when it is illegal. 

Your argument supports not changing anything because it doesn't fix the whole problem. 

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10 hours ago, Rupert Prince said:

RL is too fast.   The 11 yard line is to deep.

If the way tackling is going then both codes will be unified in 20 years.

One foot on the defensive line negates a yard though and slowing down the defence while allowing the attack to increase a yards worth of speed isn’t really changing anything.  The distance is fine imo.

An ordinary tackle on a player where the contact is higher up the body, when he/she is not quite prepared for a collision or unaware of a tackler coming in from his blind side, can quite easily cause the ball carriers head to hit the ground.  

Then we have the ‘hit up’ and ball return contacts, dog shots into players who’ve passed the ball, reactive ‘arm out’ attempts, cheap shots aimed at a gang tackled players head etc etc and lastly stupid decisions allowing or bringing concussed players onto the pitch. RL has to get a unified approach on this with, visibly, more intention.

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12 hours ago, Lowdesert said:

One foot on the defensive line negates a yard though and slowing down the defence while allowing the attack to increase a yards worth of speed isn’t really changing anything.  The distance is fine imo.

An ordinary tackle on a player where the contact is higher up the body, when he/she is not quite prepared for a collision or unaware of a tackler coming in from his blind side, can quite easily cause the ball carriers head to hit the ground.  

Then we have the ‘hit up’ and ball return contacts, dog shots into players who’ve passed the ball, reactive ‘arm out’ attempts, cheap shots aimed at a gang tackled players head etc etc and lastly stupid decisions allowing or bringing concussed players onto the pitch. RL has to get a unified approach on this with, visibly, more intention.

11 yards is 10m.  We started at 3 yards then 5 yards then 5m.  Then 10m.  Easy yardage.  More speed.

As well as the speed of the game we have the defence tracking back with the attack following up, and this lead to increased tiredness.  Of course we have replacements... But this to me make the issue worse.  Fresh players come on and face some players who are more tired so more slow, more slow thinking, less agile. More susceptible to injury, not head.

From what I see with fouls many are due to a player falling or sliding down.

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9 hours ago, Rupert Prince said:

11 yards is 10m.  We started at 3 yards then 5 yards then 5m.  Then 10m.  Easy yardage.  More speed.

As well as the speed of the game we have the defence tracking back with the attack following up, and this lead to increased tiredness.  Of course we have replacements... But this to me make the issue worse.  Fresh players come on and face some players who are more tired so more slow, more slow thinking, less agile. More susceptible to injury, not head.

From what I see with fouls many are due to a player falling or sliding down.

I don’t personally see an issue with the 10m or 11 yards but I would say that defences, delaying the PTB have some impact.  

Apart from tiredness, which after all, it is a sport, I’m not really sure of your points mate.  Confusing.

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On 24/03/2021 at 15:48, Lowdesert said:

NRL (Annesley) concern that despite concussion fears rife throughout both codes, the early rounds have seen plenty of head shots.  https://www.smh.com.au/sport/nrl/nrl-worried-about-unacceptable-number-of-high-shots-in-brutal-start-to-season-20210321-p57cod.html

Today I’ve watched the BBC showing RU forwards flying into rucks deliberately aiming at opposition, with some contacts being blatant flying headbutts plus another of Farrell getting his tackle positioning all wrong.  Sorry bunch and words fail me.

The link below will help but things will definitely change for coaches and players that are prepared to (currently) take risks.

https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/rugby/rugby-union/saliva-test-concussion-symptoms-b1821545.html

This concussion focus will affect recruitment and new blood at grass roots levels in my opinion.  

Accidental head clashes/contacts are always going to be possible in team sports but RL has to change the approach from a coaching level (open age, right through to youth).  

We have to get on with this as a matter of urgency and task a diligent individual (I.e  Phil Larder or similar) to lead it with the games full backing.  

I think union has a bigger problem. The forwards already have their heads going towards the floor and the defence tackle like in américan football with the head in front and almost diving. Near the line its almost like the snap in American football. Then theres the rucks. I really wouldn't like my kids to play in the forwards in union. At least in league you know where the tackle/impact is coming from. With the size and weight of union players the impacts are massive but not very controlled or spectacular (in the rucks and forwards battles) 

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2 minutes ago, barnyia said:

I think union has a bigger problem. The forwards already have their heads going towards the floor and the defence tackle like in américan football with the head in front and almost diving. Near the line its almost like the snap in American football. Then theres the rucks. I really wouldn't like my kids to play in the forwards in union. At least in league you know where the tackle/impact is coming from. With the size and weight of union players the impacts are massive but not very controlled or spectacular (in the rucks and forwards battles) 

I agree mate and if you read my reply to Dave I say similarly. 

RL has a problem, which I feel can be much improved if we get the right people to deal with it.  

 

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